A surprising new survey shows that the top names for German babies are… wait for it… Jewish! Who would’ve thought?!
According to the Deutschlandradio, the most popular boy’s name in 2018 in Germany was Ben. and among the top 10 newborn names, “four boys’ names and five girls’ names have Hebrew origins,” according to the report.
One thing is for sure, most of these babies are not Jewish. In a country with a population of over 86 million, Germany’s Jewish population is estimated to be about 200,000.
The linguist who helped compile the list explained that “few non-Jewish parents actually know the meaning of such names — they just like how they sound.”
Of course, liking the sound of your child’s name is of paramount importance: You’re going to have to say it, in every decibel and in with every intonation possible, for the rest of your life! But I do find it striking that a country where generations ago, many Jews adopted less Jewish names to fit in, Germans are now going gaga for the most quintessentially Jewish names.
In fact, as the report notes, some 90 percent of Jews in Germany come from the former Soviet Union, where having a Jewish name used to be a liability.
Even among those Jews, however, these names are gaining in popularity. As Elena Padva, a German Jewish educator told German radio, in the former Soviet Union, “you always had to expect some kind of harassment… [But] here in Germany you can [choose Jewish names], of course. And many do.”