As the sun crept up into the beautiful clear sky over Toronto Saturday morning, our daughter Aliyah Davida Elena Rotman was born.
George was crying, Sari was smiling and Ali snuggled up to mum ― everyone was healthy, and it was so … human.
“It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.” ― Ursula Le Guin
So what is the power in Aliyah’s name?
First, the universe told us that we chose wisely. Aliyah Elena means “ascend, shining light” ― she was born right at sunrise.
Aliyah is a Hebrew, Arabic and Persian word meaning to ascend or go up. Our central wish for her life is that she ascends to her highest self.
Davida is the name of George’s late-aunt ― an artistic, political, iconoclast and teacher, who also strangely loved the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. Just as Davida ― and the two of us ― have followed our passion, so to will we encourage the same for our daughter.
Elena was a name that we both just loved, meaning to shine a light. In our hearts, we hope to raise a lovely human being, who through empathy and optimism will light people up.
And finally, her surname, Rotman. Aliyah is part Sari and part George, part Stillman and part Roter. So rather than stick with patriarchal tradition, or establish a new matriarchal tradition, or burden Aliyah’s children (if she choose to have any) with a hyphenated name, we’ve chosen to create a new last name. We know that this is strange, a bit radical, and perhaps a bit foolhardy. But Rotman it is ― a little bit of each of us.
Thanks to all of you for your support and advice over the past months.
With love (and a great deal of fatigue and new baby induced giddiness),
Sari and George
P.S. – Pictures to follow, but only if you click here to let us know that you want them.