Bad news for an Israeli couple living in Brussels who wanted to name their newborn Alma Jerusalem: the City of Brussels City Hall refused to register the name, saying they were unable to issue a birth certificate “because Jerusalem does not appear on a list of approved names for children born in the country,” JTA reports.
The couple was told by a city hall clerk, however, that they could get the child’s birth certificate once they procured a letter from the Israeli embassy validating the name, though the father pointedly noted that ‘Bethlehem’ was a Brussels-approved moniker.
The odd news out of Belgium is somewhat reminiscent of the Tennessee couple that went to court earlier this month to decide which last name their eight-month-old son would use—and instead the judge changed the baby’s first name from Messiah to Martin. (“The word Messiah is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ,” the judge said.)
What’s in a name? For Jerusalem and Messiah, apparently, quite a lot.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.