Z”L after a person’s name means that that person is dead. It is an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase Zichrono livracha. [Of Blessed Memory.] The feminine form is zichronah livracha. The correct way to pronounce the abbreviation is “zahl.”

Jews love acronyms. If there is a phrase that takes a long time to write, why not just abbreviate it it? Added bonus: that way you don’t have to spell it! And if you put a vowel or two back in there, you can make it into an acronym!

When a word in Hebrew is abbreviated, there’s a little sign put into the letters that remain to clue you in to what’s going on. It looks like a lone quotation mark and most people refer to it as a “choopchik.”

SO:

Z”L  = Zichrono  + choopchick + Livracha = Of Blessed Memory, or “ZAHL”

in Hebrew, it looks like this:

abbreviationzl

And for your further edification and amusement, here’s a list of other common Hebrew and Hebrew-ish acronyms.

 

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