July 1, 2006 | Issue 26

Rabbis Forbid the Name "Suri"

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — [TheKnish.com] Rabbis in Brooklyn, New York recently declared the name "Suri" to be banned from all Jewish baby-naming ceremonies in the New York Metropolitan area. Upon the completion of the Passover holiday, rabbis in Brooklyn discovered through anonymous sources ("refrigerators" and "air conditioners") that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes named their baby girl Suri. Local rabbis immediately banned the name from future daughters of Israel (and Brooklyn).

According to Cruise's publicist, the name "Suri" has its origins in Hebrew, meaning "princess." However, according to news reports in Israel, locals there are baffled by Tom Cruise's publicist (and his claim). "Nobody here has ever heard of that meaning," an announcer on Israel's Army Radio said during a discussion on Thursday. The Yediot Ahronot newspaper agreed in its half page splash on the celebrity birth. "We seem to have learned a new Hebrew word--and from Tom Cruise no less," said a Channel 2 TV anchorman.

It seems that Suri is a name used by Jews, though not the Hebrew-speaking Israeli ones that Cruise's publicist stated. Suri is derived from the pronunciation of Sarah by Central European Jews from Hungary and Poland. Thus, Suri is not a common name in Israel, but is commonly used in the riot-ridden neighborhoods of Boro Park and Flatbush where many immigrants from Hungary and Poland settled after World War II.

The rabbis allowed parents in the Five Towns to continue to use the name. According to the edict, the "Five Towns parents tend to have other secular influences inside their homes, such as the Internet, SpongeBob yarmulkas, and fluency in the English language. Furthermore, parents in those communities already name their children secular names like 'Josh' and 'Brandon'" (lo oleinu)."

Women and girls in Brooklyn bearing the now-shameful mark have been frantically calling their rabbis to ask for guidance. What should they do with their newly anointed Christian name? "How will my children ever find a shidduch? Who will want to go out with someone whose mother is named Suri?! They'll question my yichus, my reputation - they'll wonder if I'm really Jewish at all!" exclaimed a somewhat-anonymous Suri.

The rabbis suggest that all Suris in Brooklyn and Israel make a kiddush this Shabbos in their local shuls and change their names to Chaya Sarah. They believe that other TomKat-like gentiles would not name a child Chaya Sarah due to the difficulties gentiles have in pronouncing the "Ch" properly (B"H). [Editor's note: we will be accepting all invites to this bonzana of kiddushes.]


Pencil Jayson Littman, a native Manhattanite, and Johnny G. certified Spinning instructor, works in banking by day, improvs at night and writes for the JewYorkCity blog (www.jewyorkcity.blogspot.com) somewhere in between. You can contact Jayson at jayson.littman@mac.com if you have any questions, comments or concerns about his writings, philosophies or what he's wearing that day.


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