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Modern Jewish Baby Names Pay Homage to Heritage

April 8, 2020 Sophie Kihm
Modern Jewish Names

Jewish baby names are complex — there’s no single definition of what makes a Jewish name Jewish. Depending on who you ask, you will get different examples. Names from the Torah, like Miriam and Yosef, are considered Jewish, as are names currently popular in Israel, including Libi and Oz.

Yiddish names such as Malka and Moishe were used by Ashkenazi Jews of Europe. Their immigrant ancestors often adopted such non-Jewish names as Molly and Morris, which would later become widespread across Jewish communities.

Young Jewish-Americans may consider Jewish names to be those that hit their peak a generation or two ago, like Rachel and Sarah, Joshua and Max.

In honor of Passover, we’re looking at the best modern Jewish baby names — contemporary choices and candidates for revival — that will help you honor your heritage in a stylish way.

Top Modern Jewish Girl Names

Each of these names out of context could belong to a girl of any religious or cultural background. But taken together, it feels like a roster from the preschool class at your local JCC.

Maya, Number 61 in the US, is the second most common name for Jewish girls in Israel, following Tamar. Aria is one of the most common Jewish girl names in the US, though this is largely propagated by gentile use — along with Hebrew, Aria has roots in Italian.

Jewish celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Bar Refaeli have drawn attention to their daughters’ names, Amalia and Liv. And Noa is a name that’s rising internationally among Jewish and non-Jewish families alike.

Below, popular and up-and-coming girl names among Jewish-American families:

Alma

Amalia

Aria

Ariella

Celia

Eliana

Esther

Evie

Iris

Ivy

Lilah

Liv

Maya

Nina

Noa

Rose

Ruby

Ruth

Sadie

Zelda

Top Modern Jewish Boy Names

Noah and Benjamin lead the pack of popular Jewish boy names in the US, while David, Ariel, and Noam top the list in Israel.

We’re seeing a resurgence of old Jewish man names like Ira and Mordechai, both of which broke back into the US Top 1000 in 2018. (Could Irving and Moishe be next?). And Torah favorites Asher and Levi are being revived as names like Jacob and Ethan fall in popularity.

Here, a selection of the top Jewish-American boy names, all within the Top 1000.

Ari

Amos

Asa

Asher

Benjamin

Eli

Elias

Emmett

Ezra

Ira

Jonah

Jude

Levi

Micah

Mordechai

Nathan

Noah

Oz

Solomon

Zev

Unique Modern Jewish Girl Names

If you’d rather your daughter not be the second Sadie in Hebrew school, there are plenty of unique Jewish names to suit every style and taste.

Vintage nickname names ready for revival are plentiful, including Goldie — historically used as a nickname for GoldaJoanie, and Marnie. Or you might prefer Hebrew names that are trendy in Israel, like Liel, Romi, and Yael.

A name like Avielle would be super stylish on a Jewish-American girl and fits right in with more common names like Ava, Aviana, and Annabelle. Shalom is another great option and doubles as a modern word name.

Our favorite unique Jewish names for girls, below:

Allegra

Avielle

Aviva

Gaia

Goldie

Ida

Joanie

Kelilah

Keziah

Liel

Marnie

Minnie

Miri

Oriana

Raia

Romi

Shalom

Shoshanna

Tillie

Yael

Unique Modern Jewish Boy Names

You probably went to the bar mitzvahs of at least three different Daniels, and likely an Adam or two. Even though the top names are used with less frequency each year, it’s situations like these than can make parents seek out a unique name for their child.

Many of these names work as substitutions for some of the top Jewish boy names. Try Lev or Zevi instead of Levi, trade Noah for Noam, or swap Jaco for Jacob. Jewish surnames like Haskell, Wolf, and Fischer are a modern way to reflect Jewish heritage (search your family tree!).

For even more Jewish names, be sure to check out our brand new list of 500+ Jewish baby names. But here, a collection of our favorite unique options for boys:

Adler

Admon

Boaz

Bram

Ever

Fischer

Haskell

Isidore

Jaco

Jory

Lev

Lior

Moss

Noam

Omri

Paz

Tobin

Wolf

Yarden

Zevi

Which are your favorite modern Jewish baby names? Jewish parents — what are your children named?

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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