What’s in a name?
Avigayl Miriam – that’s Abby’s Hebrew name. Ironically, she received it on Christmas Eve with all her grandparents, one aunt, one uncle, a niece and a nephew present.
I converted several years ago and got to choose my own name – Koranit. There are a few meanings, but the one I like the best was that it meant “thistle,” which is the national flower of Scotland. After the mikvah which designated my official conversion, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful thistle pin. At Abby’s ceremony, they read the parents’ Hebrew names (mine and Ian’s) and everyone kept trying to call me Rivka, which is the Hebrew version of Rebecca. Also interesting, was the oh-so-subtle reaction when they read my name as Koranit bet Abraham and Sarah…. Abraham and Sarah being the default parent names if your own aren’t Jewish – a dead give away that I had converted.
What is also odd about out little family is that I also kept my own last name when we got married. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ian’s, but I’m a McKenzie. If I changed my name it felt like I was changing who I am. There wasn’t really a good way to go about explaining this to Ian. He didn’t press the matter because he’s smart, but I believe his mother has brought it up with him. With Abby coming into the picture, there was never a question about her last name – she took his. He has brought it up with me about changing my own, but it’s a really hard change to make. Credit cards, cars, tax information, work information, insurance – there are a billion people that you have to notify. Does it make me lazy? Maybe a little, but it’s not the main reason I kept it. Thinking of it as an old-fashioned way to declare the woman as property also isn’t the main reason. It’s just not me.
Will I ever take his? I don’t know. But I have the paperwork filled out and signed but not dated.