As the Hebrew year of 5783 came to an end earlier this month, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority released it’s annual list of most popular baby names for the past Jewish year.
Each year, two separate lists are released: the most popular names in the general Israeli population, and the most popular names in the Jewish Israeli population.
In the general Israeli population, the most popular boy’s name remains Mohammad, a common Arab name — with Adam and Yosef, both names also popular among the Arab population, coming in second and third, respectively. As for girl’s names, Abigail and Tamar came in first and second, with the third most popular name being Maryam, or Miriam, another name that’s popular in the Arab sector.
When it comes to the most popular names specifically among Jews in the country, it’s easy to see why these choices rose to the top. Let’s break down this list of beautiful names:
The most popular boys’ names in Israel in 5783:
1. David — No “ew, Davids” here. David remains the most popular name among Jews in Israel, with 846 new babies given this name in the past Jewish year. Maybe because of King David himself, maybe because of artists like David Broza and writer David Grossman, and maybe (though likely not) because “Schitt’s Creek” is still one of the best Jew-ish shows around.
2. Ariel — Meaning “Lion of God,” the name remains popular in Israel, with 814 new Ariels born in 5783.
3. Lavi — Lavi, which means lion (yes, we’ve got two lion names in a row!) used to be more known as a last name, but in recent years, it has been rising in popularity as a first name. Famous Israelis with this name include author Lavie Tidhar and actor Lavi Zitner, who you can see in the show “Asylum City.” 754 Israeli babies were named Lavi in the past Jewish year.
4. Raphael — Raphael continues to be popular among Jews in Israel. Some diminutives include Rafi and Raph. The name of a Jewish angel, it means “healing of God.” 719 babies were given this name in Israel this past year.
5. Uri — Uri, or “my light,” remains a classic Israeli name, with 627 babies named Uri this past year. Rachel the Poetess wrote about naming her dream son Uri in the poem “Barren,” put to music by Achinoam Nini. Famous Israeli Uris may be too many to name, but they include illusionist Uri Geller, who got to hang out with Henry Winkler this year, and Uri Gavriel, who you may know from shows like “Fauda.”
6. Yehuda — The English version of the name Judah, Yehuda was one of Jacob’s sons in the Bible, and the source for the word Yehudi, meaning Jewish. In modern times, Yehuda Levi is one of the dreamiest and most successful Israeli stars, and we can’t wait for his show “Fire Dance” to make it to the U.S. 585 babies received this name this past year.
7. Eitan — Eitan means strong, and is also the name of a poet and wise man from biblical times. 574 babies were given this very solid name in 5783.
8. Daniel — The name means “God has judged” and was given to 544 babies in the past Jewish year. The most famous, or maybe the luckiest, Israeli Daniel right now is soccer player Daniel Peretz, who is not only a goalkeeper for the popular Bayern Munich team, but is also currently dating Israeli pop star Noa Kirel. Of the boys’ names on this list, it’s the most popular one in the U.S. right now, ranking 14th most popular boys’ name in 2022.
9. Moshe — Moshe Dayan was prominently featured in “Golda” this year, but he’s probably not the famous Moshe 536 Israelis named their babies after in 5783. Likely many of them were just inspired by Moses, the hero of the story of Exodus, and if not, maybe by singer Moshe Peretz.
10. Noam — Noam means pleasantness, and 526 Israeli parents gave their babies this very needed name in the past year.
The most popular Jewish girl’s names in Israel in 5783:
1. Avigail — For the second year in a row, Avigail (pronounced avi-gah-eel) is at the top of the list. The name of King David’s wife, which means “my father’s joy” (as all daughters of fathers certainly are), it is a great international contender along with its English equivalent, Abigail (like Abigail Breslin, who got married in a beautiful Jewish ceremony this year). Mazel tov to the 950 new Avigails born this year.
2. Tamar — Tamar, which means date in Hebrew, was a fiercely determined biblical heroine and an ancestor of King David. While the nickname Tami used to be popular in Israel, probably many of the 837 babies given this name will go by their full names, Tamar.
3. Yael — Yael means ibex in Hebrew, and it’s the name of the biblical heroine who killed Sisera during the war with the Canaanites in the Book of Judges. It’s also the name of some pretty well-loved famous Israelis, including model Yael Shelbia and actresses Yael Grobglas and Yael Goldman. The 694 girls given this name the past Jewish year are pretty lucky.
4. Noa — Noa remains one of the most popular Israeli names, and this year, especially so, probably due to legendary Israeli pop star Noa Kirel, who made it to third place at the Eurovision with her song “Unicorn,” which American gymnast Simone Biles recently performed to. Go Noa — and all 635 Noas born this year!
5. Sarah — The name of the first matriarch remains a classic in Israel and even in the U.S., where it has ranked in the top 100 most popular names for over a century. This year, 596 girls in Israel were given this name. We love many Jewish American celebrities with this name, from Sarah Silverman to Sarah Jessica Parker. The most famous Israeli Sarah is probably Israeli first lady Sara Netanyahu.
6. Libby — Libby means “my heart,” and it’s such a sweet, sweet name. It’s featured in the popular Israeli song “Achoti Haktana” (My Little Sister) by Matti Caspi, and is the name of a new popular Israeli middle grade book series by author Hadas Leibowitz. 573 girls were named Libby this past Jewish year.
8. Adel — Adel(e) is a pretty popular name in Israel right now, maybe thanks to model Adel Bespalov. Adel means noble or nobility. In Hebrew, it stands for “esh dat lamo” — “a fiery law unto them,” in reference to the Torah, and was the name of the daughter of the founder of Hasidim, the Baal Shem Tov. 552 new Adels were born in Israel this past Jewish year.
9. Lia — Lia means “to me, God,” and it’s also the Israeli version of the American version of Leah (yes, confusing!). In Hebrew, the name Leah is pronounced leh-ah, while Lia is just an emulation of the English pronunciation of the name — lee-ah. Famous Israeli Lias and Leas include actress Lea Koenig, who at age 93, is still headlining her own theater shows, and soccer player Lia Barkai. 548 new baby girls were given the name Lia in 5783.
10. Ella — Ella means goddess and also terebinth tree, and it’s a new top 10 contender this year. It’s the name of a popular Shalom Chanoch song, and also of Israeli pop singer Ella Lee. 528 baby girls got this gorgeous name this year.