Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Eight Letters, Four Syllables, and Lots of Pride

Lady: Hi. What's your name?
Me: Elisheva
Lady: What was that?
Me: Elisheva
Lady: But what do people call you?
Me: Umm, Elisheva
Lady: But don't you have a shorter name?
Me: Noooo
Lady: But your name is so long!

Since when was eight letters and four syllables so long, lady?

That said, I love my name. And I love it even more in a secular setting where it's rare and unusual and slightly exotic. I like it because it automatically identifies me as Jewish and that's something I'm proud of, I like it because it makes me different.

I have spent a lot of time over the past two years trying to teach people how to pronounce my name - it's not that hard, people - but I really do love it, still.

At some point over the summer the concept of flipping out and changing to one's Hebrew name came up on my blog. I have no idea whether I would have at any point started going by my Hebrew name if I were Elizabeth to the world from birth. I think it's a really hard thing to do.

To re-identify yourself is a really brave thing. And maybe that's the point - just the re-identification, the acknowledgement that one is different is the motivation behind it.

But is it a bad thing to go by one's English name? I don't think so either. I think people choose to show their priorities in different ways, but that is not indicative of what their priorities are. Some of the holiest, shtarkest people I know go by their English names, and I know plenty of people who go by their Hebrew names who don't let what that means resonate.

Either way, I love my name because it reminds me every time someone uses it that I am a frum Jew and that that is my priority and that it is something I am proud of, something I do not feel a need to hide. It must mean so much more to the people who choose to use their Hebrew names later in life.


At 9/14/05, 6:29 PM, Blogger Nephtuli said...

I had a really tough time trying to get a girl in my crim pro class to figure out my name. She asked to spell it, which if you see the ridiculous spelling I use, isn't much of a help. After help from a friend and phonetic spelling, she got it.

We Jews and out crazy names.

At 9/15/05, 10:08 AM, Blogger Nisht-Gevissen said...

Uncle Moishy songe weaving through head...

At 9/15/05, 11:11 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Which song?

At 9/15/05, 11:19 AM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

Mine is sharona malka. I usually go by my eng. name suzy, but I like my hebrew name more.

At 9/15/05, 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a partner at a big ny law firm with the name elisheva. don't worry about it.

At 9/18/05, 9:20 PM, Blogger Robbie said...


so after your comment on my blog, I decided to see what you're about - I like to know all I can before I make my decisions.

So you're right, I don't agree with everything you say - although I can understand most of it. But here's the question I have for you: You say you're a Liberal (which, by the way, I think is fantastic), but from the posts I've read (I went back through July, skimming), nothing you've said gives me that impression.

To quench my curiousity, how do you define your Liberalism. It's clearly not in interpretation of the Torah, and it seems that it's not in the traditional Liberal values, either (pro-choice, etc.)


At 9/19/05, 10:00 AM, Blogger Nisht-Gevissen said...

About a lovely Jewish name..and if you tell me yours I will do the same...

At 9/19/05, 10:24 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Robbie - I'm not ignoring your comment, it just might take me a lil to get to it, just letting you know...


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