So you’re at shul, at kiddush, and you’re talking to someone you’ve known vaguely for approximately forever. You have some idea of her job, her kids, her politics. But – what’s her name?
The problem is that if you haven’t asked, been told, and managed to remember someone’s name in the first few weeks, you’re pretty much doomed to pretend you knew it for decades, keeping your ears open and your mouth shut until someone else mentions it, and you pretend you’ve known it all along.
This week is Shabbat Shemot — the Shabbat when we begin the book that’s called Exodus in English but is Shemot — literally names in English — the book that begins with a list of the names of the sons of Israel.
In honor of the annual occasion, Hadar, the traditional egalitarian minyan in Manhattan, is proclaiming Name Amnesty Shabbat. It’s an opportunity for everyone to ask that mortifying question — your chance to ask again without judgment, as Hadar’s email puts it. (As if…but whatever.)
Of course, if you can overcome your embarrassment by asking someone whose name you know you should know what her name is, now you have to figure out how to remember it. (Maybe that’s what Shabbat Zachor is for?)