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Mom Furious After Her Ex’s Family Refuses To Call Their Daughter By Her Proper ‘Jewish’ Name

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A Redditor who is proud of her Jewish heritage reflected that in the names of her children, ages 5 and 8.

When her ex-husband came back into the picture in an attempt to “make up for lost time,” his side of the family caused drama after they met the 5-year-old daughter.

The Original Poster’s (OP) reaction may not have helped the situation.

She visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for teaching my daughter that her father’s family giving her a nickname is anti-Semitic?”

The OP explained:

“I’m Jewish, and my 2 kids (5 f[emale], 8 m[ale]) are being raised semi-Jewish. They have different fathers.”

“My daughter’s dad, ‘Ex’, hasn’t been involved before now, but he’s here now and is trying to make up for lost time, which I fully support.”

“However, with Ex comes his family, and I had all sorts of problems with them when we were together. They’d ask really invasive questions and make very offensive comments all the time about my religion.”

“When I named my daughter, I named her after one of my grandparents, the same as I did for my son. My grandparents had/have very stereotypically Jewish names. Think ‘Miriam’ and ‘Mendel’, though the real names aren’t so archaic, but that level of stereotypical Jewish name.”

“Miriam’s real name has a bit of an unusual sound in it, but it’s found in most languages outside of English, and the name itself, and this pronunciation, are fairly popular in England, where we are.”

“Ex and I have been easing into 50/50 custody of Miriam, but we’re only up to unsupervised weekends right now. Ex told me that he’s introduced her to his parents. Miriam came back from Ex’s parent’s place a couple weeks ago, and at dinner Mendel asked me what his ‘English name’ was.”

“I asked him what that meant. He said that Miriam says that we have our Jew names and our English names. I asked her where she got that from and Miriam said that granny and grandpa call her Maisie because they said that’s her English name.”

“She admitted to not liking it, but said it’s just what they call her. Ex didn’t even try to deny it, immediately defending his parents, saying they can’t pronounce the name and they’re too close minded to learn it.”

“I said they can learn, but he insisted otherwise.”

“When I pointed out that Miriam doesn’t like it, he said she’s 5, she doesn’t know what she likes.”

“So I sat both kids down for a talk about anti-Semitism, microaggressions, and the importance of learning people’s names, and said, in no uncertain terms, that their names are the names I gave them, they reflect their heritage, and the only person who can change them is themselves.”

“Miriam has continued going round Ex’s house, and today she went back to her grandparents for the first time since that talk. She refused to respond to ‘Maisie’ and apparently said something like ‘mummy says Maisie is rude.'”

“They did not take it well. Ex brought Miriam back a full day early and after I sent her to bed he asked me to step outside, which I did, and he proceeded to accuse me of trying to turn Miriam against him/his family, said I was trying to make him look like a bad father and his parents like bad grandparents, and that I’d confused Miriam, upset his parents, and shown him up.”

“He says he’s trying to connect with Miriam and I’ve caused issues with that, so he wants me to undo it, so she responds to Maisie again.”

“I said that they can and will learn her damn name, and I won’t help them teach her to hide her Jewishness to make his parents more comfortable.”

“He said I was overreacting and unreasonable as it’s just a nickname and accused me of using her as a pawn in my own personal issues with his family.”

“He also said I was driving a wedge between Miriam and her grandparents, and between him and Miriam by extension, and that he was struggling enough being introduced to her life at this stage of her life.”

“I didn’t have to make connecting with her harder than it was, and that of all the debates I could choose to stand firm on, this is a relatively minor one compared to all the other negotiations we’ll have to come to over the years.”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Most Redditors declared the OP was NTA.

“NTA. As Uzo Aduba’s mother once said about her Nigerian name: ‘If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.’”

“Your child cannot grow up in an environment where they belittle her cultural identity / race. It’s so damaging and will have long term consequences.” – tailofthecrackfox

“I cannot agree more. Hell, it’s better to just TRY than to argue it’s too difficult. I bet I never say dostoyevsky correctly, or any russian name. But I damn well try, and that means more than saying something completely different.”

“I mean, my last name is an uncommon french name. People say it wrong all the time. It’s so much better to attempt it than just go ‘it’s too hard, I’m calling you DawnMountain smith.'” – dawnmountain

“NTA. Your ex’s family have deemed her name ‘too Jewish,’ refuse to use it AND RENAMED HER. Wtf?! No, ex husband. This is not a nickname. Nickname is—like doodlebug or pumpkin, or Al instead of Alfred.”

“He’s under reacting and damaging his own relationship with his child whom he refuses to put first.” – Lacroix24601

“I can see why he’s your ex. the letter M does not a nickname make. Now If they called her Mir instead of Miriam, it would be a little more plausible.”

“My sisters name is Merida (not really but close) and we call her Mer. THAT is a nickname. Calling my sister Megan instead of Merida is renaming.” – Lacroix24601

“Even if it was a nickname, decent people wouldn’t call someone with a nickname they don’t like. Your daughter doesn’t like the name. That’s it.” – electroyogi

“If they want to get to know your daughter, they can learn her name. If they can’t (won’t) do that because it’s too ‘Jewey’ (I’m also a Jew, no offense intended) then they obviously don’t want to get to know your daughter that badly, and bigots who will only do greater damage.”

“Honestly, there’s stories on here of grandparents taking kids to be baptized against their parent’s wishes. You honestly don’t think they’ll pressure her into believing in Jesus with the threat of firey hell?”

“This is stuff yall need explicitly worked out.” – calm_chowder

Overall, most Redditors thought it was inappropriate the ex’s family renamed the daughter just because they couldn’t be bothered to learn how to pronounce her name.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo