Thursday, April 03, 2008

Who is Maya Named For?

People are already asking how we came up with Maya's names, so here's a little info to chew on...

Though I am firmly atheist, or what Richard Dawkins would call a "strong atheist" denying the existence of any god or gods, and Steph is agnostic, we both enjoy the cultural traditions of Judaism. We wish to raise Maya in a home with respect for our cultural traditions.

These bullet points from Wikipedia on Humanistic Judaism represent our views quite well:
  • People possess the power and responsibility to shape their own lives independent of supernatural authority;
  • Ethics and morality should serve human needs, and choices should be based upon consideration of the consequences of actions rather than pre-ordained rules or commandments; and,
  • Jewish history, like all history, is a purely human and natural phenomenon. Biblical and other traditional texts are the products of human activity and are best understood through archaeology and other scientific analysis.
In the cultural traditions of Ashkenazi Jews parents name their children after deceased relatives. However, we do not reuse the name of that relative, only the first initial. Following this tradition, we have named Maya after a few prominent people in our lives:

Maya is for Steph's father, Mitchell Levine. As you may recall from our first Hike For Discovery, we hiked in honor of Steph's dad who lost his battle with myeloma in November, 1995. Maya has a number of different meanings, the one I like best was provided by one of my coworkers. In Hindu culture, Maya means "ultimate truth". Simone is for my maternal grandparents, Sue and Samuel Jacobs, and Steph's maternal grandmother Sadie Buchman. Simone comes from the Hebrew word for "loud". We are already seeing her live up to that name!

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