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Jun 27, 2012

Headline Of The Day

Headline Of The Day

Putin 'at a loss' after Bethlehem street named for him

 -- Yahoo News

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Bethlehem yesterday, he was taken to see the road they named in his honor. Putin was surprised, considering the European custom being to only name after someone who is dead.

Sounds like the difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Ashkenazim only name babies after dead relatives, considering it an honor to the dead, while Sephardim name after living relatives considering that to be an honor to the [usually] grandparent.

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  1. It seems to be more of a chesed vs. chesed shel emet paradigm than a simple Ashkenaz/Sfard thing.

    When a street is named after a dead person, there is no chance that the honoree will repay the kindness. However, when a street is named after someone living, there is the possibility that the those bequeathing the honor are looking for something in return. Now, what might that be...?

    (Food for thought - this is the second street in a Palestinian-controlled city to be named in honor of a Russian president this year.)

  2. yoni, one could suggest the same considerations are behind the naming after a dead or living relative....

  3. Dovid,

    One could suggest whatever he wants. However, we're talking about real customs, each with its own origin. Are you suggesting that the Sfardi custom to name after living relatives originally an attempt to curry favor with that relative, and that the Ashkenazi custom was originally a way to deflect even the appearance such an attempt? Have you checked out the sources of the customs?


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