Keeping my last name when married

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  • #2036339
    yehudis21
    Participant

    So I don’t have any brothers, and my parents don’t want our family name to disappear when I get married, so they’re wondering if I could keep my last name, or at least do the double last name thingy. I’m curious what the frum perspective on this is.

    BTW my last name is somewhat unique, not like Friedman or something.

    #2036380
    RebYid613
    Participant

    As your LOR

    #2036386
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Take husband’s name. After 120 it’s not like your last name will be passed in anyway to your kids so what’s the point?

    #2036384
    charliehall
    Participant

    “I could keep my last name”

    Why not? Surnames themselves are a goyish invention, forced on Jews unwillingly. Rachel bat Lavan did not become Rachel bat Yitzchak when she married Yaakov ben Yitzchak. Your Hebrew name doesn’t change when you get married, why would your English name have to?

    In addition, there are often very good professional reasons to keep ones last name.

    #2036395
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    These are real, valid concerns, and i hear where you’re coming from. The daughters of tzelofchod felt the same way when they said that they didn’t want to lose their father’s ancestral right upon marriage. Last names might be from goyim, but the idea of maintaining the dignity and remembrance of “bais abba” is most certainly not. And since we all use last names, it’s natural to associate them with your father’s house and your family in general.

    I wish I could say that these concerns justify keeping your last name. If we lived in a world without feminism and the encroaching influences of the outside world that threaten us from within and without on a daily basis, then by all means! There are some countries where this is the norm, especially most south american and latin countries. But in our country, keeping the last bame or even hyphenating it is a statement that one communicates as a follower of feminist attitudes. Feminism objected to taking the man’s name because they felt it diminished their individualism and that it implied that husband and wife were not equal partners. The first part….yes, in many places in America, women would look at themselves as just extensions of their husbands. In the south, women would (and still) refer to themselves by saying “hi, my name is Mrs adam smith”. This was bot the Torah’s viewpoint. However neither is it Torah to believe that men and women are equal partners in a marriage. Feminism, as I’m sure you’re aware, is very anti Torah, anti family, and anti social.

    So to distance our community – which is on the brink of influence from feminism – from alien attacks on our beliefs, it is the necessary choice to forego the last name. Let your family’s remembrance be in the ehrliche children you raise and your own personal avodas Hashem. Kein yehu ratzon

    #2036400
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    My wife kept as a middle name.

    #2036404
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    “But in our country, keeping the last bame or even hyphenating it is a statement that one communicates as a follower of feminist attitudes.“

    It’s also common if both parents are doctors

    #2036406
    RebYid613
    Participant

    Just marry someone with the same last name as yours
    (A 2nd cousin..) Shoin

    #2036407
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    As noted above, there is no inyan in halacha to have a “last name” nor are many of the most chashuvah rabbonim in our early history known by a surname. Perhaps ask your husband to change HIS last name to yours so as to make it easier for the kids. As to the shtus about retaining your name being derivative of a “feminist” trend which is alien to yiddeshkeit, I would respectfully suggest that misogyny cloaked in halacha is also alien to yiddeshkeit.

    #2036408
    akuperma
    Participant

    The idea of a woman changing her name on marriage is clearly a non-Jewish custom. Traditionally a woman would be known as “Pilonis bar [father’s name]” for her entire life. The goyim started to force Yidden to adopt family names a few centuries ago (the better to tax and conscript us), which explains why Jews have been very unattached to their surnames and frequently change them (by way of contrast, many western European goyim have surnames that have been in use for thousands of years, and are critical in researching ancestry). Rabbanim have allowed women to adopt the husband’s surname even though it is a goyish minhag (as are inherited surnames).

    While there are no “Jewish” arguments on change of surname, there are practical reasons for the wife to adopt a husband’s name, especially if they expect to have children and if they are going to be on the same health insurance.

    #2036417
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Keep your last name as insurance. Your husband is likely to divorce after a few miserable years of your parents breathing down his neck. (Seriously)

    #2036502
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Your name can’t be more unique than Schwarzenegger

    #2036487

    publish several scientific or even popular articles before getting married and it will be a good excuse to keep the last name.

