What symbol should Noahides use on tombstones?

Ask Noah forwarded this question to our friend Rabbi Shimon Cowen in Australia. Here is the unresearched, spontaneous response he sent back. Obviously this is his personal opinion on a non-binding issue:

Headstones of the graves of deceased persons in our community have no religious symbols at all. I don’t see a requirement for them. Certainly I would, however, avoid symbols associated with other [non-Torah] religions (not that we are going to say that these are all forbidden), but since the questioner has advanced in his or her Noahidism, it would in my view be appropriate to use none of those symbols, since in their raw form they do not have the purity of connotation which is suitable for a Noahide who has studied and knows exactly what Torah requires of him or her.

As for using the symbol of an ark or something like that, it might be fine, though that symbol has not yet been established as the symbol of Noahidism. So perhaps the best thing might be to use words, such as “so and so, devoted to the ideals of the righteous of the nations…”

A note from the Director of Ask Noah:

There are many cemeteries, especially the more modern ones, that make it a policy to have only simple headstones, without statues, etc., which may be an important preference for many Noahides. One option would be to have the person’s name on the tombstone, followed by “ben Noach” (for a male) or “bat Noach” (for a female). Or it could be “bas Noach” for a female, depending on the person’s preference for pronunciation of the Hebrew phrase.

Share