Volume 1, Issue 1, 5767


The Surprising Power of Jewish Names
When it comes to choosing names, Judaism offers several customs. Ashkenazim (Jews of Central and Eastern European origin) typically name the child after a family member who recently died. Sephardim (Jews of Iberian or Middle-Eastern origin) usually name the child after a grandparent, living or dead, often tightening ties between grandparents and their grandchildren. Many Jewish parents in the U.S. give their child a secular name and a Hebrew name, which might be a relative, biblical reference, or Hebrew word they hope to attribute to their child.
For this first issue of 614, we decided to focus on the intriguing idea that “One’s name has an influence on one’s life” (Berachot 7b). Can it be that our name actually influences our life journey? Read on.
Enjoy the issue, and let us know what you think.
Michelle Cove, Editor, mcove@brandeis.edu

In This Issue

  • Inside 614 Michelle Cove

    By Michelle Cove, Editor of 614 Juliet made the astute comment in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Using that same logic, a new ezine with engaging content should not be reliant on a hip name. But that doesn’t mean the name shouldn’t be insightful—and that we ...

  • Are You Your Name? author_blech

    A look at whether our names are chosen at random or whether there may be divine intervention behind them. by Rabbi Benjamin and Elaine Blech Editor’s note: Our souls and our names are very much intertwined, according to Rabbi Benjamin Blech, author of Your Name is Your Blessing: Hebrew Names and Their Mystical Meanings. After all, ...

  • My Journey Back to Leah

    Why Elizabeth Mark gave herself three Hebrew names to honor the personal transitions in her life.

  • My Life as a Shulamit author_s_reinharz

    by Shulamit Reinharz My grandparents’ names were Heinrich and Karl, Henrietta, Tekla and Teresa. One of my great-grandmother’s names was Hedwig. They were all German Jews, as are my parents–Max and Ilse–who also grew up in Germany. But my name is nothing like theirs. Nor am I called “Vanda” or “Helga,” typical Dutch female names, in ...

  • Each of Us Has a Name author_m_falk

    The poem by Zelda, translated by Marcia Falk.

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