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:
1. Names that are from the Bible in Hebrew or Yiddish such as Chana.
2. Lesser-known names from the Bible that have a trendier feel such as Noa.
3. Israel/modern Hebrew names such as Talia.
4. Americanized versions of biblical names such as Rachel.
5. Names that are popular in the American Jewish community, but are not Jewish per se, such as Sophie.
I’m focusing on girls’ names here because we have another Kveller baby girl to name. Contributing Editor Jordana Horn is expecting her fifth child, a baby girl, and she wants my help (and yours!) coming up with a great name. Jordana prefers not to use her kids’ real names in her work so I can’t share that information with you. I will say that her four kids’ names fall mainly into the category of Israeli/modern Hebrew, but she seems open to feminized versions of biblical names as well. It would probably not work for Jordana to throw a Rebecca or Judith into the mix.
As far as other naming factors that will help narrow down the name choices, I can tell you that Jordana and her husband are not naming this baby for a relative, nor do they tend towards gender-neutral names. I do wonder if they would be open to some Yiddish choices so I put a few on my list below.
So let’s get to work Kveller readers! You’ll see my suggestions below and please add your own in the comments.
–Adina, Aliza, Aviva, Avital (I’ve always loved the Hebrew ‘A’ names.)
–Dalia (Perhaps it’s less common these days than the more trendy Talia?)
-Laila, Liat, Libby, Lilach (My close friend is Libby, a name chosen by her Israeli mom, Adina.)
-Miri (as in Miriam), Maytal (The beautiful name of my Israeli sister-in-law.)
–Talia, Tamar, Tova (Or use the Yiddish version Toba and call her Tobi.)
Kveller readers: What other suggestions do you have for Jordana?
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