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Jewish baby names

These Yiddish Baby Names Are Just So Lovely

yiddishnames

Everything old is new again. And Yiddish, the Jewish language of Germanic origins that we typically associate with our grandparents — those of us of Ashkenazi origins, at least —  is truly having a moment. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the popularity of recent Yiddish theater productions like Indecent and The Fiddler on the Roof. There’s also a new, Yiddish language TV show starring Shira Haas of Shtisel fame in production by Netflix — YES! — and there’s a real possibility that a dual-language Yiddish-English program will launch at a New York City public school.

Want to get in on the Yiddish action? Here at Kveller, we think that Yiddish names are where it’s at. Yiddish names are truly beautiful, unique, and meaningful. They’re also a wonderful way to keep this language alive. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Hebrew name to use for Jewish lifecycle events or a unique name for your little one, here are some Yiddish names worth considering.

Boys’ Names:

Anshel — Anshel is the Yiddish version of the Hebrew boys’ name Asher, which is a combination of “joy” and “affirmation.”

Alter — Alter means “old.” The name is a sort of omen, expressing the wish that a child should live a long life.

Feivish — Feivish means “shinning” or “light.” Names that allude to light are popular in Judaism, and are especially great for babies born around Hanukkah.

Feivel — Fievel means “bright.” Fievel is the mouse hero of the animated cult classic, An American Tail.

Fischel — Fishel means “little fish.”

Hersch/Hirsch — This name means “deer.” The Hebrew version of this name is Tzvi.

Herschel — A diminutive of Hersch; it means “little deer.”

Lieb — This name means “lion.” The lion is believed to symbolize the tribe of Judah.

Liebel — A diminutive of Lieb, this name also means “lion.”

Mendel — Mendel means “he who comforts.”

Motke  — Motke is the Yiddish version of Mordechai, Queen Esther’s uncle and one of the heroes of the Purim story.

Sholem — Sholem means “peace,” and is the Yiddish version of Shalom. A famous Sholem is Sholem Aleichem, the pen name of the beloved Yiddish writer born Sholem Rabinovitz.

Tevye/Tevya —Tevye means “good.” Of course, the most famous Tevye of all is the patriarch from our favorite Jewish musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

Velvel — Velvel means “wolf.”

Yankel — Yankel is a diminutive of Jacob, which means “to follow.” In the bible, Jacob is the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Yudel — Yudel means “praised.”

Zalman — Zalman means “peace.” 

Zelig — Zelig means “blessed” or “holy.” Some see it as the Yiddish equivalent of Asher.

Zisse — Zisse means “sweet.”

Girls’ Names:

Alte — Alte means “old.” The name is a sort of omen, expressing the wish that a child should live a long life.

Bluma – Bluma means “bloom” or “flower.”

Blima — Blima means “blossom.”

Breindel — Breindel means “brunette.” It’s a great name for a baby born with a thick head of brown hair!

Eidel – Eidel means “gentle” or “refined.” It’s the Yiddish version of the Hebrew name Adinah.

Faiga/Faigy — Faigy means “little bird.”

Fruma — Fruma means “righteous.”

Freida/Frayda/Frida — Freida means “joy.”

Fraydel — The diminutive of Frayda, this girl’s name means “joy.”

Gitte/Gitta — Gitte means “good.”

Gittel — The diminutive of gitte. Gittel means “good.” One of the main characters from the popular show Shtisel is named Gittel and nicknamed “Gitti.”

Golda/Golde — Golda means “gold,” of course! A famous Golda from history is Golda Meir, the first female prime minister of Israel.

Henya — Henya means “grace.” The Hebrew version of this name is Chen.

Hinda — Hinda means “deer.”

Hindel — A diminutive of Hinda, Hindel means “deer.”

Kayla  — Kayla means “crown” and “laurel.”

Kreindel — Kreindel means “crown.”

Perl — Perl means “pearl.” The Hebrew version of this name is Pnina.

Minah — Minah means “peaceful.”

Mindel — Mindel means “peaceful” or “rest.”

Mirele — Mirele means “rising water.”

Pesha — Pesha Yiddish version of Batya, which means “daughter of God.”

Raysel — Raysel means “rose.”

Reyna — Reyna means “pure” and “clean.”

Shayna — Shayna means “beautiful.”

Toibe/Toiba — Toibe means “dove.” The Hebrew version of this name is Yonah.

Zelda — Zelda means “blessed;” it’s the feminine version of Zelig.

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