Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Identity Crisis

I almost exclusively go by my Hebrew name, however I have an English legal name. This causes lots of problems in lots of different arenas for me. Today I went to the bank to deposit a check made out to my Hebrew name and they gave me some trouble about it. All ended well, but I wonder what the use of English names are in today's society.

I think the world (at least NY which is said world's center ;) is really open and accepting of people regardless of what their names are. I am well aware that that was not always the case and that I have much to be grateful for because I live in this day and age. But the fact remains that in my secular college, in my various work places, and in my student activities, I go by my Hebrew name and have never once had a problem. (Pronunciation is sometimes a botched, but other than that...)

So I can't figure out what the purpose of having an English name is. It causes me more problems than it's worth. If the Jews managed to keep their Hebrew names while enslaved in Egypt, is it so much to ask for us to do the same in the very liberal, accepting, and tolerant US?

6 Comments:

At 3/29/05, 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why don't you legally change your name to your Hebrew name? I have a very hard to pronounce Hebrew name, but what's the big deal if people have a hard time with it. Having just one name makes things simpler, besides for the fact that it shows your Jewish pride.

 
At 3/29/05, 5:14 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

I agree anonymous - people get over the pronunciation, and anyway I don't think I've ever once been called by my English name (outside of the bank). And I love going by my Hebrew name and one day I think I will get it legally changed (maybe when I legally change my last name ;)

Until then, I'll have to deal with these frustrations. But I will tell you that I don't understand why people do it to their kids in the first place. Sometimes I think parents just like to torture their kids...

 
At 3/29/05, 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, I don't understand why parents do it. My parents put both of my Hebrew names on my birth certificate, but I go by my middle Hebrew name. So my legal name, while it is a Jewish name, is not the name I go by. Don't understand why they did that. They obviously weren't planning on calling me by the first name, which is a very "ugly" name. argh...

 
At 3/29/05, 5:22 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Between English and Hebrew names, some of my sibs have a total of 6 names - that's pretty bad too!

I tell ya, sometimes I think parents forget what an influence they have on their children. From what they name their children to what they dress them in to what rules they set for them, parents have a HUGE effect on their kids - and they can do awesome things or terrible things. I think they sometimes get so caught and they lose sight of that and the children are the ones that suffer.

And suffer we do.

 
At 3/30/05, 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in the sciences pronouncing Hebrew names is nothing compared to some Asian names ...

Kochav

(this is obviously not my name but my Hebrew and English name is the same)

 
At 3/30/05, 9:33 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

I know, right? There are plenty of really strange names out there, yet a lot of Jews are not willing to use their Hebrew names in the secular world. Why?

 

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