I’ve always had a love for names. Since I was eight years old I kept a running list of names that I liked. I wanted to be prepared for the day when I would need to choose. Over the years the list was shaped by the different influences in my life. By the time we were expecting Ziva I had a robust list of boys names that I loved and only a few girls names that I liked. Here is the story of how we chose our little one’s name:
Ziva (Pronounced Zee-vah): I was set on a couple of names since the beginning of my pregnancy and assumed we would choose one of them once our little one arrived. My husband, on the other hand, was not quite sold on the ones I had chosen. We discovered a Jewish baby naming app from Kveller.com and went through each name, from A-to-Z, reading them out loud to each other. When we got to the last name, Ziva, it just spoke to us. We experienced a loss with her first pregnancy about a month before we became pregnant with our Ziva. In Hebrew, Ziva means glow, brilliance, or light, and she is the ray of light and hope that came into our lives so soon after the loss. We waited until she arrived to be sure that she look like a Ziva. It fits her perfectly. She’s a calm, alert, and happy baby. So far we love calling her “Z” or “ZiZi” for short.
Pearl: Named for my paternal grandmother, Grandma Pearl was a character and a force of nature. She and I were very close and I always knew I wanted to name a daughter for her. Our little Ziva Pearl was born with strawberry blonde, reddish hair just like my grandma used to dye hers. It was meant to be! Ziva’s Hebrew name is Ziva Margalit (Margalit is Hebrew for Pearl), which I absolutely love.
On March 21st, Ziva’s 1 month birthday and Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month in the Hebrew calendar), we had a naming ceremony for her at the synagogue Brian grew up going to. During the Shabbat services, Brian and I were called to the bima for an aliyah and then the Rabbi blessed Ziva and we shared with the congregation the meaning behind the names we chose for her. Afterwards, Brian’s mother hosted a luncheon in the social hall for our guests. Though we were exhausted and happily delirious from our first month of parenting, it was a meaningful and love-filled day surrounded by friends and family as we welcomed Ziva into the covenant of our faith.