Rav Chaim: Sefardi May Change Name to Ashkenazi for School Acceptance

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In honor of his wedding earlier this week, Yaakov Cohen, a devoted gabbai of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, published a sefer called “Peninei Siach,” containing responses from Rav Chaim to questions on various issues. Among the questions asked was whether it is permissible for a Sefardi to change his name to an Ashkenazi name for the sake of chinuch.

Rav Chaim was asked: “A man’s last name is a Sefardi one and, therefore, the director of the local cheder would not accept the man’s sons into his school. The man knows that if he changes his name to an Ashkenazi surname, the cheder would likely take him in. Is this considered deceiving the school?” Rav Chaim replied: “It’s not cheating. The main thing is for the child to be accepted into the cheder.”

The sefer contains hundreds of shailos uteshuvos written over the years by the chosson, who married a daughter of Rav Yitzchok Viesel.

David Steger – Matzav.com Israel


  1. While i understand the psak, what parent would want their children go to a school that treats people like garbage just because of their last name. For ur child sake give him a proper chnich by signing him up in a yeshiva where they turn less the thumb but are at least real mentches!

  2. No wonder we are in golus. A better shaila would have been if it is all together permissible to patronize a school that spreads sinas chinom towards a part of our nation who just happened to be exiled into a different geographical location.

  3. Sad beyond words that such a shaila needs to be asked and answered.
    Chaval upon us if we treat a fellow yid with one iota less of derech eretz because of their heritage.


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