Modern Jewish Baby Names Pay Homage to Heritage
Jewish 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 Tanakh, 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 55 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:
Top Modern Jewish Boy Names
Noah and Benjamin lead the pack of popular Jewish boy names in the US, while David, Ariel, and Lavi 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 Tanakh favorites Asher and Levi are rising steeply as names like Jacob and Ethan fall in popularity.
Here, a selection of the top Jewish-American boy names, all within the Top 1000.
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 Golda — Joanie, 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 girl names, below:
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 that 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 list of Jewish Names. But here, a collection of our favorite unique options for boys: