Question: How can I mourn a Jewish family member with an unknown Hebrew name?
My elderly brother Julian died and I want to order a memorial stone, but I don't know his Hebrew name. I am not sure he had one as he was retarded and institutionalized. There is nobody who can recall his Hebrew name and the Shul is long gone. Can I select a Hebrew name for him?
Thank you, Dennis
Answer: Dear Dennis,
Thanks for writing, and I can appreciate both your sense of loss and the obligation you want to fulfill.
If no one can provide a Hebrew name, and it is possible that none was ever given him, I would suggest one of two approaches:
(1) Select a name based on his first letter J equal to a J=Yud in Hebrew, a name like Jonthan.
(2) Select a family member who is deceased and had similar to a J=Yud in Hebrew.
Alternatively, you can always inscribe the stone only with his English name and dates of his life.
I wish you only comfort in fulfilling this final obligation of memorial and pray that you only have questions in the future about celebrations and joyous events.