Putting a nickname on a matzeva or footstone. Advice welcomed.

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  • #1699912

    BrachaBatRaizel
    Participant

    My siblings and I are planning my mother’s z”tzl unveiling, and have hit a huge brick wall when it comes to her family relationships. The easy ones are “beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother…” then she was affectionately known by her great grands as Bubs.
    Some want that on there, others don’t think it is appropriate for the matzeva.
    Comments?

    #1700336

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    My father Z”L was never called by his given name. No one except a few very close relatives knew what it was. In fact on my parents’ wedding invitations after his given name there was a parentheses with his nickname inside.
    Therefore, it was a no brainer that his foot stone (we have a family plot headstone) would have his nickname on it.

    #1700350

    a mamin
    Participant

    I don’t think it’s respectful! Even if they weren’t called by their real name. I believe there Are times for slang and there are times for formality. This is one of them.

    #1700386

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @a mamin

    Slang is a word such as ain’t. A nickname is NOT slang, it is an endearment. In this case as the OP wrote it is the English verbiage which would have the endearing name, not the proper Hebrew inscription.

    My father’s stone have the correct Hebrew name, in English it has his given name then a parentheses containing A/K/A XXX…….the name everyone knew him as for more than 90 years.

    In the OP’s case the great grandchildren will go and visit the grave for many decades to come and be comforted to see that ‘Bubs’ is buried there. They do not know her by any other name.

    #1700415

    a mamin
    Participant

    We were asked for our opinion , my opinion is , it is not respectful to the mes. You are entitled to have a different opinion .

    #1700423

    yyoossii
    Participant

    Hamakom yenachem…

    In more heimish circles, full Hebrew name and formalities in front and endearments/nickname in rear.. so rear would read something like;

    פ״נ
    Our beloved bubs
    Nina’leh Halbershtam

    #1700427

    Joseph
    Participant

    In “more heimishe circles” there’s no non-Hebrew on a matzeiva.

    #1700445

    anonymous Jew
    Participant

    A mamin, so it’s respectful to use the name to their face while they’re alive, but not on a stone?

    #1700446

    Joseph
    Participant

    This endearment language comes across like the “minhag” of leaving flowers at the gravestone.

    #1700448

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @yyoossii
    The OP mentioned a Matzeva or footstone. I referred to a footstone. There usually is not an engravable rear side of a footstone. In fact the footstones for my parents’ graves are flat in the ground

    #1700449

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Our family cemetery in NYC is years old. Many of the stones have Yiddish in addition to Hebrew on them.
    My Zaidy’s stone has Zev in Hebrew and Wulf in the Yiddish.

    #1700490

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL: I should’ve been clearer in saying they don’t use non-Hebrew lettering on matzeivas. IOW, no English. Yiddish, obviously, uses the Hebrew alphabet. Although, other than names, I don’t recall ever seeing other Yiddish wording on matzeivas.

    #1700491

    Joseph
    Participant

    The name is generally “name ben/bas father”; iow, their formal name. The same they’d be called up to the Torah with.

    #1700615

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Leaving flowers is generally a violation of the rules in most Jewish cemeteries. Carving a sentiment or endearing name is not against the rules.

    I remember taking the shamash of our heimische shul in New Haven to make the rounds of local cemeteries one August when he was too old to drive. He pointed out the Matzeva of ‘The lady with the baby carriage’ There was an engraving of a baby carriage, and a story in Yiddish about this woman who pushed a baby carriage through the poor Jewish neighborhood each erev Shabbos for decades delivering free food for the poor. She had no husband or children and the Matzeva was paid for and erected by the shul Rav who decided on the engraving.

    #1700660

    rational
    Participant

    a matzeiva?
    Only Hebrew

    #1700695

    BrachaBatRaizel
    Participant

    Thank you all for the advice and comments. It is clear that there are many customs that people follow. Because it will be on a footstone and not on the large matzeva, it has less significance and is only stating her relationships with her family. I’ve come to terms with it for Shalom bayis.

    #1700800

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Be very careful what you put there as sometimes a nickname is derogatory.

    #1736457

    anonymous Jew
    Participant

    Who says stones can’t have English as well as Hebrew names?

    #1736607

    klugeryid
    Participant

    Totally off topic but someone mentioned flowers at a grave.
    Reb Yaakov galinsky said, he was once asked to officiate at a burial of a wealthy non religious family.
    He knew a nice tear jerker of a speech would result in a nice check for his yeshiva and kolel But when they showed up with armloads of flowers he couldn’t hold back.
    He told them, if you believe in the afterlife and eternity of the soul, so he needs mitzvahs, mishnayos , and kaddish.
    And if you don’t believe in it, so why are you wasting money on flowers, he can’t know about them anyway.

    He said, I didn’t get a check, but by the next year they were saying kaddish on the yartzeit .

    #1736628

    Joseph
    Participant

    English on matzeivas is very modernish.

    #1736655

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    About writing any other language but hebrew letters on a matzeva, see the Mehram Shik YD 171 that the language denies after life. He called himself שיק to signify the beginning letters שם ישראל קודש. Adas Yereim (Wiener) in Beis Yisrtoel, Woodridge, NJ forbids anything but hebrew letters on the matzeva.

    #1736657

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In CH’M 56 the Meharam Shik says clearly that the world was created in lashon hakodash and that is the only language in hebrew letters the matzeva should be written in.

    #1736685

    Joseph : you wrote “English on matzeivas is very modernish.” please explain. I mean I wouldnt have expected english in a shtetl in Europe. Also, I have relatives buried in old montifiore cemetery in Queens. Many matzeivos from the 1930’s already have english on them.

    #1736820

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    In the Wiener Cemetery above, chavreh kadishe has to approve the text to the matzeva. The cemetery belongs to a group who has the right to set rules as a shul does.

    #1736859

    Joseph
    Participant

    LOT11210: In Europe you won’t find Hungarian or Polish on chareidish matzeivos. Loshon Kodesh only. Not even secular dates or years. America was more modern, especially prewar America before the Chareidim came here in numbers.

    Also see laskern’s excellent points on this.

    #1744525

    Mammele
    Participant

    Maybe not the perfect forum for this, but I can’t figure out what R”VV stands for in the notes column on a Munkács Burial list found on JewishGen, taken from cemetery records. If anyone can help me out I’d appreciate it.

    #1744855

    Mammele
    Participant

    Anyone?

    #1744893

    anonymous Jew
    Participant

    Joseph, non-Hebrew on Eastern European matzeivos was historically not an issue for Ashkenazim. Until the 1800’s, Jews living in the Austro-Hungarian and Russian
    Empires did not have secular last names nor secular first names. By 1844, Jews living in the Empires were legally required to adopt secular last names.

    #1744938

    velicher choosid
    Participant

    in the Sefer מנהג ישראל תורה the author writes (source needed – I will bli neder look it up) that any name other than the one the interred used other than what was used for Aliya when he was alive is considered דרכי האמורי

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