“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

-Some old dude

B-Shakes knew what he was talking about. The rose may smell as sweet but they’re not calling it the same thing all around the world. Whether you call me Joe Montana or Flowers McGee, it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t throw a football. That said, would it kill people in this country to call me by my actual name?

For the sake of this example, let’s say we’re all Americans. Ok, now everybody eat a Big Mac and act fake. Ha ha. (C’mon, I make fun of the Israelis all the time, it’s all in good fun. OR IS IT??? High-five, Israelis!) You’ve just met a nice Israeli who’s moved to the States; in fact, you’re a teacher and he’s one of your students. You see his name written on the roll sheet but there’s a vowel missing. The name reads “Mrdechai.”

When calling his name, do you say…?
A) Mardechai
B) Murdechai
C) Mordechai
D) This is America! You’ll go by Morty and like it!

(My senior year, we had an Israeli kid named Yuval enroll in the school. He joined my gym class where the other boys proceeded to call him “Yuvie.” How endearing. As far as these people were concerned, he was what sunglasses were supposed to protect them from.)

If you said C, you guessed correctly. If you said D, you are very multi-cultured.

So why is it so hard for people here to pronounce “Benji”? BEN-gee!!!

New Years Eve, I’m at Karnaf, this wrap place with my friends Ziv and Amalia. We place our orders and wait for them to call our names over the mic. “Zeev!” Check. “Amalia!” Check. Bahn-gee!” My friends laughed hysterically and the truth is, I did too. How could I not? Aside from the fact that over the microphone, most of the Middle East probably heard it, it’s ridiculous that when Israelis say my name, they apparently think I’m named for this.

Really? בנג’י is so foreign? It’s not obvious that it’s connected to “Benjamin” or בנימין? I never had a name that I had to explain in the States, like my co-worker “Brannon” who introduced herself as “Dannon” with a “Br-“. I guess I’d better get used to it.

Either that or start going by “Dudu.” Of course that raises a whole nother series of issues.

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