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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

O the Irony!

A Hebrew Name for Brooks

Last Sunday I presided over the bris of a baby who had been given the English name Brooks. His parents asked me if I have any recommendations for a Hebrew name, as they noted that one of the baby's grandfather's has the name Baruch.

I immediately thought of one of the great heroes of the Bible, who is actually mentioned in the Haftorah read the Shabbat of the bris - Barak ben Avinoam - ברק! (Judges, Chapters 4-5) I was not yet aware of the family's political leanings, and I told his mother that the name has been around a lot longer than it has been made famous by the current president.

The baby's mother said to me, "O dear God no. My father hates Obama, and that just won't be possible."

So they named him "Berel." Which is ironic, all things considered, because the President was known as Barry for most of his US formative years. Barry, of course, is a very common English diminutive for Berel.

I have met many Israeli "Barak"s – never been unimpressed. One of the great characters in Leon Uris' "Exodus" was named Barak. It's a great name.

Unless you don't like the President. O well.

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