Answer to My Sister’s Name

I named my sister after a brand of kitchen appliances. Yes, that sounds a little bit too out there even for me but let me explain.

When my mother became pregnant with my sister, she put me in charge of selecting a name for the baby. This was a genius pedagogic move. For a beloved, worshiped, center-of-the-universe child like me, an appearance of a sibling who was going to take away the spotlight could have easily caused resentment and sibling rivalry. By letting me choose the baby’s name, however, my mother laid the foundation of a different kind of relationship between me and my sister. Even before she was born, the baby wasn’t a competitor for me. She was going to need my protection and care. I highly recommend this strategy to anybody whose children have a noticeable age difference. (Here, here, and here are some more suggestions as to how to promote a beautiful relationship between siblings.) Yes, you might end up with the name that doesn’t make you 100% happy but isn’t that a tiny price to pay for a life-long friendship between siblings?

When you are 5, it isn’t that easy to choose a name for a baby because you don’t know that many names. I read a lot at that age but mostly fairy tales and works by Alexander Dumas. Of course, I knew even then that naming a Soviet child Gretel, Budur or Constance Bonacieux would not do. It was very important to me that the baby’s name was not shared by anybody I knew. It had to be original and not make it seem like we were naming her after somebody in our circle of acquaintance.

Once, I was sitting in the kitchen, pondering this important issue. Suddenly, I noticed that the kitchen stove had its brand name written in the bottom right corner. That brand name was a beautiful woman’s name that nobody I knew shared. The decision was made instantly, and now my sister proudly carries the name of our kitchen stove. As good luck may have it, this name is very easy for  English-speakers and Spanish-speakers to pronounce. It’s also very beautiful and meaningful.

Anti-Semitism in Ukraine

It would be very rewarding to have an unusual experience of reading news from Ukraine that are not completely disheartening and disgusting. But that doesn’t meant to be, it seems. I just discovered that last month there was a flare-up of anti-semitism in Ukraine. A recently elected member of Ukrainian Parliament (a.k.a  the freak show of the century) declared that actress Mila Kunis is a dirty Jew (he used a less polite word, of course) who should stick the Star of David up hers (I’m providing a literary translation of colloquialisms here) and stop mentioning her country of origin. (Here is a link but it’s in Russian.)

The really ridiculous part of this is that today’s anti-Semitism in Ukraine is directed at a group that is no longer there. The absolute majority of Ukrainian Jews left the country a while ago. Maybe a few especially tenacious ones remain, although I wonder what possesses them to do so. Historically, countries that make all the Jews leave never fare too well economically, scientifically, or culturally. Ukraine should remember that. After an unparalleled history of promoting the rights of Jews as an integral part of creating the first independent Ukrainian Republic, it is a shame to see this happening in Ukraine today.

P.S. Anybody who tries to leave a comment about anti-Semitism supposedly being more widely spread in Ukraine than anywhere else should know that s/he is being an ignorant fool who is parroting the nasty Soviet anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Just go away already, comrade.