Friday, March 15, 2013

What's in a name?

So, first for this to all make sense I suppose I should's a girl!! Yay for no circumcision fights!

But of course things are never simple. I called my dad to tell him it was a girl (and also because i had to ask a tax question). I also sent him and my mom the latest ultrasound pictures by email...still radio silence from my mom (haven't talked to her since I told her I was pregnant in December) but that's something to angst about another day.

When I told my dad we are having a girl, he immediately asked if I would consider naming her after my dead grandmother - his mother - the one whose funeral inspired me to start this blog back in 2007 when my dad used the eulogy to go on about how he has to make sure to pass on judaism to his kids.

I had actually been considering naming her after my grandmother already. Only I don't really like her name - her English name (Which she went by) was "Lola" which is a little too "she walks like a woman but talks like a man" for me, and her hebrew name was "Liba" which I like even less. So B and I had been considering basically every name that has two L's in it. In the end we decided the one we like best is "Lilith"- it has sort of a feminist connotation (yes I know there is no evidence for the "Lilith being the first wife of Adam" story before the 1300s or so) and I like the sound of the name and best of all, it doesn't end with an "A" like most other double-L names, since her last name will start with an "A" and neither of us like names that run into each other like that.

Anyway we hadn't told this to my dad, but today he sent me this email:
Hi Abandoning Eden,
Hope you are feeling well and that the pregnancy is proceeding well too.
After our last conversation I was thinking further about the Jewish name idea and thought I would pass this along for your consideration. Having a Jewish name, and specifically naming after Savta, is something that would be meaningful to me. It would help memorialize her life. On the other hand, I realize that Lola, Liba, Ahuva or other derivatives of Savta's name may not be fashionable for a girl's name these days or may not be what you had in mind. So, how is this for a proposal? Why don't you name your future little girl whatever you and B would like to name her with. I could go to my local Rabbi, and, with your permission and in a private ceremony, he could perform the prayer that confers a Jewish name for her, specifically, "Liba," Savta's Jewish name. No one would ever have to necessarily refer to her by that name on a regular basis. It is common in secular circles for children to have a separate Jewish name but not use it.
If it is all the same to you, this would make everyone happy.
Please let me know what you think. Thanks.
All the best,
This is what I'm thinking of writing back:

Hi Abba,

We actually have considered a lot of different names that sound like Lola, and are thinking we will give her a middle name of Lilith which is the one we liked the best (we don't want any name that ends with an "A" because her last name will start with an "A").

I really don't feel comfortable with you having some private religious ceremony on her behalf and giving her a jewish name. First of all, it would be similar to B's mom having a private ceremony with her catholic priest and naming her "Christina" or some other christian name, I wouldn't feel comfortable with that and I would worry that this would create inroads for her to try to convert my daughter to Catholicism later on. Second of all, I hate the name Liba more than the name Lola- no offense, but it reminds me of the word "Labia" which is just weird.

Of course you can do whatever you want without telling me about it, but I would rather you didn't. I remember you and mom saying that when I was born people wanted me named after some dead relatives, but you decided to go with the name that you wanted to name me. Please respect my purview as a parent to name my own daughter.

Abandoning Eden