    #2036489
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Of course, someone has to turn a sensible discussion into a rant about misogyny dressed up as halacha…women were often referred to as “eshes” “mrs” so and so, but I’m really not interested in discussing that topic again. The OP wrote from the heart and deserves an answer not based on personal politics. Feminism is a danger to frumkeit for anyone who’s not open orthodox; the movement for women to bedavka not take their husband’s name was started by feminists. There can be circumstances where it’s practical not to adopt the husbands name legally, and i know many people who didn’t due to it being too complicated, but socially they are known as mrs whatever-husbands-last-name-is.

    The Gaon writes that when there is a pervasive yatzer hora for a particular inyan, we’re supposed to go to extreme lengths to distance ourselves from it. What normally is innocent (like this case) becomes something we avoid when it smacks of goyishe hashkofos.

    Again, my heart goes out to the OP; i understand where she’s coming from and I wish we lived in a sane world where such things wouldn’t be making a political statement.

    #2036490
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Shimon, that was really insensitive and also baseless…where do you see that her parents are breathing down his neck?

    #2036506
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    GH, the Maharam Shik was forced to pick a last name, so he took Shik as an acronym for
    ש’ם ‘י’שראל ‘ק’ודש’.

    #2036525
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    As I mentioned before, my wife a’h kept her family name as a middle name (not having any brothers but a sister) not hyphenated. It made her happy and it never bothered me.

    #2036533
    tunaisafish
    Participant

    my wife Boruch Hashem has 7 brothers so we never had an issue with that and our last name is a little more common.

    #2036537
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Avira, you can coddle all you want but you’ll only do harm in the end. I have rachmanus, so I’m warning her that if her parents continue behaving like this her husband will likely divorce (worst case scenario, but not good for shalom bayis regardless). The in laws need to leave them alone.

    #2036540
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Avira, I have no doubt you have a hard time even imagining the possibility that not everything is rosy and perfect. In laws can ruin an otherwise good marriage!

    #2036591
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “What normally is innocent (like this case) becomes something we avoid when it smacks of goyishe hashkofos’

    This very clear and truthful explanation goes to the heart of many machlokis debated here in the CR. Someone decides that an otherwise mutar, rational or functional form of behavior or activity has morphed into “goyeshe hashkafos”, creates the potential for “maris ayin” or is simply inconsistent with how our grandparents acted, dressed, spoke etc in the Alte Heim. When that “someone” is a big daas torah, we obviously stop and consider his argument. When that “someone” is a chashuvah CR poster (other than Reb E who is our virtual LRP) we give it thoughtful consideration but don’t feel any obligation.
    As others have noted, there are multiple reasons why a woman might legitimately want to retain her maiden name or hyphenated name after marriage. Feminism along with other “isms” and practical reasons are possible drivers but there is NO chiyuv to do something that is really important to you as an individual or a member of a family in order to conform to some abstract psak about a non-existant geder under halacha. Proudly keep your name if thats your preference and if gives you a positive sense of kavod to your father’s name.

    #2036595
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Mrs. CTL has used a hyphenated last name throughout our marriage because she was partners in her family’s real estate firm.
    My daughters kept their (my) last name, as they are part of the CTL Law firm. Starting out being known as Sarah Schwartz would be meaningless, but as Sarah CTL was advantageous. Two sons-in-law hyphenated last names for same reason. They are in the firm, e.g. Atty. Josef CTL-Schwartz

    My mother never worked before marriage, so changed her name, her sister who was 3 years younger was working while her husband to be was off fighting WWII in the US Army, so she kept her Maiden name for professional reasons.

    All of these women use(d) Mr and Mrs X for social occasions

    #2036643
    2scents
    Participant

    So the children use the both names? If they work professionally and want to keep their name, together with their spouses already hyphenated name, it may turn out to be one long name!

