Category: Hebrew baby names
They know their style: a mix of cool, classic names and rich meanings. But after successfully naming their first son and daughter, they could use some help with baby number three!
For our daughter, I interpret the names’ meanings as “clearly whole,” a nod to the work of Brené Brown and her concept of living “wholeheartedly.” Claire is also the name of the main character in the first book my husband gave me when we started dating, A Time Traveler‘s Wife.
For girl names, we like Lauren Elizabeth, but I fear Lauren seems dated. There are other Elizabeths in the immediate family which is why we are hesitating to consider it as a first name. Our last name starts with a J, and ends with a –son.
Can you suggest any empowering and cool classics for baby #3?
The Name Sage replies:
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 baby 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.