Conversions and Hebrew Names

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6 Responses

  1. Paul Ilie says:

    If it’s not too late, I want to sympathize with this Gentile, speaking as a lapsed Orthodox Jew, in his seventies, struggling to maintain some degree of observance. If I can feel justified, even in my guilt, then why not this man. He’ll probably not reach perfect fulfillment of basic mitzvoth like Shabbos and kashruth, let alone daily tefillin. Nevertheless, if he is sincerely praiying to HaShem and so believes, he should be encouraged. Just let him say at least one prayer in Hebew besides the Shema, which you can recommend, such as the morning berachas or the Poseyach es yadechah.

  2. Batya says:

    Stories from converts are always very special. I wonder if he’s aware of the name Shmaya, which has the meaning he wants.

  3. Hanan says:

    Its interesting that this writer is asking regarding the name Yishmael. Only a few days ago i was thinking of why Jews don’t name their kids that. After all, Avraham saw it as an appropriate name. I’m guessing certain names get attached certain stigmas about them. The same goes for Esau,Yeshu or Adolf. Regardless of attaching “ben-zion” or whatever to the name, we as the entire Jewish community have designated these names as “bad”. I’m sure in the next 50 years another name will be added to the list.

  4. anon says:

    I assume that you realize that this guy might google yishmael ben zion one day and find this post. Even though the jewish sites may feel more intimate, this is the web.

  5. Shimon says:

    Obviously the name Yishmael was in use as late as Talmudic times. What changed? The rise of Islam, in the 7th century. In Jewish literature the name Yishmael became identified with Islam, as surely as it was idenitified in Jewish literature with the Arabs in particular prior to Muhammad. This individul should bear in mind that the word Yishmael is associated with the religion of Islam.

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