Re: Who gets named after whom? #general


Judith Romney Wegner
 

At 6:17 PM -0500 11/13/06, Benjamin Gabriel Gelman wrote:

Ashkenazim typically name children after deceased relatives, Sephardim often
name after living relatives (although this is certainly not always done, but
I don't have enough knowledge on Sephardic tradition to expound).
However, there is an important qualification to the above: we need
to bear in mind that the well-iknown superstition against naming a
child after a living relative was prevalent only among East European
Ashkenazim and their descendants (apparently due to the failure of
the Enlightenment's modern scientific understanding of the world to
influence Eastern European in the same way it influenced Western
Europe). Because most of today's American Ashkenazim happen to be
descended >from East Europeans, there is a tendency for American Jews
to mistakenly assume that this naming superstition was followed
"across the board." But this is not the case.

West European Ashkenazim did not subscribe to this superstition and
in fact often named a child after its still-living grandparent.
(However, they would normally refraint >from giving the child the same
name as its own parent -- except in the rare case when a son is born
to a father who died between the child's conception and its birth.)

Many members of my Anglo-Dutch Ashkenazi family were named after
grandparents who were still living -- e.g. my grandfather Mark Marks
was named Mordechai after his own grandfather Mark Marks, even
though that grandfather was still living when his grandosn was born.

Judith Romney Wegner

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