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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

RivkA with a Capital A

The first time I signed my name RivkA, it was a typo. (or, perhaps, Divine intervention?)

I liked the look.

I liked the symmetry of the two capital letters at the beginning and end of my name.

More importantly, it seemed like the perfect solution for signing my name the way I pronounce it.

When I sign my name the "old fashioned" way (pen on paper), I write: Rivk√°.

For years, I was too computer illiterate to find an "√°". (Now I'm just lazy...)

Hence, the brilliance of the capital A!

Capital A for emphasis!

Proper pronunciation of my name is important to me. Almost no one gets it right the first time.

Americans are not used to placing the emphasis on the second syllable. And Israelis, well, they think that, just because they speak Hebrew without an accent, they know how to pronounce my name better than I do!

I hate grammar. But I learned the Hebrew names of these grammar rules just so I could "spell it out" to those Israelis.

RivkA is pronounced "milra" (with the accent on the last syllable) rather than "mil'el" (with the accent on the first syllable).

All names in the Tanach (Bible) are pronounced milra. (SarAH, RivkA, RachELL, LeAH, etc)

God is on my side!

So, get it right!

You might also be interested in reading my post, What's in a Name?

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Rafi G. said...

that's a good a reason as any...

mother in israel said...

When I first told my husband that I had run into you after many years, I referred to you as RIVka. He immediately corrected me.

Unknown said...

Who are you preaching to but the choir...You've trained all of us!...

Rivster said...

From one RivkA to another...

great explanation!!!

Eliyahu S. said...

I vaguely remember back 19 years ago (can you believe it's been so long?) that you were "fussy" about your name's pronunciation.

When we reconnected a few years ago, I asked you about the unusual orthogaphy, but you just told me "That's the way you like it," and I've tried to be makpid ("cautious"? "observant"?) of your wishes since then.

I'm glad that I finally stumbled across this explanation.

It's for similar grammatical accuracy that I insist on both the wye and the a in my own transliterated name....

RivkA with a capital A said...

Rafi -- :-)

Mother in Israel -- how did he know??

Ester -- I'm not sure about "all", but certainly most...

Rivster -- Good to know there are more of us out there....

Eliyahu -- makpid = dilligent (I definitely prefer "makpid" to "fussy")

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

So it's Riv-KA, the Hebrew way; not RIV-ka, the Yiddish/Yeshivish way. Is that right?

My grandmothers were both Rivkas, but known in English as Rose and Beck (short for Rebecca). Our daughter is named after them: Naomi Rivka.

I have always been makpid on correcting her first name - it's NA-omi, not NIE-omi. Guess I need to think about the second a bit more.

Raphael said...

Actually probably more accurately pronounced NO-omi. Weird but true. However, Sepharadim will pronounce it NA-omi so you have wiggle room.

I Schier said...


Her insistence on pronouncing her name correctly is my most vivid recollection of RivkA A"H from our college days as I was at Columbia when she was at Barnard.


Rebecca Kern, WI said...

I love you RivkA. It is because of this post that our correspondences started and thus also our friendship, all because I wanted to know how to say my name in Hebrew... Divine Ispiration!!! Yes, in more was than one!!! I love you I love you and I miss you!!!

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