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!)