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!
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • J.J. Goldberg doesn't usually respond to his critics. But this time, he just had to make an exception.
  • 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.