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Choosing Judaism

For many converts, one of the most emotional parts of the conversion process is choosing a Hebrew name.

Adopting a new name is symbolic of a convert’s new Jewish identity. Names are simultaneously signifiers and storytellers. They connect us to our past and represent ideals for the future. Your Hebrew name is the name by which you will be called to the Torah and identified in Jewish documents.

Choosing a name can be a challenge, but there are some tried and true approaches that can help.

Jewish Star

Choosing a new name does not represent a wholesale rejection of one’s given name or prior identity. For Sooji Min-Maranda, adopting a Hebrew name added a new layer on top of her Korean identity.

This line from the biblical Book of Samuel reflects an idea evident throughout Jewish texts, that a person’s name is a reflection of their character. Choosing a name is thus a matter of cosmic significance.

There is one one naming convention that all Jews-by-choice share: When they are called to the Torah, the common practice is to identify them as sons of Abraham or daughters of Sarah.


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