idc4u: lifecycle and mitzvot, taught by on-site principal yehudis cagen at the promenade, provides students with a better of understanding of jewish ethics, traditions, and mitzvot across the lifecycle and their relevancy to a young adult’s day-to-day life.
The lesson below highlights the importance of
The IDC4U students have been learning about the significance and importance of a Hebrew name in their Jewish Life Cycle unit. The students were tasked with the responsibility of researching the background of their Hebrew name, and creating an original collage to present to their peers. Students researched:
-The meaning of their Hebrew name, including any personality traits that goes along with it.
-The gematria (symbolic numerical value) of their Hebrew name.
-The history behind their name, and whether they were named after someone with that name.
-Any other famous Jews who shared their name (whether from or Torah or modern history).
The collages were designed beautifully and presented with enthusiasm. For most of the students this was the first time learning about the history behind their Hebrew name. We ended off our weekly class discussing the concept of how our Hebrew names tie directly into our Jewish identity.
the power of a jewish name
According to Judaism, naming a child is one of the most important decisions new parents make. The Talmud (Berachot 7b) teaches that a Hebrew name has an influence on its bearer. Hence, it is extremely important to name your children after individuals with positive character traits who have led fortunate lives and have helped bring goodness to the world.
One of the founders of Chassidut in Galicia, Poland, Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzhansk, writes that there is a profound connection between the soul of an infant and the soul of the person for whom he or she is named. When a child is named after the deceased, the latter’s soul is elevated to a higher realm in heaven and a spiritual affinity is created between the soul of the departed and the soul of the newborn child. That deep spiritual bond between these two souls can have a profound impact on the child.
Some parents choose a child’s name based on the Jewish holiday coinciding with the birth. For example, a baby born close to Purim time might be named Esther or Mordechai, and a girl born on Shavuot might be named Ruth. Esther, the hero of the Purim story, is a name which comes from the word “hidden.” Esther was known to be a very beautiful woman (she was chosen to be queen), but whatever her external appearances, her hidden internal qualities were even more beautiful. Another example is the popular name “Ari,” Hebrew for lion. In Jewish literature, the lion is a symbol of a go-getter, someone who sees the opportunity to do a mitzvah, and pounces on it.
Of course, there are bad names, too. You won’t want to choose the name “Nimrod,” since the very name means “rebellion.” And in biblical times, the ruler Nimrod threw Abraham into a fiery furnace as an act of rebellion against God.