When I was born, I was named William Andrew Strimling after deceased relatives from both my mom and dad's families, as is tradition for Ashkenazi Jews. At the same time, I was given the ancestral Hebrew name שמעון זאב, for the same reason.
For most of my life, I didn't feel comfortable with my last name "Strimling." It was tricky to say and spell, and it didn't reflect my Jewish background or who I truly am.
I learned about a practice where Jews moving to Israel would "hebraize" their names to fit in better. This appealed to me because both my first and last names caused issues in Israel due to their uniqueness and unfamiliar sounds in Hebrew.
I decided to follow this practice as well, with my own twist.
My Hebrew name, שמעון זאב, is pronounced as Shimon Ze’ev. I thought about using it directly, but "Shimon" (שמעון) was considered old-fashioned in Israel, and I wanted to keep some of my "Anglo" identity.
I settled on a compromise: the English version of my Hebrew name — Shimon became Simon, and Ze’ev meant Wolf. But since most people knew me as William or Will, I decided to keep William as my first name and use Simon/שמעון as a middle name when it made sense.
So, all together, it's William Simon Wolf — a name that now better represents my identity and heritage without losing my roots.