On Thursday, during Yom Kippur, I've received the honor of being called to the Torah. Being so non-observant all my life, I did know or did not have a Hebrew name. This is rather important since it's the name that is used in aforementioned honor. I talked to my rabbi and we discussed possible names I could choose.
But, I was named after my Uncle Billy (William) who had died many years before I was born. (yeah, I know William = Wendy?). I wondered what his Hebrew name was so my mother asked my cousin to read the memorial plaque in our synagogue in Nashville. She didn't do it. So, my mother asked her childhood friend to look during Rosh Hoshanah. She found it but couldn't read it -- they omitted those pesky vowels. So, she asked the cantor of the synagogue to figure out what it is. I e-mailed him and I found out the following: he had two names, which is also traditional but I don't know why: Yehuda Volf. Now the second name is cool because it means "Wolf." I would like to be called that because it sounds dangerous and edgy. But then the feminine version of Yehuda is, as my rabbi told me, Yehudit. After a quick search on the internet, I discovered that Yehudit = Judith and is the name of the same Judith who slew Holofernes. Yeah, I think I'll take it.
If only I could figure out the feminine version of Wolf....
Above is a rather tasteful ca. 1530 version of Judith with Holofernes' head (Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472–1553) . I could have shown a brutal Caravaggio version of this story, but I didn't want to scare my male readers.