DEAR ABBY: What is the protocol for naming a baby after a deceased person? If the name you want to use is a deceased family member's name, do we ask his next of kin for approval? Do we say nothing? Is it assumed that people who wish to use someone's name when naming their child should seek permission (whether the person is living or dead)?
Obviously, some people will use the name regardless of being granted a blessing or not, but I'm wondering what is appropriate in this situation. -- PREGNANT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR PREGNANT: In the Jewish faith, it is traditional for a baby to be named for a deceased parent or grandparent -- or at least given a name with the same first initial. However, if the person who died was a child of a close relative, I can see how that could be very painful for the parents who lost their child.
The appropriate thing to do would be to first have a conversation with the surviving family member(s) to be sure it will be considered the honor it is intended to be and not open fresh wounds. If it would cause pain, perhaps the expectant parents should consider making the name of the deceased their baby's middle name instead of first name.