What’s in a name?

With the birth of Ellison Henry Haas, we have introduced a modern Jewish naming tradition to the Haas clan. In the Jewish culture that my wife Stacie comes from, the first initial of a deceased relative is used to start the name of a newborn. Thus the late one is honored while also affixing the new one in the family’s history. A Jewish superstition is that using a live person’s name would cause the angel of death to take the newborn rather than the old. While Stacie doesn’t share that superstition, the tradition remains in place.

In this case, we have chosen to honor Herbert F. Haas,  father to three children Charlie, Paula, and Sue, grandfather to many more, and great-grandfather to my daughter Hari and my new Ellison.

Stacie has several “E” names in her family, such as her late maternal grandmother Gertrude Estelle. We also picked Ellison in honor of the late Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka. And it was partially inspired by the name of the misanthropic sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison. Cuz hey… we’re geeks. (Well, I’m a geek. She’s a nerd. The subtle differences, I tell ya… yeah!)


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

7 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Aha!

    Just as I thought.

    Ellison has been my favorite writer since I was twelve. He seldom goes ‘on the road’ anymore but…this September sees him as the Guest of Honor at Madcon in Madison.

    Congrats again and best to you and your family.

    Richard Halasz

  2. Tell Liebenthal he should skip DL this month. Word is the cops are going to tail him and pull him over on a DWI after leaving. Awesome!

  3. Congratulations!

    Has anyone ever studied whether “geek” and “nerd” are recessive or dominant? Or do they both just go off to their separate laptops to check their email?

  4. Some Deep Thought went into the naming ritual. Glad to read that. I look forward to meeting Ellison and congratulations again.

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