The Story of Your Name

May 14, 2021

Whether you love your name or are searching for alignment, your name plays an essential part in your life story.

Have you ever explored "The Story of Your Name"?

Who named you, and what were they hoping to pass on to the new life in their arms?

What is your relationship with your name now, and how has it evolved over time?

Excerpt from the story of my name:

My name is Sonia. My Hebrew name is שושיה/ Susya, from the Hebrew ששון/ sasson- meaning joy. 


I am named after my bubbe or great-grandmother. Family members say that I have her laugh…and her nose. Our shared laughter and name deepens my connection with her. On top of that, it feels special to have a facial feature that calls her to mind, at least that did when I was a child. (It’s been a while since a cousin pinched my cheeks and told me how much I look like my Bubbe Sunya, but the feeling that my resemblance to her was joyful for my family is vivid.)

For years I felt that the essence of my name was Yiddish, not Hebrew. In the stories I inherited of my bubbe, she didn’t only speak Yiddish- she embodied Yiddish. She was- as so many bubbes of her generation- courageous in her journey from Eastern Europe to America, and dedicated to the hard work of caring for her family.

She was zaftig, and her language was, too.  

It was only when I explored the meaning of my name that I found its Hebrew root, a root that connected to who she was and who I am.  

Figuring out a meaningful spelling of my Hebrew name led me to discover my “name pasuk”– a verse from Tanakh (Torah, Prophets and Writings) that begins with the first letter of my name and ends with the last letter of my name. 

My "name pasuk", or name verse, begins with ש/ Shin and ends with ה/ Hey:

Artwork I created for a girl named Shira, linking her name and “name pasuk.”

Your “name pasuk” is the verse that connects your name to Torah, in the broad sense. It is another layer in "The Story of Your Name."

I invite you to explore your name through my workshops and discover the process of creating a written, visual or theatric “Story of Your Name”. 

Examples of workshops I have led include:

  • Individuals and families
  • B’not/B’nai mitzvah
  • Synagogue groups- adult, youth and intergenerational
  • Senior residences or community centers
  • Camps and afterschool programs
  • Businesses and nonprofit organizations

Send me an email to explore how I can engage you, your family and friends, students, congregants, members or staff in self-discovery or team/community-building through my name workshops. I look forward to hearing from you!

My workshop participants can attest to the gratifying sense of self-worth discovered and their ability to be more present through their names.

Schedule a workshop for your organization or book a time to work one-on-one with me and I will guide you through the process of creating “The Story of Your Name”.

I create calligraphic portraits of individuals, couples and families like the one above of my husband.

I invite you to commission me to create a portrait of “The Story of Your Name”, or of your family’s names that will celebrate and record your self and your roots.  

For a birth or birthday, anniversary, graduation, retirement, or to honor the memory of a deceased loved one, a “Portrait of Your Name”, is a gift that becomes a family heirloom.  Start by finding one or a few photographs that may serve as the foundation of the artwork.  Together we’ll explore the possibilities!

Reach out to discuss how I can further your exploration of your name through my art and workshops.

I look forward to hearing about your names!