This past week we have been talking about names. It started with a conversation from a wonderful PJ Library book, My Name is Aviva by Leslea Newman.
Aviva is teased about her name and wants to change it. Her mother agrees to call her Emily but then as the day goes on, she tells story after story about Grandma Ada. She learns why her name was chosen and we also learn about Jewish naming customs — of course, at the end Emily chooses to be Aviva.
After reading the story, I gave all the children the homework assignment of finding out about their names. Hopefully, we will be hearing many great stories!
Naming customs differ even among Jewish families but nothing is more special than your name and the story behind it. It often guides us, sets expectations and definitely shows love. If you have children, make sure that the favorite bedtime story is about their name and share your own story as well.
For many Jewish families, there is a story in their last names as well. Was it changed? Why? Today there are hyphenated last names and moms who keep their family name when they marry and so many variations. But one thing for sure is, there is always a story behind every name.
Here are the top baby names from 2015 — all babies and Jewish babies:
Boys: All — Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah; Jewish — Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Caleb
Girls: All — Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Mia; Jewish — Anna, Abigail, Hannah, Ava, Charlotte
Now, once you have shared your name story, make a family tree. Share the story of family history and you will have more than history — you are creating memory.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.