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Category: Hebrew baby names

Hebrew baby names

By Aviva Rosenberg

As an Orthodox Jew living in America, with family and friends in Israel, my perspective on Hebrew and Hebrew-origin names is very different than the average. You might be surprised to learn that Suri is a traditional Yiddish nickname for Sarah; Jews around the world either laughed or rolled their eyes when Tom and Katie picked it. And Simcha is common among Jews as well (it was my grandfather’s name), so we didn’t blink when Randi Zuckerberg introduced her Simi to the world.

Here are a few things that you may or may not know about Hebrew names, and how Jews, particularly the Orthodox, approach baby naming.

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Jewish New Year

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The surprise top name for boys in 2013 was the Old Testament Noah, followed by the not so surprisingly high-on-the-list Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Benjamin, David, Joseph, Joshua and Samuel—in other words many of the same biblical boys’ names that have been recycled for eons.

I thought that today, in commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, we would shake things up a bit and look at some Bible names that aren’t even in the Top 1000, but might be worthy of some consideration

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Jewish Baby Names: Happy Passover!

passover

By Nephele

As Passover approaches, a look at some of the names found in Jewish culture.

Yiddish names have a rich history, rooted in an older generation of Jewish people belonging to the Ashkenazic (from Germany and Eastern Europe) community. The Yiddish language evolved during medieval times from High German (influenced by Hebrew and some eastern European languages), and the word “Yiddish” itself literally means “Jewish.” Genealogists familiar with old U.S. Federal Census records will have noticed many a census record where the census taker recorded an immigrant’s language as being “Jewish” when it more properly should have been recorded as “Yiddish.”

While many fondly associate Yiddish names with their beloved grandparents and great-grandparents, Yiddish is nonetheless making a comeback. California‘s San Francisco Bay area is home to Der Bay, a widely circulated Anglo-Yiddish newsletter of events, and such movies as Fiddler on the Roof and the animated An American Tail (both featuring Yiddish-named characters) are fondly familiar to mainstream America.

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channukah

By Hannah Katsman, A Mother in Israel

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah falls on Wednesday evening, November 27 in 2013–coinciding with the American Thanksgiving–and continues until nightfall on Thursday, December 5.

Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Greeks who had defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to tradition, only one bottle of pure oil was found to light the menorah (candelabra), yet it miraculously lasted for eight nights. Hanukkah also commemorates the spiritual victory over the materialistic, Hellenistic culture.  Traditional foods include potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts, both fried in oil.

With eight nights of candle-lighting, we have eight chances to choose a terrific Hanukkah name.

In honor of the holiday, here are eight popular Israeli baby name ideas. The numbers reflect the popularity in Israel for boys or girls in 2012.

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jewish

In honor of Passover, we invited Israel-based Hannah Katsman to guest blog on Jewish baby names appropriate to this meaningful holiday, many of which are popular in Israel today.

Passover, which falls this year on March 25th to April 2nd, commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Passover is also the holiday of spring, and so provides parents with a wide variety of themes for naming babies.

Passover names fall into two groups—traditional names, including Biblical figures from the Passover story, and more modern names reflecting seasonal themes.

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