Re: The Name Hudya #general

Judith Romney Wegner

At 11:08 AM -0700 10/1/06, Shellie Wiener wrote:
the outside world she was known as Honora, yet on
her headstone it indicates that she was Yehudit bat
Yisroel haLev. Tante Hudge died in 1971. In all my
life she was always called Hudge, which I'm sure now
is Hudya/Hudia.

That part of my family seems to have used Yiddish or
local versions of Hebrew names, [the Hebrew appearing
only after death of the individual on the "offical"
cemetery headstone/footstone.] Examples include: Srul
= Israel, Anchel = Asher, Hudge = Honora,
Manele/Manole = Emanuel, and many with what I would
consider Romanian diminuatives i.e. Isu = Yitzak,
Kubschu = Jacob, Schiku = Osias
Dear Shellie,

You have put your finger right on it! (in both of the above paragraphs.)

First, it appears that your Aunt Hudya (no matter how the spelling
was altered in USA) was called by a nickname for her actual name,
which is known to have been Yehudit (Ju. This corroborates my
original surmise as to which Hebrew name could have represented by
the nickname Hudya, (And >from other people we have learned that the
nickname Hudya was used also for girls with other given names,
including Hinde and Hadassah -- though I suspect it was used first
for YeHUDit because the syllable HUD appears as such i nthe name
Ye-HUD-is (where it was in fact the stressed syllable in the
Ashkenazic pronunciation).

Second, and even more interesting is the fact that in Eastern Europe
it seems to have been extremely common to use what are basically
nicknames as actual given birth names. In the case of a boy, he
would usually (but not always) receive his Hebrew name at his brit,
but be routinely called the Yiddishized version -- such as Anschel
instead of Asher or Srul instead of Yisra'el in your examples above
-- and as you rightly point out, the Hebrew name would be used for
official purposes such as the ketubbah or the matzevah (headstone).

Third, the case of girls is the most interesting of all. As many
respondents' messages have indicated, it was extremely common for a
girl to receive *only* the Yiddishized version of the Hebrew name
(i.e. the Yiddish diminutive or nickname) without actually being
given the Hebrew name itself. Thus, in practice, the nickname being
her only name came to be thought of as a normal given name rather
than as the nickname that it was when it originated. This explains
the number of people who have written insisting that in their family
Hudya was not just a nickname, it was the girl's actual given name.
They are quite right , since it was the girl's only given name -- but
that doesn't alter the fact that in its origins Hudya and all
simiilar examples, began life as nicknames.

The most interesting thing about the practice of giving girls as a
"real name" something that iin its origins a diminutive nickname is
that it reflects something we find in most if not al cultures
regarding the legal and social status of females. Societies in
general (or more precisely, the men who made the rules in those
cultures) seem to have considered it important to emphasize the
subordinate, child-like nature of the female. For instance, in
Japan, virtually all girls' names end in the syllable -ko, which
means "child" in Japanese. Though this obviously must have originally
been a suffix tacked on to girl's actual name, today it is
considered part of the actual name itself. (In American culture,
this is may be analogized to the common male habit of calling the
wife or girlfriend "Judy-Baby" or whatever.

So, I guess that puts me in my divinely ordained place!

Signed: Judy-Baby, aka Hudya
Judith Romney Wegner

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