For my recent article on Mayim Bialik’s recent visit to Teaneck, I had prepared a sidebar on Mayim’s name. As not infrequently occurs while preparing the paper late on Wednesday afternoon, there was not enough space and the sidebar had to be cut. But on the web… ah, on the web there’s always room. So here’s how Mayim Bialik got her name:
It’s basic Hebrew knowledge that “mayim” means water.
It’s somewhat more advanced knowledge that Mayim is not generally a name.
Tal, meaning dew, is a name. Yarden, the Jordan river, is a name.
But who names their kid “water?”
Bialik explains that she was named for her grandmother, Maryam, who was ended up be called Bubbe Mayim “and it sort of stuck.”
“It’s not that they wanted to name me for water since that would be ridiculous. When I was in grade school I was called “toilet water” which was traumatic.”
As for her last name, she’s a descendant of a brother of the famous Hebrew poet Hayim Nachman Bialik.
“In Israel, it’s a big deal to be named Bialik. We get in free at the Tel Aviv Bialik museum.”