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Jun 17 2014

A Baby Naming? For a Boy?

By at 1:20 pm

baby-naming-for-a-boy

I glanced at the invitation, stroking a finger over the shiny silver and blue stripes. The teddy bear applique was sweet. I looked at the date and sighed. If it were almost anyone else in the world, I would have sent my regrets and a thoughtful gift. Attending this party required a 600-mile round trip with a 3-year-old and a toddler, and would be bookended by close-of-the-school-year madness. The idea alone was exhausting. I massaged the bridge of my nose.

I knew we had to go. This baby naming was hosted by one of my husband’s closest friends. They had grown up together, through high school and college, into careers and relationships. They served as best men at each other’s weddings. (His wife is actually the reason my marriage is legal. When my overwhelmed fiancé left our marriage license at home, she sped to retrieve it before the start of the ceremony.) Our firstborn daughters are three months apart, and they are already friends. They talk sometimes over Skype, proud dads grinning in the background.

I glanced at the invitation again. Wait a minute–a baby naming? For a boy? Read the rest of this entry →

May 12 2014

Don’t Know What to Name Your Baby? There’s a Kveller App for That

By at 12:30 pm

Kveller Jewish Baby Name App

Becoming a parent comes with many challenges, one of the first ones being choosing the perfect name that will honor tradition, sound unique but not too unique, and help form this child’s identity for the rest of her life.

No biggie, right?

We’re here to make this grueling but important process a bit easier with the launch of our very first app, Kveller Jewish Baby Names. Now you can search through our extensive Jewish baby name bank on the go, from the comfort of your iPhone or iPad.

The app lets you scroll through both English, Hebrew, and Yiddish names, learn the names’ origins, keep track of your favorites, and read through fun name lists. And for those feeling extra brave, the “Name My Baby For Me” button does not disappoint.

The best part? The app is FREE! So head on over to the iTunes store today, download, and enjoy!

DOWNLOAD THE FREE APP HERE.

This app was produced with the generous help of G-dcast. Check out some of their other fun apps for kids here.

Jan 20 2014

Need Some Naming Inspiration? Here Are the Top Israeli Baby Names

By at 11:51 am

shalom nametag

If you’re pregnant and looking for some baby name inspiration, or simply love crafting names for imaginary babies that live inside your head (not that we would know about that), take some tips from the Holy Land. The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics’s recently released their list of the most popular Israeli baby names of 2012 (yes, it’s currently 2014, but who are we to complain?).

While these names are obviously common in Israel, they can be unique and meaningful for a kid growing up in the United States. OK, maybe not Sarah and David, but you get the point.

Without further ado, here they are. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2013

How the Non-Jewish Mom Plans the Baby Naming Ceremony

By at 10:10 am

nametag with question mark

As if the holidays are not busy enough for our interfaith family, we have decided to do our daughters’ naming ceremonies in December.

When we had our first daughter we were undecided on how we were going to raise her and what sacraments/traditions she would practice. After our second daughter was born we decided to expose our daughters to both faiths. More specifically, we became members of a synagogue and we plan on having them attend Hebrew school when they are older.

At the age you would typically plan for a naming ceremony, my youngest was hospitalized with RSV. She continued to have some breathing issues for a few months, so we postponed the naming until her 1st birthday. Since my eldest never had a naming ceremony, we thought it would be nice to do one ceremony for both the girls. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 14 2013

Name the Next Kveller Baby, Again

By at 10:12 am

itsagirl

The words “We need help thinking of a good ‘Jewishy’ name for our baby,” arrive in my inbox from time to time. After writing about the baby names I would use if we were having more kids, as well the situation that resulted in my husband taking over the naming of our fourth child, I have made myself known as a baby name fanatic. When people ask for my advice, I tackle the job with dedication and pure joy.

My baby naming “career” began when Kveller’s editor, Deborah Kolben, wanted ideas for her second daughter. One of the names I offered was Romi. She used it, and even though she probably had it on her list already, I like to pretend that I really did name Deborah’s baby.

For Deborah and for Kveller’s readers, I identified five categories that I believe Jewish parents consciously, or in many cases, subconsciously use when they’re looking for “Jewishy” names for their kids. Those categories are: Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 6 2012

I Was Embarrassed of My Hebrew Name

By at 11:35 am

a necklace“How do you pronounce it? Ah-vee-tle? Ah-vie-tle?”

“It’s pronounced Ah-vee-TAHL.”

“Ah-vittle?”

“Ah-vee-TAHL.”

“Oh…yeah. I get it. That’s pretty.”

I always dreaded the first day of class from ninth grade on. Because on that first day you had to sit through roll call–where they ran down the list, calling out students one at a time, checking off attendance and putting faces to names. It shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. But my name? It always seemed to cause a stumbling block for folks, at least outside the Jewish community. Before entering the public school system, I attended a Schechter elementary and middle school where the name Avital never caused anyone to bat an eye. But once outside that comfortable Jewish space? There was no telling how my name would be butchered. Usually, teachers would mess it up a few times before I had to pipe up to correct them, drawing the stares of everyone in class. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 16 2012

Choosing a Name: Celebrity vs. Normal People Edition

By at 11:23 am

jessica simpson maxwell drew

I’m no celebrity, so there is no pressure on me to come up with something overly cute or different or otherwise conversation-provoking to name my baby (hello, Maxwell Drew, Penelope Scotland, Aleph, and Apple). But there is pressure. I think naming a child is one of the biggest pains in my pregnancy-expanded ass.

