Re: Tombstone Translation #photographs #translation


I am standing “on the shoulders” of the above replies in composing my response.


Here lies


Our dear mother


A modest and honest woman


Beloved to all those who knew her




daughter of our teacher the rabbi Yaakov




with a good reputation [on the] 13th of Kislev 5673


May her soul be bound up in the bond of life.




The Hebrew spelling of her middle name (with one ‘Yud’) makes me lean towards the pronunciation “Freeda”; Frayda would more commonly be spelled with two Yuds.  However, either is possible.


The abbreviation before her father’s name definitely indicates that he was a rabbi (having rabbinical ordination; not necessarily being a pulpit rabbi).  Occasionally, this abbreviation is included in error.  In this case, with the excellent Hebrew on the stone, I feel that the composers of the text were knowledgeable. 


It is common to see the abbreviation Bet-Shin-Tet on a gravestone.  Hebrew abbreviations can have multiple readings; this depends upon the context.  The abbreviation “b’shaah tovah”, which means “in a good time” is used for happy occasions (for example, upon hearing that a woman is expecting, one might say “b’shaah tovah”, in a good time, expressing the wish that baby be born at a favorable hour).  I cannot see anyone feeling that someone had died “at a good time”.  Thus the reading here would be “b’shem tov”, with a good name.  As I mentioned in my earlier reply, gravestones have no punctuation; they are full of run-on sentences, with phrases often being broken up by the engraver according to how they best fit on each line.  The phrase ‘died with a good name on such-and-such a date’ often appears on gravestones, no matter the day of the week upon which the death occurred.




I’d like to repeat what I’ve written several times in the past.  The ViewMate feature of jewishgen is an excellent place to post images of gravestones, which have their own category among the many types of images that can be placed there.  If you want to make readers of the daily digest aware that you have a gravestone to translate, you can simply post that you’ve uploaded a gravestone image, and include the direct link to the ViewMate item.  Replies are automatically sent to the poster.-- 

Fredel Fruhman,  Brooklyn, New York, USA

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