Giving Names


What I’ve observed lately is, that many people surprisingly carry very similiar names. Not that I haven’t known this before, it’s just that now I pay more attention to the importance of names. And what do I see?

People are being randomly named. The criteria for namig one’s babies are often quite trivial. Very often the most persuading reason for a mum or a dad to name their childern XYZ is cause they themselves like the name.

Now, it’s not that one should feel uncomfortable with his child’s name, never!

The question is whether this should be the only criteria.

Haven’t this occured to you at least once in your life that a person’s name seemed unfitting or even senseless to you? Lately, my friend who’d been named the same as hundreds of thousands of other girls in the same city and having as at least 5 of her friends being called the same, told me that this name (Anya) is not a name but rather a collective term.

Which is a remarkable statement – remarkably sad.

I feel there is an inflation of  names taking place, hand in hand with an inflation of meaning. Names, for example in Judaism, are supposed to be reflections of a person’s being, “summarising” the personality of someone in a word. Hebrew, the Jewish language, is a very compressed and accurate language. If you name a person in Hebrew, it doesn’t go after how lovely or strong the syllables sound. The name says its meaning out loud without compromise. And since its meaning is compressed in it, you can have various persons with the same name and still they would all be individual.

In an “inflation of names”, the individuality and importance of the person carrying the name becomes absolete. A carelessly given name implifies the carelessness for a person’s being. 

It happens when parents, giving names to their children, rather focus on their own taste, therefore “directing” their intentions towards themselves and not towards the child and its future being.

No doubt, this also happens with Hebrew names in our time when a certain name trend overthrows traditional ways of name-giving. Shortcuts,  senseless variations and unisex names all diminish the meaningfulness of a name. Yet still, in the most cases, Hebrew names more than others have retained their original meanings while names in other languages and cultures have often lost  or forgotten theirs by now.



Ooh, ooh ooh ooh!


Dear all, hi!

In a few lines a smaller than small nutshell I’d like to sum up my Am Echad Machane (“Camp”) experience until tonight:


– One of the best and most integrative leaders of the camp ever. Our co-rosh.

– Girl in my group has never heard of  the Holo.caust (remember, it’s a Jewish camp!)!! Shock!!!

– Breakdancing girls and mama-playing toddlers

– Daylong raiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.i.i.i.i.iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.i.i.i………….ii.i.i.i.IIIIIIIIIIn!

– Big babies and little grandmums and granddads

– Chilling security guards with (almost) no Hebrew accent – DELIGHT!

Well, I’m neither American nor charedi no Am-Echadish nor loving rain and cold nor can I breakdance….but

…it’s kinda nice…:

Give me freeeeedom, give me fiiiiii-re, give me REASON, take me higha….


Singing forever young, singing songs underneath the sun

Lets rejoice in the beautifull game.

And togheter at the end of the day –


When I get older I will be stronger

They’ll call me freedom

Just like a wavin’ flag

And then it goes back
And then it goes back
And then it goes back!!



LIMMUD 2010 @ Berlin: Learning to appreciate


LIMMUD – Learning to appreciate, appreciating to learn
Another Limmud festival took place in Berlin at the Lake of Werbellin from May 13 to May 16, 2010, in a peaceful and inspirational, yet not quiet atmosphere. How can it be quiet when hundreds of Jews are hoarded together and supposed to try their argumentational talents, learning and teaching skills on other Jews?…
It’s a small tradition for Germany’s Jewry which has started a couple of years ago. The first festival took place in 2006 and since then it has spread over Germany’s metropoles  -Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich. Limmud’s home for major events is and remains Berlin.
Let’s talk tacheles. Besides the nature, the bright green leaves of the high trees all around the camp, the big windy lake of Werbellin and the hundreds of Jewish participants from all four corners of Germany (are there such?…):
What were you supposed to receive from this festival of Jewish Learning and Jewish thought?
Definitely a taste of diversity. Religious streams of all kinds were represented my workshop leaders and participants. Languages being spoken and switched in a naturally beautiful manner from workshop to person every day anew. Meetings with people from all kind of origins, social fields of profession and education. The director of Simon Wiesenthal  Center Efraim Zuroff was seen in a number of workshops and prayer services; Barbara Spectre of Paideia (Sweden) switched from participant to teacher roles within a couple of hours; rabbis could be found at each possible corner; writers and musicians mixed with worried “Yiddishe mamas”, grandmas and a number of children were waiting impatiently in front of the dining room…
What else: enough room for activity and new things to learn: A literature discussion on Yehuda Amichai’s poetry, on Thomas Mann’s attitude towards Jews, John Lennon and Jewish liturgy, Israeli culture and Iranian Jews, spiritual and down-to-earth exercises, rabbis, philosophers and – why not – donkeys – all this and much more musicality, creativity and visuality had its place at Limmud.
Strengthening of identity. Obviously. The spirit of modern Jewishness was hovering over the camp. To say it more simply, I believe that each Jew could really. find his/her place in Limmud. You don’t need to demand for high challenges or Talmudic-Yeshivish upgrade of knowledge to experience Jewishness.

And as a conclusion from that all:
You were made to appreciate the subjects around you and your own way of learning and understanding. This time I had to share this experience with people being mostly older than me by a cuple of decades. Next time I wish to experience it with more younger people, simply because they have a whole life of learning in front of them and I believe  we need more security in ourselves and what we learn and understand. This is what Limmud gives to its participants as well.
This all wouldn’t be possible without organisatory and logistical help.

Thank you, Limmud team, for the variety of workshops: You’ve provided the food for our souls and haven’t let us run dry.
For your service, catering etc.: I felt as if in a hotel. I believe you were spoiling us who we came to Limmud.
For your organisation: You’ve proven to me that not all hope is lost when it comes to Jews organising mass events. Everything well-planned so that one culd really relax and enoy.
Thank you for spending your time and power on this great event.
Much gratitude and wishes of strength and inspiration to Toby Axelrod, the initiator of Limmud. May your creativity be like a “ma’ayan hamitgaber” to you and us now and in future.

Perhaps I’m only an optimist, but I’m sure not to be the only one:
I believe that our job, the Jewish and the human one, is to find the blessing in each event we take part in.
Limmud in my eyes is about to learn to appreciate.



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