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Yiddish Names

Yiddish baby names came close to being extinct at one point, but now are undergoing a revival along with the Yiddish language and a fashion for vintage names with personal meanings. Jewish parents may want to honor an ancestor with a Yiddish name or simply find names for a son or daughter that honor the Yiddish language as a component of their Jewish heritage.

Browse all of Nameberry's Yiddish names, originally brought to the US a century or more ago by Ashkenazic Jews immigrating from Germany and Eastern Europe, on the complete roster here. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.

MosheHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew variation of Moses
  • Description:

    An older generation name still used by Conservative Jews. In the past it was translated to names like Morris, Moe and Maurice.

ChayaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, feminine version of Chayyim meaning "life"
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    A life-affirming choice—just beware pronunciation issues among the goyim in your neighborhood.

CharnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Yiddish
  • Meaning:

    "dark, black"
  • Description:

    Popular name in Israel, worth considering for a dark-haired daughter with a bit of a bohemian cast.

ChavaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    The Biblical form of Eve. English speakers may find the forms Ava or Eve easier in everyday life, but Chava is a lovely variation for a family that speaks Hebrew or Yiddish.

HavaHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern variation of Eve
  • Description:

    English speakers might be tempted to riff on this name via puns on the homonphone "have a". But as teasing potentials go, it's a mild one.

ItaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "thirst"
  • Description:

    The name of one of the most famous medieval Irish saints, who was known as "the foster-mother of the saints," and founded a nunnery in the county of Limerick. Might be of interest to someone looking for an unusual 3-letter name.

FraydaHeart

  • Origin:

    Yiddish
  • Meaning:

    "joy"
  • Description:

    An old favorite in traditional Jewish families.

GoldieHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized form of Yiddish Golde or Golda
  • Description:

    More Sadie than Sadie, this old canasta player--somewhat modernized and energized by Goldie Hawn--looks like it could be making a comeback. It was recently chosen for her daughter by Ione Skye and Ben Lee, as well as by shoemeister Steve Madden.

YettaHeart

  • Origin:

    Yiddish
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Too close to yenta.

YehuditHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew variation of Judith
  • Description:

    Stuck in the Old Country.