It was common in Europe (and probably elsewhere) to give a child a common (secular) name for day-to-day use and a "Jewish name" for use in synagogue (e.g., alyah la Torah). This was often done when parents didn't want their child to look different in the secular world while at the same time having a Jewish name to honor a grand-parent.

So assume a father named his son Shlomo at the brit mila, having in mind he would be called Ploni in his day-to-day life and Ploni Shlomo in synagogue.

Are there any halachic issues in this dual name situation where one name is used 99% of the time, and a different name used in synagogue?

Possible halachic issues could be

  • Calling someone to the Torah Shlomo (his Jewish name) even if it is nearly never used?
  • Calling someone to the Torah Ploni Shlomo when he was named Shlomo?
  • What name to use on a ketuba or get?
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5737/11501
    – mbloch
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 7:33
  • you can call someone up to the torah by going 'hey you!'
    – user15253
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 18:26
  • 2
    Somewhat OT, but the (formerly Hasidic) reggae artist Matisyahu was actually given the name Feivish Hershel at his bris, but it was forgotten and throughout his life he was known as Matisyahu based on his English given name, Matthew. Later his bris papers were found and it was discovered the name he was given was actually Feivish Hershel, but his beis din said he should continue to use the name he'd used for the rest of his life, Matisyahu.
    – ezra
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Since I didn't get an answer here, I investigated further and asked two senior rabbanim in Israel. Their view was that

  • there is no specific issue in calling someone to the Torah by either name
  • the name on the ketuba needs to be right: as such, if the person has his full name ("Ploni Shlomo") on his official identity card, or was called to the Torah by this full name at his bar mitzva, this is enough to make it his "official Jewish name" and use it on the ketuba
  • if not, to be sure, the best is to have a formal "change of name ceremony", something which is quite easy to organize

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .