Dear Rabbi,
I am jewish but my husband is not. My first 2 sons have English and Hebrew names and were named after 2 grandfathers who had the same Hebrew name and 2 grandmothers of mine. My third son who is 3 months old was named (in English) after my grandfather (Jacob) and my grandmother (Blanche), both deceased. Jake Brian is his name. However, we used their hebrew names already.

Since no one in my family can remember anybody else's Hebrew names who are deceased, my dilemma is -- can I give my third son a generic Hebrew name without breaking any laws? Will it have the same significance as my other sons? Also, since I am not affiliated with a temple, do you know of any online service or Rabbi that can give my child a name. And how do you pick one?

Thank you so much for your time, Stacey







Dear Stacey,

You may use any generic name you wish. There are no hard and set rules reading naming. Usually we name after the deceased though. There are no online naming services. Did your child have a bris (Jewish circumcision) The naming is always done immediately following the circumcision. If not, you will want to speak to a local rabbi regarding having him have a "symbolic circumcision". There are many naming books around that can offer you Hebrew name suggestions. One is called "The New Name Dictionary" by Alfred Kolatch (published by Jonathan David).

If you want more information about the bris and symbolic circumcision you can buy "The Jewish Baby Book" (Behrman House Publishers) which you will find very helpful.

Good luck and shanah tovah!

Rabbi Ron


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