Written by Alissa Haroush of Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula
What’s in a name? Such an easy title, such a complex idea!
Hebrew Name Necklace by Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula.
We all need to be called something, we all have a name. When my son says to me, “that boy with long hair,” I always answer back, “that kid’s mom didn’t name him the boy with the long hair.” We all have a name. So, where do they come from? Sure, we can choose a name off the top 100 baby name list, but that isn’t all that is involved when you give someone an identity. History and thought goes into that name as well.
JEWISH NAMING TRADITIONS
When my three kids were born, we decided that the first letter of their names would be the same as a loved one. My relatives came from Russia, making us Ashkenazic so this was in line with our tradition. I was told that it is a way of keeping their memory alive, that their soul is still with us. My Sephardic-Israeli husband said in his culture they name in honor of a loved one, usually a grandparent. Each choice is wrapped around tradition, even if we aren’t 100% aware of it.
Why tradition? Jewish people living in non-Jewish lands need a Hebrew name, a name that is preferably easy to pronounce. That is the way it’s always has been, but did you know that in the 12th century the Rabbis actually passed a Rabbinical ruling requiring Jews to have a Hebrew name? Some parents have gone the route, like I did, and chosen names that work in English and Hebrew, like Adam or Sarah. Others use the first letter to match up, like Nechama and Nikki. In other cases the Hebrew and secular names have no connection at all. But still, Jewish tradition is there in that name.
JEWELRY THAT HONORS NAMING TRADITIONS
All in all, maintaining tradition and learning about the history of our ancestors is what keeps Judaism alive. The life cycle event which starts at birth with the naming of a child continues to the next event, their Bat/Bar Mitzvah and eventually to marriage – all falling back on tradition. The entire history of the Jewish people is recreated and continued in a simple thing – a name.
Single Letter Initial Necklace by Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula.
A wonderful gift, tying in tradition and celebration, is a piece of jewelry featuring one’s Hebrew name. Choose a Hebrew font, perhaps with a date to remember the occasion. Alternatively, you can order the Hebrew name in an English font. The choice is yours – what matters is continuing tradition, celebrating life cycle events, and taking pride in your heritage.
Special thanks to Alissa and Paula of Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula
View more Bar & Bat Mitzvah Gift Ideas.
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