Today we were privileged to name our daughter. Heres the PDF of the ceremony and below is an explanation for her name:
Ashira: Arya Na’ama- your first name Arya is Babylonian Aramaic for lion, אריא. In English we are spelling it A.R.Y.A. There are so many reasons why we picked this name for you. First of all, you’re named for your great grandfather Leonard Konigsburg. Leonard means lionhearted and his hebrew name אליעזר starts with aleph hence אריא. Your great grandfather, my sabba would have loved so much to have been able to meet you. Unfortunately he died the year your abba and I got engaged, 11 years ago. Even so, we still feel the strong impact he had on our family.
Leonard was married to my savta, Shirley, for 66 years. I can only hope that as you grow, you find someone to share that kind of love with. Family was of central importance to my sabba and he was patriarch of quite a large clan including 9 grandchildren and now 8 great grandchildren. He was known for wearing bow-ties and for his soft-spoken humor. I have fond memories of him walking us out after a visit and pretending to push the car as we would back out of the parking lot. Aside from fierce love of family, Leonard was also known for his integrity, honesty, and community mindedness all qualities that we hope you will inherit.
The Talmud calls the smartest scholars lions, lions of Torah. Arya, we hope you master the pursuits you take on, and that you commit to passing on your knowledge to others.
We also chose אריא because lions are fierce. We are acutely aware that the world that we have brought you into is far from how we think it should be, and things in this country are moving in a disturbing direction right now. We aspire for you to fiercely hold on to your values come what may, and to pursue justice and equity for everyone with the ferocity required.
Tim: And your middle name, Na’ama, is from a root meaning pleasant. In English we’re spelling it N.A.’A.M.A. This name is for your great-grandmother Norma Bernard, my dad’s mother, whose Hebrew name was נעמי, from the same root. At the end of her life in 2010, Grandma Norma asked us that we name our first child after her Hebrew name, and today we fulfill that request through you.
I remember Grandma Norma as a reliable and reassuring presence when I was young, showing her love for her family through cooking delicious shabbat dinners and unnecessarily elaborate Yom Kippur break fasts. She was pretty unflappable, even when Grandpa Sidney broke his hip in the first few minutes of their vacation in Italy, she made the best of her bits of Italian language and navigated the Italian medical bureaucracy — no simple feat!
We hope that you will inherit the love for entertaining family and the steadfastness that made Grandma Norma so special.
The root of your middle name most famously appears in the Bible in the book of Proverbs:
דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נֹעַם וְכָל נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם
Your ways are ways of pleasantness and all your paths are peace.
This is traditionally understood as referring to Torah, and it means that following the Torah’s path should never feel like a chore: a life of Torah is meant to be pleasant — and we hope that is what it will be for you and those around you..
The two parts of your name are intended to work together: We want you, Arya, our lion, to be a fierce advocate for yourself, for others, and for what you believe in. But we know that kind of commitment can take a toll. So, at the same time, we want you to always be living a life that is pleasant: satisfying and enjoyable, both for you, and for those who will accompany you on your way.