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Thread: Cohen?

  1. #11
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    Jan 2012
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    @eskay: Oh, well that rules that name out, thank you for informing me!

  2. #13
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    @eskay: sorry i didn't mean to generalize, i meant it as a shorthand for the dominant culture. I know many Christians, Muslims and Atheists (of which, funny enough, i am one) who are gentile and respectful. I only meant to reference the feeling of people who live in the dominant Christian culture who may not see how this is offensive.

  3. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerrie View Post
    The name is reserved for holy/royal members only and is offensive to some when used for their random kids. I've seen tons of threads about this, and lots of people suggest using alternate spellings (Koen, Coen, Cowan) to make it less of an issue.
    Sort of. Except Jews don't name our kids "Cohen" as a first name either. It's not like we're jumping around claiming "wait wait Abraham was ours first, don't use it! Moses was ours first, don't use it!" etc. We use those names as first names and other people certainly can and do as well and even the stuffiest of Orthodox Jews don't walk around getting offended by atheists or Christians etc. using names that we think of as Biblical or Jewish.

    But Cohen isn't a name, its a title. I don't know anyone Jewish who uses Cohen as a first name. Even Cohanim. (People who are Cohen bloodline)

    It is a last name, because it was a title. Like Pope. It'd be someone's right to name their kid Pope if they wanted, but they couldn't very well get that surprised if some Catholics felt a bit trod on by that. It'd be antagonistic and kind of tacky. Especially with the tacked-on "But it doesn't mean that to us; we don't care what it means to them" that follows Cohen around when it's used as a name. There's issues of cultural appropriation a yard thick.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    611
    This thread is really interesting! I've never considered the name Cohen as a first name,but I had no idea how offensive it was to appropriate it!
    I don't know a lot about Jewish culture beyond the bare bones,but it always seemed a very religion specific name to me. In that part I was right,but interesting to learn how important a name it is in Jewish culture.
    I agree it would seem culturally ignorant to use it. It would only take an Internet search to find out as I have.

  5. #19
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    Cohen would be offensive, so I wouldn't use it. But I don't like it when people say those who use it are culturally ignorant. Not everyone Googles a name before they use it, and not everyone is going to know about the ties to Judaism. It's just a human error. Maybe if they used the name knowing it was offensive I would consider them ignorant, but not if they did it accidentally, without realising.
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