Category: Hebrew baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In the past, a narrow number of Old Testament girls’ names have been in the US Top 1000 every single year on record: Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Judith, Leah, Naomi, Miriam, Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth and Sarah. Some of them actually reached the Top 5— Ruth was #3 in 1893, Judith #4 in 1940, Deborah up at #2 in 1955, Hannah # 2 from 1998 to 2000, and Sarah #3 in 1993.
But why do we usually stop there?
There are many other Old Testament female figures—granted some of them much more minor ones—whose lovely but neglected names have the same religious resonance. For example:
By Hannah Katsman
We recently posted a blog about modern Hebrew names used in Israel; now, on the eve of Hanukkah, we turn to our Israeli correspondent Hannah Katsman, for a little history of the holiday and eight traditional names—one for each day of the holiday– that are still popular, with their standing on the latest lists.
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Greeks who had defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to tradition, only one bottle of pure oil was found to light the menorah (candelabra), yet it miraculously lasted for eight nights. Hanukkah also commemorates the spiritual victory over the materialistic, Hellenistic culture. Traditional foods include potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts, both fried in oil.
Names with Hebrew origins are very popular in the US – Ethan, Noah, Abigail, Sarah – so why not check out some more modern Hebrew choices? Because Israel splits up its statistics by religion, this post will be about Jewish names – perhaps Muslim and Christian posts will follow. Here are some of the most usable.
An excellent alternative to Noah, Noam is somewhat more substantial and has a great meaning – “pleasantness, charm.” Quite a few famous Noams have popped up in history, and it’s particularly associated with the distinguished linguist Noam Chomsky.
Ori is the perfect male complement to the more feminine Ari. It means “my light,” a lovely meaning for any little one. If it seems a bit short, you might try it as a nickname for Orion or Orlando.
By Aviva Rosenberg
As an Orthodox Jew living in America, with family and friends in Israel, my perspective on Hebrew and Hebrew-origin names is very different than the average. You might be surprised to learn that Suri is a traditional Yiddish nickname for Sarah; Jews around the world either laughed or rolled their eyes when Tom and Katie picked it. And Simcha is common among Jews as well (it was my grandfather’s name), so we didn’t blink when Randi Zuckerberg introduced her Simi to the world.
Here are a few things that you may or may not know about Hebrew names, and how Jews, particularly the Orthodox, approach baby naming.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The surprise top name for boys in 2013 was the Old Testament Noah, followed by the not so surprisingly high-on-the-list Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Benjamin, David, Joseph, Joshua and Samuel—in other words many of the same biblical boys’ names that have been recycled for eons.
I thought that today, in commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, we would shake things up a bit and look at some Bible names that aren’t even in the Top 1000, but might be worthy of some consideration