You know those girls who dream of their wedding dresses and act out ceremonies? Yeah, that wasn’t me. But I did stick dolls under my dress and dream of one day getting to name a baby. Until I got pregnant. Choosing and disclosing the name for my daughter brought me more grief than the first post-C-section poop. Let’s just say that the response from certain people in my inner circle was not the one I had hoped for. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2012

Fighting Over Baby Names

By at 4:40 pm

hello my name is blankI had to laugh when I read Ariel’s post from yesterday about not finding out the gender of their child. Similarly, we are also very superstitious and waited until over 17 weeks to announce our pregnancy with my firstborn and over 14 weeks with this one. We don’t tell anyone what we’re naming our children before they are born and never refer to the unborn child by said name. Those are pretty much the only secrets I’ve ever kept in my entire life. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 16 2012

How Martin Luther King Helped Name My Daughter

By at 9:01 am

martin luther kingIt took my husband and I under a minute to pick a name for our oldest son.

I said, “Adam?”

He said, “Adam!”

That was easy. My husband noted, “People will think we wanted a Jewish name, opened the Bible to the first page and said: There, good enough.”

It took us until I was actually filling out the birth certificate at the hospital to pick a name for our second son.

Gregory. (Hebrew name: Barak.)

Ultimately, he turned out to be so different in temperament from his brother that we wonder why we even bothered giving him his own moniker. Within minutes of meeting him, people are wont to burst out, “He’s certainly Not Adam!”

We should have just called him that.

With my daughter, the naming process was complicated by the fact that, for the first twenty weeks, I was sure I was having another boy. And for the second, by my conviction that she’d be born early.

My oldest was born four weeks ahead of schedule. His brother two weeks. I felt certain their baby sister would not be born on her due date: Martin Luther King Day. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicion I’d be delivering on Christmas, all alone in a staff-free hospital with tumbleweeds blowing by to add to the ghost-town effect. (As we were finally walking to the hospital on that very cold day in January, I told my husband, “This is the most pregnant I’ve ever been in my life!”)

We went through a whole list of girls’ names–and by we, I mean, me; my husband did not offer forth suggestions, he merely systematically vetoed mine.

For a while there, we seemed to have settled on Scarlett. But, I’ll admit, I pulled the plug on that one. At the last minute, I just didn’t have the balls to saddle a little African-American girl with the name Scarlett. (Though, subsequently, I did learn that, these days, it’s much more likely to invoke Johansson, than O’Hara.)

So there we were, at the hospital with our newborn, nameless baby daughter. On Martin Luther King Day.

It was my brother (also named Martin, and a mythology buff) who made a comment about the name Martin coming from Mars, the Roman god of war. And that Mars’ Greek equivalent was Ares.

Cue the epiphany!

“Ares?” I looked at my husband.

“Ares!”

But, then we took it a step further. We’d agreed from the start that the baby’s middle name would be Camille, after my husband’s late grandmother.

So: Ares Camille.

Put it together and you get: Arielle, her Hebrew name. (I know, it’s a long, winding way to get there. Believe me, I know.)

Which is how, five years ago, my family ended up with a little girl named after the god of war… and a man of peace.

I figured if he could overcome the contradiction, so could she.

Nov 29 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Toddler

By at 10:24 am

My 21-month-old son is the light of my life. He is kind, loving, giving and he takes a three hour nap everyday without fail. He is a quiet, gentle soul that speaks to me in ways I cannot explain. He shares his toys without hesitation, he freely gives hugs and kisses and wants nothing more than my love and attention. I, on the other hand, have a huge personality and practically bounded out of the womb dancing and singing.  My husband and I wonder repeatedly how this sweet soul was ever created from the combination of our candid and mildly abrasive DNA.

I hesitate to even write this next part, for fear of sounding like a “tiger mom” or worse have it seem like I am less than enamored with any aspect of my sweet son. But, over the past few months, I’ve wished my son were a little more fearless.

It took my little one 17 months to muster up the courage to walk. He doesn’t run, jump or climb and he is thoughtful and cautious at the playground, and with everything he does. Just last week he was pushed down the slide by a burly 10-month-old girl. He sat at the bottom, tears streaming as she whizzed past him at twice his walking speed.  And instead of scooping him up and smothering him with kisses and Mama fuss about how that little girl shouldn’t have pushed him, my husband and I looked at each other and laughed. We laughed after our twig of a boy was manhandled by a chick half his age.

I know we must seem like insensitive parents and while most days I do assume the role of “helicopter parent” or “referee” that afternoon I just wished my kid would haul off and push someone. I wish he would snatch back a toy at playgroup, instead of passively finding something else to play with. I want him to explode with giggly energy; running, jumping and playing until he passes out from exhaustion. After a day where he’s been pushed, shoved and had every toy he tried to play with ripped away by another toddler, I sit and pray for the strength to not strangle another mother’s child. Read the rest of this entry →

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