Laws and Customs regarding the naming of children and related topics.
Jewish law and custom governs not only specificrituals and specified times, but also the ordinary moments of everyday life. Circumcision, first haircut, bar and bat mitzvah, engagement, marriage, death, and burial- these are the defining life cycle events that mark a Jew's passage through this world. Among these, naming a child is uniquely important, for throughout his everyday life, his Jewish name defines his identity at every waking and sleeping moment. And it is by his Jewish name that a person is remembered and memorialized after a hundred and twenty years.
Choosing the name- and the cermonies surrounding the giving of that name- are much discussed in books of Jewish law and custom. Many of the details are not commonly known, especially where unusual situations arise, or when there is disagreement over the choice of a name. "What's in a Name?" compiles this information in a format accessible to the layman, but with extensive technical footnotes and refernces to guide the professional Rabbi when questions arise.