Vera and Nechama Realty: Who could come up with a stranger name for a real estate company? Twenty years ago I had the Real Estate Commission articles of incorporation strewn across my dining room table, including fingerprints from the New Milford jail, when my son looked at me and said, “Yes, it is a crazy name but people will assume you know where the shuls are and which are the best schools for their kids.” And so it was.
I have always disliked my name and I think my Mom did, too. As a young child, whenever I got lost in Macy’s she would shout out, “Nicki, where are you?”
It always stuck with me that she hesitated to call out my given name publicly. My name was always mispronounced and made me feel conscious of being somewhat foreign. These feelings only grew as I was often asked if I had an American name. I clearly remember one of my professors at NYU announcing in class, “You can’t expect me to pronounce your name—it’s not English.”
At the March for Israel rally in Washington yesterday, I laughed when I heard one of the first speakers, an actress, introduce herself as follows: My name is Tovah Feldshuh in English and my name is Tovah Feldshuh in Hebrew. (I guess my parents were really ahead of their times). I stood next to a group of Israelis living in Virginia for the last 30 years who, out of sheer curiosity, decided to drive up, assuming that it was just another rally. We stood shoulder to shoulder with 300,000 attendees listening to an emotional Natan Sharansky, Deborah Lipstadt, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, and we soon realized that this was a once in a lifetime experience.
As I stood on the National Mall facing the Capitol, as an American and a Jew, my name suddenly did not seem strange at all. I think I gave comfort (Nechama) to those standing with us and received much comfort in return.
Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V&N Group LLC, located at 1401 Palisade Avenue in Teaneck. Send your thoughts and comments to [email protected] or call 201 826 8809.