Sunday, October 28, 2007

What's in a Name? Would a Rose by any other name really smell as sweet?

In my readings so far on Jewish culture, I'm finding that they place a significance on names. There's a belief that your name can influence your destiny, so parents (and converts) should choose wisely. There's a tradition toward naming children after relatives, either living or dead, depending on whether one is Sephardic or Ashkanazic.

Interestingly, these are also values that my mother shares.

My middle name is a very strong family name, on both my mom's and my dad's side. It was my paternal grandmother's real first name, and it was my maternal grandmother's original middle name. It was also my maternal great-grandmother's name.

As for my first name, it has the same meaning as my father's: Victory.
This gets interesting, because my mom told me that she originally chose it because she thought it was pretty and didn't know the meaning behind it. It gets really interesting when you consider that she's one of the most competitive women in the entire world, and the names of her husband and oldest daughter reflect her love of winning.

The reason I'm writing this is because she just sent me a card. I've been having a difficult time with people at work, and she wanted to encourage me. She chose to do so by writing out the meanings of my names and telling me that she's "just learned that we are to walk in our name sake." Then she writes that my first name is victory and courage, and my middle name is noble and kind, and that I should just be who I am, and everything will be okay.

I don't think she even knows how Jewish that card is. I wouldn't have known until recently. This just might be easier and more organic than I thought.

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