Before I was born, both my Hebrew name and my English name were chosen. As my parents told me, they spent six months trying to decide on my English name, while my Hebrew name took less than a minute. There was no hesitation or back and forth, they spoke my name and that was it. My Hebrew name is Bracha Havah, Blessed Mother of all earth. I love my Hebrew name- especially the Blessing part- but recently realized what an important name it is. Blessed Mother of all earth is not like my sister’s Blossoming Rose or my brother’s my father’s heel. Mine is a name with responsibility.
What are some of my present responsibilities? To be a role model for my siblings and my friends in how to treat others, to perform acts of loving kindness, to reach out to others and be a support, and most of all to be a Jew who does Jewish things. As a fifth grader, it is difficult to respond to what my name demands. I go to religious school and celebrate all the major holidays with my extended family.
When I become an adult, I feel that I will have to live my name. I could become a Rabbi like my Mom or a Cantor because I sing well or even the president, responsible to keeping the world at peace.
I name other people’s babies for a living. Seriously. And naming other people’s children is a long process. I speak with the parents and ask them to tell me whom the newborn is named for and what important qualities the ancestor possessed to be a legacy for this infant. I question the parents about the pregnancy and what attributes little Joey possesses. Together the parents and I we create a list of possible names and their translations. Most families cannot choose a name until the Baby naming ceremony.
I always find it interesting that parents spend an inordinate time on giving their child a perfect Hebrew name. Shoshannah Chamudah- special Rose will carry her name through religious school, when she becomes a Bat Mitzvah, at her Confirmation, her marriage, and attached to the name of her own children. Her name will be engraved in the marble that will serve as her matzevah… grave marker and, I pray, that her name will become a legacy for generations to come.
Bailey, the first time that I read your statement I was awed. I never realized how you took on your Hebrew name and cloaked yourself in its meaning. Bail- Daddy and I are so proud of you and the way you interact with the world. Bailey you have already demonstrated that you are a caring, sensitive, loving soul. More than any obligation, Daddy and I want you to be fully and truly you. Whatever you go out and do in the world will make us proud. Bailey, Bracha Chava does not demand anything more than who you already are. And you are loved and respected not for your name rather for your actions. I am so honored and blessed to be your Mommy.