Commonly abbreviated z"l, Zichrona L'vracha, Hebrew for "May his/her memory be a blessing" (also translated Of Blessed Memory) is often placed after the name of a deceased Jewish person.

There are a number of reasons that Jews do this.

  • We want people to know that they're dead, so people don't go asking, "So how's Dan?" when Dan is unfortunately dead.
  • Blessing the person. We hope that by blessing them on mention, they will either be moved more swiftly to Heaven (if they aren't there yet, in Gehenna), and also bless their memory so that we will remember them and ther effect on our lives for a long time.
  • There could be an aspect to it related to the fact that often Jews want to constantly "guard against", in a sense, bad things happening. This is why Jews often say "If -- Gd forbid -- the house burned down, we wouldn't have enough money to support ourselves because we don't have fire insurance" because if, Gd forbid, it did come true, we wouldn't want to feel that we brought it on by mentioning it. So by saying Zichrona L'vracha, we guard against forgetting about the person, which is the ultimate death because even after someone passes away, we can still remember them and who they were.

Because this is Hebrew, and therefore "Zichrona L'vracha" is a transliteration. There are other ways to write this. They include:

  • Zichrona Levracha
  • Zichrona Lavrocho
  • Zichrono Livracho
  • And many more. Generally, transliterations from Hebrew depend greatly upon your accent, which has to do with whether you are Ashkenazi or Sephardi, what kind of an indigenous accent there is in the place you currently live, and other variables.