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A recent NY Times article describes a rising trend in women's choices in keeping their maiden names, instead of (more traditionally) taking their husband's last name.

I've wondered what opinions rabbis have expressed on the topic of keeping a maiden name versus changing it -- my (completely unsubstantiated) feeling is that most Orthodox rabbis would advise changing the last name, in keeping with a mostly conservative political view, but I'd like to know if any rabbis have made their opinions public, either in responsa or public articles.

(I mean, the whole last name business is pretty new, so it's unlikely to be a major part of the religion; I'm just interested in rabbinic opinions for or against)

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    Note many rabbis probably haven't commented on the matter because they realize it has nothing to do with Judaism. – Double AA Jun 28 '15 at 4:48
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    Also: "... In keeping with a mostly conservative political view..." What does politics have to do with this? If anything, it's the politics that are based on religious sentiment, not the other way around! – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 28 '15 at 6:48
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    I have heard that R. Mordechai Willig is opposed to a wife keeping her maiden name – wfb Jun 29 '15 at 0:48
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    Listen at about 24 min here failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2015/02/… "Rav Moshe writes in a teshuva that the very essence of marriage is that a woman enters her husband's home. Since we have something called surnames, she adopts her name. No couple will be allowed on the shul membership list as "Chana Cohen and Moshe Levy." – wfb Jun 29 '15 at 1:01
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    Just to be clear, R. Willig is extrapolating from R. Moshe's characterization of marriage. I don't think R. Moshe himself addresses this – wfb Jun 29 '15 at 3:12
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There's an mp3 where Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff mentions his personal opinion that because the Torah identifies families by the father's name (lemishpechotam l'veit avotam), his preference is for a married woman to take her husband's name. He's fine with hyphenation if the maiden name is helpful for professional purposes. (Rakeffet himself had first Hebraicized his surname from Rothkoff to Rakeffet, then couldn't cash a check made to his old name; he settled on hyphenating the two surnames.)

  • Nice. Do you have a link to that mp3? (probably on YUTorah somewhere [1,222 shiurim under Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkoff's name]) – Shokhet Jul 22 '15 at 16:27
  • @Shokhet sorry I really don't recall! (They sort of blur together, especially when it comes to his side comments.) – Shalom Jul 22 '15 at 23:18
  • That's all right; I'm the same way with R' Herschel Schachter's shiurim :) ....if you ever happen to come across it again, please let me know! :) – Shokhet Jul 23 '15 at 1:56
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since in jewish view as seen in rambam and more, that women should respect there husband like a king etc. it may be disrespectfull keeping maiden name.

  • Why do you say that? I don't think women who keep their maiden names are trying to disrespect their spouses. – Daniel Jun 29 '15 at 0:10
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    even if that is not the intention by keeping ones maiden name it shows lake of respect – 718 Jun 29 '15 at 0:26
  • @718 what if it's done, like mentioned in the article, simply because it's easier to maintain business contacts that way? – Shokhet Jun 29 '15 at 0:28
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    @718 How does it show a lack of respect? She isn't calling him by the wrong name. I don't see what's disrespectful to the husband at all. It just seems inconvenient to have too many names in a family, but not disrespectful. – Double AA Jun 29 '15 at 15:25
  • @Shokhet Some women keep their maiden names in a professional context, but adopt their husbands' surnames in a social context. – Fred Jun 29 '15 at 22:50

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