An unusual ad appeared last week in haredi newspaper Yated Ne'eman. "A prominent family is interested in naming its baby after a good person, for a fee," the ad read. It was followed by a phone number in the central city of Bnei Brak.
The woman who answered the phone told us she had published the ad for her neighbors.
The surprising notice conceals an interesting story: A well-known Bnei Brak family facing financial difficulties has decided to have its newest member help pay its debts – even before his birth. The mother is expected to give birth in the coming weeks, and in the meantime has issued a bid for her son's given name.
Many families name their newborn after a deceased person. In addition to the nice gesture, some believe the child may preserve the late person's good traits.
The haredi family decided to allow wealthy but childless people to commemorate their loved ones through its son.
"We are willing to name the baby after a person for a respectable fee, after checking who that person was of course," explained the woman who published the ad. "The deceased must be a good person whose family has no one to name after him.
As for the requested price, the woman responded: "I don't know, whatever they offer. There are wealthy families who are willing to pay." The starting price was believed to be thousands of shekels.
The baby will be joining three siblings whose names were given in the conventional way. The neighbor, like a good mediator, explained that "this is a family of righteous people, a very good family with some debts."
It appears that the highest bid has already been offered: When we called the number appearing on the ad once again, we were told: "It's no longer relevant. A name has been found for the baby."