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Thread: Cohen?

  1. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by amberdaydream View Post
    Thanks for letting me know.

    I wonder if the name Cohen is to Judaism what the name Jesus is to Christianity (I mean this in terms of whether people would be offended or not.) I think Jesus is a good example of a name that would offend some, but not all. It doesn't offend a Christian friend of mine, or her family - she once pointed out to me that Joshua is what Jesus was actually called, and people have no problem with using Joshua. In Arabic-speaking countries, Isa (Arabic form of Jesus) is not unheard of. And, of course, the Spanish use Jesus in their own pronunciation. But I guess Cohen doesn't have these kinds of arguments to back up its usage.

    What I meant by my first comment, just to clarify for everyone, is that I would probably sympathise with any parents who used Cohen and then found out it was offensive. Imagine how guilty you would feel if you found out what you named your child would offend people. Of course, if parents named their kid Cohen knowing full well it could cause offence, I'd think they were maybe just a bit insensitive and not very considerate of how this might affect the kid.
    Whether or not to naming a child Jesus is considered offensive is more tied to culture than the universal religion. It is acceptable in Latino cultures to do this, but it is offensive/disrespectful in other cultures/countries. I think this points to how important it is to name a child with sensitivity to the surrounding culture and with sensitivity to the culture the child will be growing up in. I have to agree with the pp that the American approach to sort of "do whatever we feel like"/act very independently can contribute to this issue becoming well, an issue. A little sensitivity and cultural context can go a long way.

    I also have to agree that nowadays, we really should do our research on names. I understand that some folks may be unaware of a name's "baggage", but there's less of a reason for that these days and it could save you some regrets down the road.

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I have been wondering why I have never heard of the word kohanim or cohen in the Bible, and I have just discovered that the word does not exist in the Christian Bible because it is translated as 'priest'.

    So to be fair to the non Jewish population (at least here in Australia), we have never heard of the word cohen (let alone kohanim) used in a religious sense, so that explains why non Jews would not understand the connection with the name Cohen.

    I hope that puts some clarity into the discussion and end to the discussion too, because I know I was quite baffled until I realised that the word had been translated as priest not cohen/kohanim.

    Psalm 23

  3. #30

    "This name has two distinct possible origins, the first being a Jewish name from the Hewbrew "Kohen", a priest. However not all Jews bearing this name belong to the priestly caste, descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses, as several members of the faith changed their name to Cohen to avoid forced military service in the Russian army, priests being the only males exempt from service.

    The second possibility is that Cohen is an Anglicized form of two Gaelic Irish surnames - O Cadhain of Connacht, and O Comhdhain of Ulster. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal bynames "Cadhan" meaning "wild goose" and "Comhdan", a shared gift. Further Anglicezed forms of these names include Cowen, Coen, Coyne, Cohan, Cohn, Cohani, Cahani etc.."

    From The Book of Irish Families, Great & Small

    "Families of the names of Cohen and Coen, are traditionally given to be of Irish extracting when found in Ireland, despite the similarity of the Jewish name of Cohen."

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