Jewish Naming

In the Jewish religion, you always name your kid after someone who has died, it was Jewish tradition. So, I’m named after my Mother’s father, who’s name is Jack. So I never quite figured out how Jane ended up being Jack, but whatever. He passed away within 24 hours of my birth. And I’m named after him.

My mom always told me that Papa Jack would watch over me from heaven because I was named after him. All of the kids are named after relatives she thought would keep watch on them from Heaven.

The most common Jewish reason associated with this has to do with fooling the angel of death—that if you name a baby after a living person, the angel might get confused and take the baby by accident. I can see how this oikotype would appear in my family because now and in America infant mortality rates are much lower than they were, so what becomes more important is having the children ‘looked after’. Whereas concern used to be on infant death, now it’s on the growing up process.