Hello. My name is Surah Channa.

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 11•17

I’ve always been a bit complicated and more than a tad weird, but I always thought I knew who I was…until I had another of my precious conversations with my mom recently.  Then I realized that I’m what you might call: Religiously Confused.  ROFL

I’m of Jewish heritage, was raised by Atheists parents, married a non-practicing Catholic, and became a non-denominational Christian due, in part, to some Amway meetings and a Jehovah’s Witness who came to my door.  If you’re confused now, keep reading!

I was born without a middle name. (Shock/Horror!)  My parents didn’t give me one. I’m middle name-less.  I’m deprived.  At 54 years of age, I’ve come to accept that and embrace the nickname (JoJo) given me by my parents to fill the void. (Insert tragic music here.)   

I’ve said it many times, I’m not your average Jo…Jo.  I’m an odd duck.  So after 54 yrs, I’m just now finding out who I am! LOL  Here’s how it went down:

I talk to my mom nearly every day since my surgeries.  We live too far to actually see each other.  She’s on the west coast and I’m here in Indiana. We talk about lots of interesting stuff.  We could chat all day long.  She’s an interesting woman who has a love of people and their stories so it’s always fun to catch up, reminisce about old times, and learn about all the interesting people she meets at even mundane places like the doctor’s office waiting room and the airport.

So we were chatting one day about middle names.  I’ve always felt a bit weird because almost everyone I know has one, or two, or three!  As a child, classmates would tease me that my middle name must be horrible since I wouldn’t even admit I had one!  So as we were talking, I learned more about why my sister and I didn’t have middle names.

My maternal grandmother didn’t like her middle name and never gave any of her four kids a middle name. My sister and I followed in that tradition and so we don’t either.  We talked about how my grandmother’s real name wasn’t the one she actually used.  This is pretty common in my family.  I learned that the Jews name people after the dead to honor them, but my brother was named after my father’s father. They asked him if that would be okay and he said yes.  That lead to a discovery that rocked my middle nameless world.

Mom had found a certificate among the papers and related to me that her parents, my grandparents, had a naming ceremony for me at their Temple and gave me a Hebrew name. So I may not have a middle name, but I do have a precious Hebrew name given me by my maternal grandparents in honor of my grandfather’s mother, Sarah Hanna.  She sent me a picture of my baby book in which the details of the naming ceremony were written.  Next to those details was something else I didn’t expect.  I have God Parents! Turns out my parents’ dearest friends at the time were Catholic, though I don’t think they were particularly religious, but to honor them, they were named my God Parents.

So to recap: I’m of Jewish Heritage, raised by Atheist parents, given a Hebrew name and Catholic God Parents, who married a non-practicing Catholic and became a non-denominational Christian due, in part, to some Amway meetings and a Jehovah’s Witness who came to my door.  You might want to read that again.  I’ll wait…

But isn’t that sweet?  As a Christian, I’m so excited to feel more connected to my Jewish roots.  What an honor that my grandparents took the time to do this for me!  So I say again, I may not have a middle name, but I do have a Hebrew name…a gift given to me by my grandparents: Harry and Florence.

I guess you can learn something new about yourself every day! ROFL

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  1. It’s amazing how God works in our lives and how each story is so unique! Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. JoJoisms says:

    I know, huh? So cool!

  3. Renette Steele says:

    Names are interesting things, and reasons behind them are too. Sometimes I wonder what parents are thinking then come to find out I guess I wasn’t when I named mine lol.
    Our family has some very unusual names. I actually go by my middle name because my first name is the same as my moms. A family name passed down. My middle name is two names put together to make peace in the family. Crazy.

    What’s even better is GOD knew our names way before we were born and that makes me proud to have the name I do.

  4. Tanya says:

    That’s a great story… love it and very interesting about that now you are a Christian. Lol

  5. JoJoisms says:

    I love your name, Renette!

  6. JoJoisms says:

    Thanks, Tanya.