One of my favorite words in the English language is “penultimate,” meaning (according to Google) “last but one in a series of things.” This is why I have the immense pleasure of saying: We have reached the penultimate article in Kveller’s series on Jewish baby names that start with every letter of the alphabet! Yay!
We are now looking at all the beautiful Jewish baby names that start with the letter “Y.” (We’re skipping through letters “X” and “W,” because, well, there just aren’t any.) And, yes, some of these Y names are Yiddish!
1. Yaara — In Hebrew, Yaara means “woodland” or “honeycomb.” How sweet!
2. Yaira — Though similar sounding to Yaara, this is not the same name! Rather, Yaira means “to enlighten.”
3. Yamima — Of all Jewish baby names, this one might be this author’s favorite. Coming from Hebrew (and also possibly Urdu), Yamima means “little dove.” Isn’t that just the sweetest thing in the world?!
4. Yenta/Yentl — Yenta, Yenta, Yenta! Despite popular misconceptions, the name Yenta doesn’t mean “matchmaker” in Yiddish. Rather, it means “aristocratic” or “noble. (Though, colloquially it can also refer to a gossipy woman.) The same is true for the name Yentl, and both would connect your daughter to “Fiddler On the Roof” and “Yentl.”
5. Yiska — If you want a more Hebraic version of the name Jessica, try Yiska! In Hebrew, Yiska means “foresight.”
6. Yonit — If your baby isn’t a Yamima, maybe she’s a Yonit? In Hebrew, Yonit means “dove.”
7. Yam — Nope, we are not talking about the root vegetable. In Hebrew, the unisex name Yam (pronounced Yah-m) means “sea” or “big body of saltwater.”
8. Yuli — July babies to the front! In Hebrew, Yuli is the pronunciation of the month July. It’s a fairly common name and is sometimes spelled as Yulee.
9. Yaacov — Quoting directly from the Kveller baby name bank, “A truly timeless name, Jacob means ‘to follow’ and honors the biblical patriarch and Isaac’s son. There have been many famous Jewish Jacobs throughout history, but at the forefront of our mind is Jake Gyllenhaal.”
10. Yadon — In Hebrew, Yadon means “God has heard” or “thankful.” In the Hebrew bible, Yadon helped to build the wall of Jerusalem. Yadon is also where the more modern name Jaden comes from!
11. Yamin — In Hebrew, Yamin means right hand. Fun fact: In the Bible, the right hand bestows greater blessing.
12. Yankel — In Yiddish, Yankel means “supplanter.” A cute nickname for Yankel could be Yanky!
13. Yitzhak — How about another Jewish patriarch’s name? In Hebrew, Yitzhak means “laughter” and is the Hebrew version of Isaac. This name could also honor the fifth prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin.
14. Yuval — Nature lovers, look no further. In Hebrew, Yuval means “stream” or “river.”