It was either that or Hortense

After film stars Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise named their newborn daughter Suri last week, their publicist claimed that its origins are in ancient Hebrew, as a variant of Sarah, the biblical matriarch. The reaction among Israelis: Oh, really? Take Prof. Gideon Goldenberg, who teaches linguistics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "I don't know what they were thinking," he told the Associated Press. "It's a term that denotes expulsion - like, 'Get outta here!' It's pretty blunt." Then there's Yaron London, a cultural commentator for Channel 10 television. "Why," he asked the couple rhetorically, "didn't you go just back to your ancestors' language , and call the kid Scram Cruise?" On the other hand, there are females in Israel who share the baby's name. One is journalist Surie Ackerman - who, you'll notice, spells hers with an "e." But then, she was born, reared - and named - in the US and explains that Surie is a version of a nickname conferred on her by fellow ultra-Orthodox Jews . Asked for comment, she said, "It sounds strange to me that a non-Jewish ... baby should be called Suri, but there are plenty of strange names in the world." Now, should the publicist wish to try a new explanation, it seems Suri also means "rose" in Persian, "sun" in Sanskrit, and is a tribe in the ancient Nubian region of Egypt and Sudan.

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