Jeremy Allen White of “The Bear” and “Shameless” fame is not Jewish, but that didn’t stop him and his estranged wife, actress Addison Timlin, who is also, as far as we know, not a Jew, from giving their eldest daughter an extremely rare and quite beautiful Jewish name.
Ezer Billie was born in 2018 — the first child of both Timlin and White, who met on set while working together on the movie “Afterschool,” and had been fairly private about their relationship before her birth. The couple, who announced their separation in May of last year, also have a younger daughter named Dolores.
The name Ezer is usually a boy’s name, and in itself, is somewhat uncommon. Coming from the same root as Ezra, the name means “help” or “aid” in Hebrew, and is the name of multiple biblical figures. Ezer Wiezman was notably the name of Israel’s 7th president. According to Nameberry, “only five baby boys were named Ezer in 2021, and though the name is technically unisex, no baby girls.” Ezer Griffiths was also the name of a Welsh physicist, but that’s mostly it as far as famous Ezers.
Ezer is, however, also the biblical word used to describe the creation of women.
In the book Genesis, it says that God created Eve because it is not good for man to be alone, and so he makes him an “ezer ke’negdo,” an aid or helper against him or in front of him — or, as it is often translated, a helpmate.
There are many interpretations of the use of these two words together, and about what they mean about the role of women. The term doesn’t necessarily imply subservience or even docility — an aid, after all, can be adversarial and antagonistic and speak up when you’re following your worst instincts. It is even sometimes used as word for military aid in the bible, and also in reference to help given by God himself.
The name does imply some level of wisdom and benevolence, and in yearly odes from Timlin to her daughter, it does seem she sees her as wise and miraculous, and is herself a pretty fierce independent woman.
We don’t know why the couple chose this incredibly unusual Hebrew name for their kid, or if there’s some sort of non-Hebrew meaning to the name that we’re not aware of, but as the home to a Jewish baby name bank, we love being challenged by a Hebrew name we weren’t expecting. We’re definitely here to say “yes, chef!” to more baby Ezers in the world.