P. 266

Honorable Member,
About a year ago, I contacted each and every member of the Executive in a private letter regarding the changing of their foreign name to a Hebrew name. As a result of this call of mine, one member of the Executive complied and changed his name to Hebrew –Rabbi Moshe Hameiri Z"L.
Behind my call to you are public-national reasons, which remain valid even now. In addition to this, we stand upon the precipice of an unprecedented historic event, on the eve of establishment of our political independence and I view the Hebrew name as a valuable symbol that emphasizes our national form no less than the language. Not idly had our ancestors said: "We were led out of Egypt because we kept three things intact: our name, our language, and our clothing." Indeed, the name has great political-cultural significance – towards us and towards others. As such, I see it as my duty to raise the question that seems trivial, but which in my opinion has great value at the time of our appearance as a nation among the nations.
I do not intend the reiterate here all of the elementary reasons that obligate us in this internal effort as well. I will only examine some of them here. Among the first sounds of our language that our children, the natives of the land and the children of Olim, absorb within the walls of the schools and kindergartens are foreign names, the names of their teachers and friends, which bear Slavic, German, Anglo-Saxon or Arab from all over the diaspora. And rather than having last names and first names actually serve as an additional source for knowledge of the language, as the original Hebrew names did, the foreign names introduce bedlam and a medley of languages to their limited Hebrew vocabulary.
And outside of the schools, the child encounters signs, notices and advertisements in the movie theater. And here, wherever he turns he also finds a treasure trove of foreign names, and upon reading a newspaper or a Hebrew book, he again encounters first and foremost the name of the author, which most of the time is also foreign. He also hears on the radio the names of lecturers, authors, actors, sports legends and public leaders who head the institutions, all of who are famous personages who need to serve as an example, and again – Foreign names.
The same is true for the new Oleh arriving in the country and yearning for a Hebrew atmosphere. He forcibly encounters this reality of thousands of foreign names in Hebrew letters – a phenomenon that greatly disrupts the Hebrew character of the Yishuv. There is a disregard here that stems primarily from political short sightedness, or unjustified negligence.
My intention is to launch broad public activities to unify our public, a public that is an ingathering of the exiles, into a single people in the Land of Israel. To emphasize the original cultural appearance and create a single character, a Hebrew character, equal for any Jew being Jewish.

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