Keeping my last name when married
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- This topic has 37 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 5 months ago by Always_Ask_Questions.
November 30, 2021 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #2036339yehudis21Participant
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.November 30, 2021 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #2036380RebYid613Participant
As your LORNovember 30, 2021 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #2036386Yabia OmerParticipant
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?November 30, 2021 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #2036384charliehallParticipant
“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.November 30, 2021 6:13 pm at 6:13 pm #2036395
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 ratzonNovember 30, 2021 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #2036400
My wife kept as a middle name.November 30, 2021 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #2036404☕️coffee addictParticipant
“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 doctorsNovember 30, 2021 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm #2036406RebYid613Participant
Just marry someone with the same last name as yours
(A 2nd cousin..) ShoinNovember 30, 2021 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #2036407
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.November 30, 2021 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #2036408akupermaParticipant
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.November 30, 2021 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #2036417
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)December 1, 2021 12:17 am at 12:17 am #2036502
Your name can’t be more unique than SchwarzeneggerDecember 1, 2021 12:19 am at 12:19 am #2036487Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
publish several scientific or even popular articles before getting married and it will be a good excuse to keep the last name.December 1, 2021 12:21 am at 12:21 am #2036489
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.December 1, 2021 12:22 am at 12:22 am #2036490
Shimon, that was really insensitive and also baseless…where do you see that her parents are breathing down his neck?December 1, 2021 12:24 am at 12:24 am #2036506
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’.December 1, 2021 12:55 am at 12:55 am #2036525
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.December 1, 2021 9:48 am at 9:48 am #2036533tunaisafishParticipant
my wife Boruch Hashem has 7 brothers so we never had an issue with that and our last name is a little more common.December 1, 2021 9:49 am at 9:49 am #2036537
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.December 1, 2021 9:55 am at 9:55 am #2036540
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!December 1, 2021 9:59 am at 9:59 am #2036591
“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.December 1, 2021 9:59 am at 9:59 am #2036595CTLAWYERParticipant
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 occasionsDecember 1, 2021 11:01 am at 11:01 am #20366432scentsParticipant
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!December 1, 2021 11:44 am at 11:44 am #2036651yaakov doeParticipant
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.December 1, 2021 11:45 am at 11:45 am #2036656mesivta bachurParticipant
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.December 1, 2021 11:45 am at 11:45 am #2036660ujmParticipant
You never met Devorah Rivka Kaplan-Moskowitz-Katzenellenbogen-Srulowitz??December 1, 2021 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #2036711December 1, 2021 1:04 pm at 1:04 pm #2036720HaLeiViParticipant
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.December 1, 2021 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #2036727
Wow what a shtuch. Such a good retort. Absolutely genius!December 1, 2021 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #2036730
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?December 1, 2021 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #2036732EJMRBroParticipant
I see no issue with keeping your last name as long as you dont impose some sort of hyphenated last name on your kidsDecember 1, 2021 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #2036786n0mesorahParticipant
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.December 1, 2021 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #2037013flyerParticipant
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 interestingDecember 5, 2021 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm #2038303KGNParticipant
My maternal grandmother still has the family name she was born with.
And here mother did the same thing too.December 6, 2021 11:28 am at 11:28 am #2038486WolfishMusingsParticipant
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 WolfDecember 6, 2021 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm #2038520charliehallParticipant
“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.December 6, 2021 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #2038599Avram in MDParticipant
“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?December 6, 2021 8:29 pm at 8:29 pm #2038710Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
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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