In a message dated 1/15/2003 10:15:55 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< as I understand it. It is traditional to name a baby after a deceased
relative, but to
reconsider if a relation with that name is alive. >>
==That is a common misunderstanding. It is common to give a child a name by
which to keep the memory of the deceased among the living. Among Ashkenazim
in general, one doesn't call a child "after" a living ancestor. However,
there is NO qualm about giving many children (cousins etc) the same name,
either after the same ancestor or a different ancestor.
==There is a custom that it is improper for a person to utter the name of a
parent or grandparent. Thus, if my father Isaac is alive, I might hesitate
to call my child Isaac after my wife's deceased father of the same name.
==I might even hesitate to marry a woman named Sarah if my mother Sarah is
alive; if I'm not that rigid about things, I might call my son by the variant
Itzik or Eysig, and my wife Sorke or Sarai.
==Essentially, "calling after" is a special honor for one deceased; there is
no rule against naming many people in the extended family by the same name,
either because they're commemorating the same ancestor, or because they're
commemorating different ancestors, or because it's a name that my wife and I
happen to like..
==The critical point is "naming after." Nothing wrong with just "naming."
Michael Bernet New York