Thursday, January 25, 2007

What’s in a Name?

In Baltimore, where my family lives most of the year when we’re not in Israel, there is a main road named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Nothing wrong with that. It’s just not my history.

In the immediate neighborhood where we live in Baltimore, the streets are named for members of the builder’s family. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just not my family.

Ah, but in Israel, the streets are named for Jewish prophets and kings: Rechov Shmuel HaNavi, Devorah HaNaviah and Rechov David HaMelech. Streets are named for men and women of the Torah: Rechov Asher and Rechov Rivka. Streets are named for great rabbis: Rechov Hillel and Rabenu Tam. And streets are named for leaders throughout Jewish history: Sderot Golda Meir and Sderot Ben Gurion.

My family.

My history.

In the community of Nof Alyalon, the streets are all named for the stones in the breastplate of the Kohein Gadol. In Ma’ale Adumim, there is a neighborhood where all the streets are named for instruments mentioned in Sefer Tehillim (The Book of Psalms).

Even driving to the grocery store on the streets of Israel, we proclaim our history. Everywhere in Israel, the names are saturated with Jewish resonance.

More evidence of being home.

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