The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Nov 25, 2009

Name Change

In view of Desaposhini who changed her name, I must hasten to add that this is not a new game in town. It used to be said by Soviet Jews that they needed to adopt proper Russian names. Here's a blackly humorous tale that the Jews tell so well [from here, via Neeka]:
"A man sees an acquaintance walking down the street and calls out to him, 'Hey, Cohen!' The second man doesn't answer, so the first man catches up with him and says, 'Hey, Cohen, why aren't you answering?'
'Because I am no longer Cohen. I changed my last name to Ivanov.'
OK, taking a Russian-sounding surname to avoid anti-Semitism is reasonable enough. A year or so later, the same two men cross paths again.
'Hi, Ivanov,' says the first man.
'I am not Ivanov,' says the second man testily. 'I changed my name to Petrov.'
Now our guy is puzzled: 'Why would you do a thing like that if you already had a perfectly good Russian name?'
'Because everyone kept asking what my surname used to be.' "


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