    #2036651
    yaakov doe
    Participant

    I don’t like the hyphenated last name but to keep the maiden name as a middle name is ok. With a second marriage the woman keeping the name she is known by is common. And for a woman to use her maiden name professionally if she is established in a profession prior to marriage seems common. Passing on a last name isn’t important because we have a mesorah of passing on first names of departed ancestors as a way to keep their memory alive. Last names have only been arounf for several hundred years and many Americans have last names that were changed after immigration to this country. There were no Smiths, Robinsons, or Roberts in the shtetl.

    #2036656
    mesivta bachur
    Participant

    The Maharsha took his mothein law’s name. And chassidim and chashuve kehilos hyphenate all the time, eg. Seret-Vizhnitz, Pinsk- Karlin and Brisk-Yerushalayim.

    #2036660
    ujm
    Participant

    You never met Devorah Rivka Kaplan-Moskowitz-Katzenellenbogen-Srulowitz??

    #2036711
    Chaylev Halyah
    Participant

    @Shimon Nodel:
    it seems you are suffering from severe PTSD

    #2036720
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    I don’t think it is a big deal. You would have to discuss it with your prospective spouse. I know someone who took on his wife’s family name, since it was a brand name.

    In this thread I noticed a knee-jerk reaction to a knee-jerk reaction. Just pointing out that this is what makes conversations boring. It becomes, at times, almost as if we’re replaying a scripted act.

    #2036727
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    Wow what a shtuch. Such a good retort. Absolutely genius!

    #2036730
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    UJM: “So you never met Devorah Rivka Kaplan-Moskowitz-Katzenellenbogen-Srulowitz??”

    What a coincidence. Yes, I actually dated her in high school, but back then she simply went by “Devorahlah”. Really nice girl. What is she doing these days?

    #2036732
    EJMRBro
    Participant

    I see no issue with keeping your last name as long as you dont impose some sort of hyphenated last name on your kids

    #2036786
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    We could all yell at the wall, but I think it is practically very difficult. When would you bring it up? As a prerequisite to dating? After your already engaged? Just not legally changing your name after marriage? It is threading a needle. If you make a big deal, people will say so what and it will not be worth the hassle. And if you do not make a big deal, people will just call you by your husband’s name.

    #2037013
    flyer
    Participant

    My son actually had a classmate whose mother went by two last names from before she was married and I guess wanted the child to have her names and dads. So she has 3 last names. In school went by her first name, mom’s initials of last names and then dad’s last name (ie sara AB friedman)
    It was interesting

    #2038303
    KGN
    Participant

    My maternal grandmother still has the family name she was born with.

    And here mother did the same thing too.

    #2038486
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    FWIW, when my wife and I got married (over 30 years ago), I told her that I had no problem if she wanted to keep her last name. She wanted to take mine, but if she didn’t, it would not have bothered me at all.

    The Wolf

    #2038520
    charliehall
    Participant

    “publish several scientific or even popular articles before getting married and it will be a good excuse to keep the last name.”

    That is almost essential if you want to have a successful academic career. Whatever name you publish under first, you need to keep it for the rest of your life. Otherwise people will not find your publications in search engines.

    Elizabeth Warren took her first husband’s surname when she got married. (She was a traditional conservative Republican back then.) Then they got divorced and she has been married to a man with a different surname now for 40 years. But she still uses her ex-husband’s surname.

    #2038599
    Avram in MD
    Participant

    charliehall,

    “That is almost essential if you want to have a successful academic career. Whatever name you publish under first, you need to keep it for the rest of your life … she has been married to a man with a different surname now for 40 years. But she still uses her ex-husband’s surname.”

    Do you think there should be a push to change this sexist rigidity in the academic world, given that even a highly successful woman can feel compelled to remain chained to her ex-husband’s name for the entirety of her professional life?

    #2038710

    charlie > Whatever name you publish under first, you need to keep it

    I wish I had a foresight to change my name after marriage to escape my early papers! Maybe I’ll continue under AAQ.

    > she still uses her ex-husband’s surname.

    That’s not a usual thing. She is good at taking identities on. Totally new meaning for a “member of the tribe”.

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