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Sep 11 2014

10 Tips for Naming a Jewish Baby, Inspired by Scarlett Johansson

By at 2:24 pm

Scarlett-jo

Word on the street is that Scarlett Johansson has named her baby daughter Rose.

I love this name. I’d better: It’s my second daughter’s name. And I take baby naming seriously. I have strong opinions about the names we choose for our children, because that’s what happens when your full name is Carla George Naumburg and you have to spend your entire life explaining to people that:

a) Yes, it is possible for a white girl to spell her name with a C rather than a K. (My mother is half-Italian, so calm down, people!) Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 5 2014

ScarJo Welcomes Baby Girl, Rose Dorothy!

By at 12:59 pm

Scarjo-baby

A huge mazel tov is in order–or should we say felicitations?

Scarlett Johansson (with a little help from her French journalist Romain Dauriac) just birthed a French-Jewish baby girl in New York City–presumably with gorgeous voluptuous lips like her mom.

The baby has the most adorable old person’s name, Rose Dorothy (coincidently two Golden Girls), named for Scarlett’s grandmother, whom the actress has described as “the first Francophone in my family.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 13 2014

WATCH: Robin Williams Explains Why He Named His Daughter Zelda

By at 1:39 pm

Robin-Williams-Instagram

Here at Kveller, we love to talk about baby names, especially Jewish ones. And if there’s one thing for certain, any name that begins with a Z is automatically awesome. Take Zelda. It means “happiness” in Yiddish, it’s the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famously difficult wife, and the name of the princess in the “The Legend of Zelda” video game series.

It’s also the name of Robin Williams’ daughter, who was named for the video game Zelda. The actor, who passed away Monday, was a well-known gamer and active in online gaming forums. Robin explained to Game News that the name occurred to him while his first wife was pregnant and they were playing the classic game together.

Watch Robin and Zelda tell the story of her name in the sweetest video ever: Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2014

Watch Maggie Gyllenhaal Learn Her REAL Hebrew Name

By at 1:03 pm

Maggie-real-name

Maggie Gyllenhaal just learned her own name–and it’s super-Jewish.

On “Live with Kelly & Michael,” Maggie revealed that she had no idea her given name was not actually Maggie until she decided to take husband Peter Sarsgaard’s last name in addition to her own. Her parents rummaged around for a birth certificate and found that–surprise!–Maggie is, in fact, short for Margalit.

According to Kveller’s Jewish name bank, Margalit is Hebrew for pearl. How pretty!

WATCH Margalit explain the whole name snafu to Kelly Ripa:

We still love you, Margalit, or whatever your name is….

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Jan 7 2014

And We Thought “Aiven Gray” was Unique

By at 10:05 am

two aiven grays

Cara and her husband Alex thought they had chosen a unique and meaningful name for their son that no other kid in class would have. Turns out, after doing some Internet searches for “Aiven Gray,” they stumbled upon another baby with the same name. They tracked down Dina (the mama), and the below you’ll find the two musing on their naming coincidence. 

Cara’s Story

aiven gray

Around four years ago I threw out the birth control. My fiancée and I decided to leave it to chance, and while we played family roulette in the din of moonlight, we would throw potential baby names out into the universe. Alex’s family is from Argentina, so he would propose Latino names. I was not familiar with any of them and my frustration grew with each suggestion, which in turn frustrated him with my “cultural insensitivity.”

In truth, he and I wanted to honor our dearly departed family members by naming our children after them, so I think most of his suggestions were made in jest. My father passed away when I was 4 and Alex’s mother passed away when he was 7. We had also both lost our beloved grandmothers somewhat recently. But as much as we loved our bubbes, we thought it only fitting that we should honor our parents first: Alvin and Graciela. 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 →

May 4 2012

Choosing a Name: Too Goyish vs. Too… Biblical

By at 9:35 am

Figuring out a name took us a while...

Now that we’re nearing the sixth month of our pregnancy, my husband and I finally feel safe enough to try to settle on a name. I had suffered a miscarriage with my last pregnancy and didn’t want to do ANYTHING prematurely this time around. So, around month four, we started thinking about names for both boys and girls.

First came the issue of whether or not we were going to give the baby a Jewish name. We’re an interfaith couple, but my husband has no strong ties to any religion and 99% of the time defers to Judaism when it comes to life law, at least as long as we’ve been together (10+ years). That pretty much means that he’s never been a regular church-goer in his childhood, and always comes with me to High Holy Days, Passover, and the occasional Shabbat service. 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.

Jul 27 2011

New Quiz: Jewish Names

By at 1:47 pm

We’re rolling out yet another pop quiz for our Kveller readers today. This one is to test your knowledge on the ever important topic of names. From the biblical to the Yiddish to the modern Israeli names, this quiz will be especially handy if you’re currently trying to figure out what to call your little peanut (and we don’t recommend Peanut.) You can study up before hand at our Hebrew baby name bank or just fly by the seat of your pants. Either way, let us know how you do!

Take the QUIZ now!


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