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What is the Jewish Version of RIP?

April A to Z Challenge 2020: It’s that time of year! Every April, bloggers around the world make posts for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to make friends online. Here’s my post for today:

[The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy stuff after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.]

Po Nikbar is the Jewish version of RIP. photo (c) Tui Snider
Po Nikbar is the Jewish version of RIP. photo (c) Tui Snider

Jewish headstones are often engraved in Hebrew

Do Jewish tombstones use the acronym RIP? Short answer: Nope! RIP is a Latin acronym. And while it’s handy for historic cemetery explorers to learn the meaning of the common Latin phrases and acronyms, when you visit a Jewish cemetery you will see Hebrew letters engraved on the monuments.

(c) Tui Snider - pey & nun, Hebrew for "here lies."
(c) Tui Snider – pey & nun, Hebrew for “here lies.”

A Hebrew Acronym

I am not Jewish, but I have come to recognize the Hebrew letters “pey” and “nun.” As a tombstone acronym, these letters are an abbreviation for po nikbar, meaning “here lies.” You can see a close up example of this in the photo above.

Po Nikbar is the Jewish version of RIP. photo (c) Tui Snider
Po Nikbar is the Jewish version of RIP. photo (c) Tui Snider

Po Nikbar often appears at the top of Jewish headstones

Here’s another example of the Hebrew acronym for “here lies.” And if you’re wondering what those hands engraved at the top of the headstone mean and what connection they have to Spock, grab my free book and find out!

Learn more at my Historic Cemetery Podcast & YouTube Channel:

Do you have questions about headstone symbols? Drop by my YouTube channel and let me take you one some virtual cemetery tours! You can also tune in to my 30-minute historic cemetery podcast on the first Tuesday of each month: Tombstone Tuesday with Tui Snider.

READ MY BOOK: If you enjoy historic cemeteries and want to learn more, check out my book: Understanding Cemetery Symbols. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and ebook form.

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