My boss and I are Muslims, one day some brave Jewish man walked into our shop and asked if we can do business together. I say brave as he is a conservative religion-wise you can tell from the way he dresses and his hair ie rabbi-like in spite of the fact that our area is strictly Arabs Muslims populated.

Since then we do business every week, he comes to deliver the goods himself.

What is a word that I can use to address him without offending him? something like "brother". Keep in mind that as a Muslim I am not allowed to use this word with non-Muslims.

My boss calls him rabbi and he calls my boss Imam. However one day he said he does not like being called rabbi.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing us your question. It's nice to see you promoting interfaith friendliness. :)
    – Scimonster
    Commented Jan 17, 2015 at 18:43
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    Since he's said he doesn't like being called "rabbi", could you ask him what he prefers? Also, it sounds like you're looking for a form of address rather than a word to use to refer to him when talking to someone else, right? Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 21:39
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the question of what someone would like to be called is not on topic. It is also primarily opinion based.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 15:45

4 Answers 4


You could call him "cousin". That could be a nice way to emphasize the relationship between Jews and Muslims as descendents of Abraham. "Friend" would also be appropriate. I'm not exactly sure about Muslim protocol, but for Jews, it is not necessary to use a word for him, and as havarka says, you could simply call him by his first name or Mr. Last Name, depending on how formal your relationship is.

  • I have a number of Muslim friends and "cousin" is a word we often use for each other.
    – Ze'ev
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 20:05

what about his name?! That sounds like appropriate! or Believer!

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    I think Believer would probably sound kind of funny. "Hey Believer! How's it going?"
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 0:23
  • Is that bad? The worst disability which person can have is lack of humour. :)
    – havarka
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 1:25

Can you call him "achi"? That means "my brother" in Hebrew. I don't know if that would be acceptable under your religious beliefs (as it isn't in Arabic), but that might work.

You could also consider calling him "yedidi" which means my friend in Hebrew.

Or you might try "gadol" which can mean something along the lines of "big man" or significant person. (Granted if he didn't like 'rabbi', he may not like this)

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    Achi is also the Arabic word for "my brother," so I imagine the same problem applies.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 0:21

Maybe "reb" or "rebbe" rather than "rabbi"? That's more along the lines of "wise man" without the formal clerical connotations.

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