Viola Sofia/Batya Salma has arrived!
I'm a little late to the announcement game, but all the same very proud and excited to announce that our little Baby Katz arrived two weeks early on May 9, just before 6pm!
At 5 lbs, 3 ounces, birthing her was much much easier than expected. And now that she's almost 3 weeks old, our sweet little bit is getting closer and closer to 6 lbs!
Naming her was a challenge. I lovingly put together a HUGE list of 100 names or so that I liked or was willing to consider. DH picked out 5 names from that list that he "didn't hate" and 1 name that he liked: Violet. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I just couldn't put an adjective first name with Katz, a last name that sounds like a noun. DH disagreed, but we eventually settled on Viola (V-EYE-oh-luh), the fancier and more difficult to pronounce version of Violet, and couldn't be happier! And I should mention her chosen nickname: Via (vee-uh for Viola Sofia) We'll see if it sticks!
Her Hebrew name is Batya Salma. Batya means daughter (bat) of God (yah). Batya is named after her great-grandfather Bernie, so we chose a name that also starts with a B (Hebrew letter "bet") to honor him. She is also named after her great-grandmother Yehudit. We liked Batya specifically because the "yah" syllable (with a "y" sound--the Hebrew letter "yud") could stand for Yedudit. So daughter (bat) of God (yah) could also stand for "daughter of Yehudit."
Salma is a rarely (if ever) heard Hebrew name that we found in the book of Ruth, which is traditionally read on the holiday of Shavuot, just days after our baby girl was born. In it, Salma is the father of Boaz and very little is said about him. We liked the name because it means peace and is spelled in Hebrew exactly the same way as Shlomo, the name of our baby's other great grandfather for whom she is also named. Salma is also heard often as a female name in many Arabic countries--a perfect example is Salma Hayek.
We wanted the baby's Hebrew and Englush names to have some sort of continuity. We initially hoped to find and English name that started with a "B" to match the Hebrew, but we couldn't find anything that felt right. So it felt serendipitous when we picked a "V" name, because in Hebrew the letters "B" (bet) and "V" (vet) are two versions of the same letter. Similarly, We chose Sofia as an additional nod to my grandfather Sol (Shlomo, previously mentioned). Sofia means wisdom and as a Southern lawyer and patriarch, we thought it was fitting.
I know this is really long already, but one last note: I love that both first names are heroines of a sort. Batya is the pharoh's daughter in the story of exodus, and Viola is the lead in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Both women are fiercely independent and very clever. Nice namesakes if I do say so myself.
We named her ceremoniously a week and a half after her birth. We followed a traditional Jewish baby naming program and then, with a homemade pennant banner, made the audience play a guessing game for her English name. It was great fun!
(typos courtesy of my iPhone!)