Calling uncles and aunts without using their title

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    YW Moderator-42

    My nephews and nieces call me Uncle Joseph.

    If your aunt has Semicha, what should she be called?

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕



    Call me what you will. As long as it’s respectful and affectionate. Uncle and Aunt are terms taht are both of those things, and now and then I call an older person who is not my uncle or aunt those names.

    As for my own uncles and aunts, first time I see them in a visit, I will use their title and first name. Subsequently, I will call them by their familiar name.

    I’m almost sixty, when I was young every adult had to be addressed by a title. Cousin X, Coach Y, Mr. Z. Now it’s different.

    When introducing a friend to my mother, I ask her how she would like to be introduced. Until 15 years ago, she would say, Mrs. R. Now she asks to be introduced by her first name. I do honor my mother’s request.

    On the other hand, several friends’ parents have invited me to address them by their first name. That feels rather odd, since I have known them for decades as Mr. S.


    Most people my age are grandparents (just to let you know how old I am). I still call my one remaining aunt Aunt Shirley. (Luckily her name really is Shirley or that would be totally weird.)

    Slightly off topic, when I was first becoming frum, I spent a Shabbos with a frum family. I was totally taken aback when their children called me by my first name. I was nearly 30 and I didn’t feel that I was in a peer group with 3-year-olds. I soon discovered that it was the norm among frum people to address single women of any age by their first name. It was quite disconcerting when married “women” younger than I (teenagers, actually) were called Mrs. So-and-so by the same children who used my first name. I’ve gotten used to it.

    I might add, however, that one of my second cousins has her children call me Cousin Haifagirl. She doesn’t want her children calling adults by their first name.

    Off my soapbox now.


    Respect and honor are determined by how you speak to and treat a person, not by the title used.

    a mamin

    Simple: My daughter has nieces and nephews older than her. She was born after her sisters got married, get it? They call her the mima!


    I actually have the opposite problem at times. I prefer to be called by my given name, but there are some people who feel it is not respectful EVEN THOUGH I have told them I am more comfortsble being called by my name. IMO, it is disrespectful to NOT abide by the specific person’s preferences as to what to be called, especially once they have expressed it to you.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    haifagirl – I happen to think you are wonderful and terrific (and that is WITH knowing who you are) but I HATE when people take experiences they have and decide they are ‘frum’ things. I don’t share those experiences with you at all. Not in my own home, nor in any of my friends homes. The only people I know who are frum who use first names for their aunts and uncles are those who are 2 years apart in age from them, or older than their aunts, and are in elementary school together.

    (hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your soapbox)


    I just saw a father at a simcha wash his son’s mouth with soap after the kid called his uncle by his first name after having just been warned not to.


    And, do you think that was a good or bad thing for the father to do?


    Well, my nieces and nephews can call what they want, but they doesn’t has ta call me Johnson.

    Avi K

    What if the uncle/aunt is a woman younger than the nephew/niece? This is not far-fetched at all. If someone has a child at age 20 and another at age 42 and the older child also has a child at age 20 the nephew/niece will be the older of the two.

    In any case, the father Joseph saw was over on embarrassing someone in public, which some poskim say is yehareg v’al yaavor. This is especially severe in the case of a child.


    It was done at a sink in a room I happened to walk into where the father and son were alone and apparently not expecting anyone else to see. (I slipped out right away.) I put one and one together having seen the kid being publicly disobedient to his father on this issue a few minutes earlier.


    Joseph, you didn’t answer my question


    How did he know the soap wasn’t traif?

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