Chapter 11: Chesed
By Simone Yehuda, daughter of Walter Juda
My full name is Simone Naomi Patoute Juda Press Yehuda Shapiro. Each of these names carries a history from my families’ cultural, psychological, and religious heritage. In relating some of that history here, I’ve included some of my poetry because I found early on that the intensity of my emotions could best be contained in verse. As a victim of massive psychic trauma, I needed to express unbearable pain in an acceptable way so as not to fall apart or alienate others.
Simone comes from my French Catholic mother, and Naomi from my German Jewish father. My nickname Patoute is a result of the first words my father uttered when he first saw me at the hospital: “Mais elle n’est pas toute” [But she’s not all there]. Because of the many ways I was treated differently from my three brothers, I came to realize that, from my father’s point of view, because I was a female, I wasn’t a whole person. This was no doubt due to my father’s Orthodox background where, in many ways, women barely register on the radar screen. Unfortunately, my American and French families, friends, classmates, teachers, and neighbors called me Patoute until I graduated from college, when I first realized what this name meant:
Juda is my father’s last name and thus my maiden name. Press is my kind and generous first husband’s last name, and the last name of our twin daughters Corinna Nicole and Valerie Gabriella. I took the Hebrew version of my maiden name when Steve and I were divorced. Shapiro is my second husband Barry’s last name. How fortunate I am to have met my soulmate, whose passion and depth have brought me so much happiness.
ADDITIONAL FAMILY RESOURCES
Yehuda, Simone. Thaw (poems). Inwood Press, 1974.
Yehuda, Simone. Lifting Water (poems). Crowfoot Press, 1979.