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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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A Soldier’s Daughter

Months ago, Elie and Lauren asked us for names of relatives.
shoah children

Others say that while the idea of not naming a child after someone who died young may apply to someone who died of an illness, it does not apply to those who were murdered – b’Kiddush HaShem – in the sanctification of God’s name, those who were the innocents, murdered simply for being Jews.

We didn’t give Amira the name Gavriella; and by the time Aliza was born…my mother-in-law had passed away and so we gave our baby the name of her grandmother, leaving Gavriella without a namesake, leaving her behind. She has haunted me for so long.

I gave Elie and Lauren several names – a beloved aunt who recently passed away (whose daughter-in-law is expecting and has already promised to give her baby my aunt’s name); a few other names we thought of, some we know in English but not in Hebrew. The choice had to be theirs – their baby…but I hoped…

Elie and Lauren gave their daughter two names – one for her grandfather (but I won’t post the name here without their permission), and one for Gavriella. The custom to give a child the name of someone who has passed away (or was taken too early) means the name lives on and, to some extent, the person as well. It means pulling that person with us into the next generation, ensuring that they are not forgotten.

The thought that Gavriella’s name would disappear in the family has haunted me for a long time and I feel such peace in knowing that her name will now be carried into the future – and more, it will be carried here in Israel, a place she never lived to see.

May God bless Elie and Lauren’s daughter – may she grow in love and health in the sunshine of our land. Somewhere in the heavens, Gavriella is smiling down on this little baby and though she was not given the chance to live to adulthood, to grow and have children, this little girl will stand for her. The Nazis are gone, but Gavriella’s memory lives on.

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