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Thread: Cohen

  1. #1

    Cohen

    My husband recently suggested Cohen for a boy and I’m shocked because I really love it! (We rarely agree on names).

    After looking it up here on NB, though, there was a note that it could be slightly offensive toward the Hebrew/Jewish communities because it means “priest” and/or is tied to a lineage of priesthood.

    On paper, I think I prefer the Cohen spelling, but being that this little red flag has risen, I’m wondering if Coen would be a safer bet.

    What do you think? Would you associate Cohen in any sort of specific, religious, or offensive way? What spelling do you prefer? Does Coen look wearable?

    Side note: we are Christians and really hold the tenants and followers of Judaism in high regard so while I sort of love the nod to priesthood, I certainly don’t want to be tone-deaf if this is a widely understood “no-no” name (for lack of a better phrase).

    Thanks!
    taylor.



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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Personally, as a Jew, I wouldn't find anything offensive about it. We don't consider this a first-name at all (though it's a very common last name due to family heritage,) so it's not like it's an auspicious first-name choice only given to some people.

    If I'd hear you call your son Cohen in the park, or see it on paper I'd either assume:
    1. You don't know the Jewish significance, so it doesn't make a difference
    2. You didn't realize that it's not really given as a first-name

    It's not like you are naming your child "G-d."

    That's my 2 cents

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    I'm also Jewish and I second pretty much everything that @flamingo said.
    If I saw or heard someone call a child named Cohen at the park or out and about I might roll my eyes a little and assume you hadn't done any research, but I definitely wouldn't be offended.
    It's closer to calling your kid Pharisee or Apostle.

    I find it probably slightly weirder *because* you're Christians. Because, as Flamingo said, it's not at all a given first name in Judaism because of it's important lineage meaning, so using it while still holding the Old Testament teachings seems a bit strange. The sons of Aaron became the Cohenim if you like Aaron with the priest link?

    Another spelling is Cowen, if you're not sold on Coen.
    Overall, it's not offensive, it's just a bit strange because it's just not at all a given first name within Judaism so it's odd to see it being used that way. Strange but not culturally insensitive, in my opinion. All it really does is scream 'we're not Jewish' :P
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Not religious and not super familiar with Judaism to speak on whether naming your child Cohen would be offensive or in poor taste. I just wanted to say that Coen personally seems a little incomplete, like a contraction. It reminds me of "co-op" for some reason. However, if I met a Coen, I probably wouldn't think twice about the spelling now that it's associated with a real person, especially because I know a Roen. I saw Koen on the page for Coen, and I really like Koen!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    I know several Cohens and none have ever run into any problems regarding their name. A couple of them are from Christian families, too.

    I think Kohen is the best alternative, personally.

    (I am in Australia though, and I think it's more common here)
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