So, I think I’m writing this for two different audiences. On one hand, I’ve told people who are close to me that I’m writing a blog and that they should refer to it when they want to know what I’m up to in Israel. On the other hand…well, I’m not in Israel yet, and I have some time on my hands, and I’d kind of like to join the Jewish blogosphere, so I guess I get to try to strike a balance as I introduce myself to new readers yet try not to bore my friends; as I speak of things familiar to an Orthodox Jew such as myself but refrain from using “yeshivish” vocabulary out of respect for my largely non-Orthodox family. And I’m also trying to maintain some degree of privacy/anonymity, but would like my story (which I think is quite interesting) to be seen as credible…perhaps I am trying to please too many audiences. But…with that disclaimer in mind, I will go on to the actual point of this post.
There was a comment on my last post that referenced the meaning of my name. Actually, I chose my own Hebrew name (something you can get away with doing when not all of your family practices Judaism ;-)), and I picked my great-grandmother’s name, who as far as I knew hadn’t been named after (to be fair, there were a lot of boys in the family). “Grandma Bessie,” as she was known, had always been fascinating to me–I never merited to meet her, but my dad spoke fondly about how she’d come to America as a young woman, never lost her thick Yiddish accent, her cooking was like a taste of the Old World, and she was among the last members of the family to remain shomer Shabbos. So, when I started getting into Orthodoxy, Grandma Bessie was one of my role models, and I did some research to figure out what her name was, since I wanted so much to emulate her. She was Chana Basha, say the records, or maybe Basya (I can’t find it written in Hebrew anywhere), so I just sorta modernized it to Batya (the same name but pronounced with a different Hebrew accent), and decided the combination was a beautiful name. They both have religious significance too: In the Bible, Chana (Hannah in English) was the mother of the prophet Samuel, and one of the seven female prophets, and the person who is said to have created what Jews now follow as the model for how they should pray. Her name means “grace.” Batya was Pharaoh’s daughter, who rescued Moses from the water when he was a baby and raised him as her own. G-d said to her something along the lines of, “since you called him your son, I will call you My daughter,” and Batya therefore means “daughter of G-d.” She is said to be one of the seven people who went up to heaven while still alive. Hooray for strong and beautiful role models, both Biblical and familial. 🙂
It’s not been long since I’ve started going by this Hebrew name exclusively (where appropriate of course, as I haven’t yet legally changed my name, nor will I dishonor my parents by making them call me something new), so I thought those who might be puzzled as to why I’m suddenly going by a different name might like to hear my reasoning behind it.
Also, I’ve got some free time (as mentioned in the beginning of this post), so expect a lot of eclectic posts in the near future. Suggestions of topics are welcome! I’m basically just trying to help my readers get to know me.