Question:

If my grandaughter was named Charna in shul but she is called Lani exclusively. (Apparently Charna means black and therefore they gave an official English name of Melanie that also means black.) The parents absolutely object to the name Charna being used and they wouldn’t even disclose that name to a school that asks for the Hebrew name. There are likely difficult hashkafa/halacha issues that arise. Other than negative chinuch ramifications, is it sheker when telling the school some name other than Charna as being her Hebrew name? And if the name Charna is being buried, is it proper to think in terms of that being her Jewish name only for the purpose of a kesuva iy”h many years down the road? Or will the name Charna not be considered her name at all since it is purposely not being used?

Answer:

It is not sheker to tell the school the name that she is called by, since for the school’s purposes, they just want to know how she identifies herself, and not what name she is called when davening for a choleh or her kesuba. The only negative chinuch issue that I see here is that she is being called by a secular name, and not a Jewish one. If the parents want, they can change her name and call her Lana, which is a name brought in seforim, (see Bais Shmuel women’s names Lamed). Even if there are negative chinuch issues here, we still have to take into consideration that if the child does not like her name, it will cause her a lot of anguish and stress, which will cause other chinuch issues. (Often this issue can be solved when the parents have a positive attitude towards the name which they impart to the child, but if the parents don’t want or like the name, this isn’t going to happen.) In truth if the parents are so against the name they shouldn’t have given it in the first place.

Regarding the name for her kesuba, they should inform the mesader kedushin beforehand that the name she is called by isn’t the name she was given at birth, and he will know what to do.

Best wishes

Tags: Jewish names Names

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