I chose the name Miriam because she was a great prophetess whose keen insight helped save the Jewish people during a period of slavery, persecution and wandering. Miriam is known for her leadership, her love of song and dance, her desire to maintain unity, and her dedication to the Jewish people.
From Miriam, as with all the matriarchs and patriarchs, we learn that it’s not always possible to be perfect; we learn from her mistakes to be careful about how we speak and conduct ourselves. These are qualities I also strive to incorporate into my life.
What’s in a name? Everything! I love my name, I’m proud of the person I’ve become, and I’m grateful for two wonderful parents who have respected my choices with a grant of unconditional acceptance.
I am Batya Miriam and I would not be the person I am today with any other name.
Batya Graber is a public relations assistant at the Orthodox Union. A native of Buffalo, NY, she graduated from Hofstra University and studied at She’arim College for Women in Har Nof.This article originally appeared in Shabbat Shalom, the weekly newsletter of the OU.
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I once asked my parents why they had named me Chana Malka, and they responded: “We didn’t, the rabbis named you.” For the longest time, I chose to be content with that answer, but then again, for the longest time I chose to be content with my assumed religious identity, and never felt the need to examine either subject too closely. I am the daughter of two loving parents, a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father.