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Grow­ing up I always thought my name was Jew­ish. When I had my bat mitz­vah we couldn’t find it in Hebrew, so we made up a fem­i­nine ver­sion of Jesse. gabon One day I found the ori­gin of my name: Shake­speare made it up! He needed a girl’s name for The Mer­chant of Venice. That makes me happy, since in the name books, it just means “a gift from god”(like almost every­one else).


Names as a Striv­ing for Refine­ment: My father’s begin­nings were hum­ble. His par­ents were the rural poor of East Texas, born in the late 19th cen­tury.  His mother was the 13th of 13 chil­dren. His father was the 7th son and the grand­son of a Chero­kee tribeswoman, which in those days must have been an isolating […]


None of us had much of a nick­name though my sib­lings tend to call me Jude. I would never dream of intro­duc­ing myself as Jude, but when I talk to myself (!), I find that I call myself Jude!