A Jones by Any Other (Married) Name

Soon-To-Be Wife Ponders Her Professional Options

Weighing Options: Abigail Jones tries out new configurations of her name.
Nate Lavey
Weighing Options: Abigail Jones tries out new configurations of her name.

By Abigail Jones

Published February 12, 2013, issue of February 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

My hyphenated last name — Drachman-Jones — also honors the fact that I am the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Protestant father. I identify as Jewish, and I also greatly value the Ethical Culture tradition that has been passed down on the Jewish side of my family. My last name reminds me that I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas; that I had a Bat Mitzvah and also grew up dyeing Easter eggs.

While my Jewishness is so much more than just my name— my family will always celebrate the high holidays by gathering together, cooking our favorite foods, telling stories and spending time together, regardless of what I decide — I can’t help but feel that changing it will mean losing parts of my heritage. After all, my mother kept her name and hyphenated mine precisely because she believed it mattered. And she and my father gave me my middle name precisely because it meant something to our family. Besides, as a tall, blond woman who doesn’t look particularly Jewish, my name is the only real indication to the outside world of my Jewish identity.

So yes, I could I keep my name. Or I could take my fiancé’s. I could keep parts of mine and add parts of his. I could even become a double hyphen. Simply put, there is no easy answer to the age-old and hugely common dilemma of how to preserve one’s family while simultaneously creating a new one. Just as surely as I want to share my last name with my future husband and future kids (that desire is especially intense when you grow up in a family like mine, with three different last names among four people), I also want to hold on to my personal and professional identity as a “Goldsmith Drachman-Jones.” Where does that leave me? Deep down I have a feeling that I’ll take my fiancé’s name, at least in my personal life; writing this article is my first stab at accepting that choice.

Abigail Jones is the digital features editor of the Forward. She can be reached at jones@forward.com or on Twitter @abigaildj.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.