JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Obituary wording: What does "B'Red" mean? #general

Ira Leviton

Dear Cousins,

Sharon Zane asked about the name of her relative, which was stated in an obituary
as 'Michael was one of three brothers born to Moshe B'Red Asher Zehleg and
Rebecca.' The obituary does indeed state that Michael was the son of Moshe, and
it's likely that B'Red was an error that should have read B'Reb, which is short
for ben Reb and means 'son of Mr.' There have been many messages about the word
Reb that can be reviewed by searching the Discussion Group Archives, but it's a
nearly meaningless honorific that can be applied to any married man, and it doesn't
mean Rabbi.

Especially if the obituary was in a non-Jewish newspaper, it's pretty easy to
imaginge how ben Reb could have been changed to B'Red, even if it was spelled out
on the phone. The complication of the inscription on Michael's tombstone in
Hebrew, which reads 'Michael, son of Asher Zelig,' is a problem. Just because it's
written in stone, doesn't mean it's correct. If the stone is relatively recent and
it's still possible to determine who arranged for the stone by calling the monument
maker - for instance, was it an adult child, or an indirect relative who may not
have been sure of his name, or did/do his adult children not know his Hebrew name?
Finding out who placed the obituary, unless it's recent, is usually more difficult,
but it seems like the stone and the obituary were done by two different people.

The most reliable documentation is to get his birth certificate or registration, if
that's possible.

Ira Leviton
New York, N.Y.

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