When I remarried I decided to change my last name...including in my professional life. This is a much more complicated issue than it may appear. As a Social Worker/Psychotherapist changing my name opens up my personal life to my patients, which in many ways can be challenging.
In fact this name change has led to a challenge and another first in this auspicious year of firsts...
My first personal experience with antisemitism.
Does one say a Shehecheyanu for this?
Without divulging any confidential information, a patient has clearly reacted strongly to my new name, this new last name which is traditionally Jewish. The comments have been unmistakeably antisemitic. This is occurring in therapy, so how I proceed is dictated by theory and professional standards, yet it still has been an emotional experience.
After dealing with my initial reaction of confusion and anger I grew to see this experience as a gift. The gift of testing my chosen faith, giving me the experience of being seen as Jewish, if even in a negative way and ultimately heightening my connection with the Jewish people.
So I guess maybe a Shehecheyanu is in order...