Tombstone Translation #photographs #translation

Mary Ellen

Can anyone one please translate this for me.
Mary Ellen


Chana Frayda, daughter of Yaakov.

Yitschok Margareten

Here lies 
Our dear mother
A modest and honest woman 
Honored and respected
Beloved by all who knew her 
Mrs. Chana Fraida
daughter of Mr. Yaakov
Died with good reputation 13 Kislev 5673
May her soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life 



Hello Mary Ellen,


Here lies or here is buried (Abbreviation on top)

Our dear mother

Honest and modest

Respected by all who knew her

Mrs. Hannah Frieda

Daughter of Ya’akov

Passed 13 Kislev 1913

May her soul be gathered in eternal life (abbreviation on bottom)

Shalom, Malka Chosnek



Mary Ellen,

The translation of the gravestone is as follows:
First line: po nikbarah (abbr.) – here lies
Second line: imanu ha’yikarah ­– our dear mother
Third line:  eishet tzenuah v’yesharah – a modest and upright woman
Fourth line:  nichbadah v’choshavah – respected and important
Fifth line:  l’chol yoda’ah v’ahuvah – by all who knew and loved her
Sixth line:  marat Chanah Freida – Mrs. Chanah Freida
Seventh line:  bat mareinu ha’rav (abbr.) Yaakov ­– the daughter of our teacher Rabbi Yaakov
Eighth line:  niftara – who died
Ninth line:  b’shem tov (abbr.) 13th Kislev 5673 ­– with a good name on the 13th of Kislev 5673
Tenth line:  nishmata tsrurah b’tsror ha’chaim (abbr.) – may her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life

The 13th of Kislev 5673 corresponds to 23 November 1912.
Yours truly,


Here is buried (abbreviation)
Our dear mother
A modest and upstanding woman
Honored and distinguished
Beloved to all who knew her
Mrs Chana Freida daughter of our leader the Rabbi (abbreviation) Yaakov
Died with a good name (abbreviation)13th of Kislev 5673
May her soul be bound in the bonds of everlasting life (abbreviation)

The acronym before her father's name does signify that he was a Rabbi.

David Barrett

May I respectfully pass comment on the Hebrew abbreviations of   בש''ט .
In this particular case as they appear by/with the date they must refer to the date and NOT to her personality ,all listed above the date.
So in this  case the abbreviations mean " at a good time" = בשעה טובה -- meaning ON SHABBAT - check the 1912 calendar!


There are a number of discrepancies among the replies that were given.  I hope to come back with a full reading later.

Meanwhile, I would like to point out:

1.  Her middle name might have been pronounced Freeda, rather than Fraydah.

2.  There is an abbreviation in front of her father's name that indicates that he was a rabbi, as at least one person pointed out.

3.  As to the abbreviation immediately preceding the date of death:  Gravestones have no punctuation and are full of run-on sentences.  This abbreviation -- despite its location -- means "with a good name/reputation".  It does not mean "at a good time",  even if the date of death might have been a Sabbath. 
Fredel Fruhman
Brooklyn, New York, USA


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

Debbie Lifshitz

  The abbreviation "bet shin/ sin tet" on a tombstone almost always means "Be'sayvah Tovah" which translates to "in good old-age", and refers to people who lived to the concept of "old age" at that time, usually well beyond the average life expectancy of the period.
Bet-sin- tet has nothing to do with shem tov (unless it's earlier in the text referring to a person's virtues) or be'sha'a tova, (in a good hour) which to my knowledge is never ever used for someone's death, and is reserved for happier occasions such as births, engagements, bar-mitzvah, weddings...
Hope this helps all those who do such a marvelous job deciphering tombstones...! (and get to it earlier than me!!) 
Debbie Lifschitz


I agree with you that it could say besaivah tovah (in old age) but given her age of 62 (even if it was 1912) it doesn't seem like something truly out of the ordinary to make a point of in the epitaph. Maybe I'm overestimating the life expectancy for that time.

Dubin, David M. MD

Hi all,
As to the abbreviation (bet-)shin-tav (ש״ט) I have an ancestor who died at age thirty who had this abbreviation on his stone. Therefore it does not mean “b’seiva tova (in old age). It means “b’shem tov”, that is, with a good reputation. 
David Dubin
Teaneck, New Jersey 


I want to thank Debbie Lifshitz (and Leya Aronson of Toronto, who posted a reply separately) for bringing up a possible reading that had completely slipped my mind:  b'sayvah tovah, meaning that someone had died of a "ripe old age".

I have not looked at life expectancy for those days, but it seems to me -- based upon my own family tree and relatives who died back then -- that 62 may have been considered a "ripe old age" in 1912.  That being said, I have seen this abbreviation immediately before the date of death even on stones of those had died at a much younger age.

It seems to me that EITHER interpretation -- "with a good name" or "at a ripe old age" -- might be correct, and we will probably never know which was intended.
Fredel Fruhman
Brooklyn, New York, USA