JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Reb is not Rav! #general


Judith Romney Wegner
 


Subject: information on tombstones
From: Ben Saltman <bhsalt@...>
>
This is my first posting and I have just started my geneology search. The
inscription on my grandmother's tombstone, in Hebrew, in Los Angeles 1937,
refers to her father as "Rav." My Israeli son-in-law tells me that the
inscription is very traditional and "Rav" may be an honorary title and not
mean that he was a Rabbi. Could someone comment on this?
Your son-in-law is correct. "R" on a tombstone ( Resh apostrophe) or (if
written in full) Resh Bet, would stand for Reb, a yiddishized
pronunciation of the word "Rav." This pronunciation is used when the title
is simply an honorific which means nothing more nor less than plain "Mr."
Actually, it is sociologically interesting to note that "Mr." and "Reb"
both originate in words meaning "master" or "teacher" Reb comes >from Rav
and Mr. >from the Latin Magister, meaning Master in the sense of teacher.
(In both cases the pronunciation changes when you DON"T mean that
literally; Rav becomes Reb and Master becomes Mister. But what

If the deceased had been a rabbi, it would have said H-R-V (HaRav, lit.
"the Rabbi") followed by his name.

Judith Romney Wegner

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