Baby Names: Hebrew Baby Name Ideas For Boys And Girls

Need a Hebrew or Yiddish baby name? Mazal tov! Here are some baby name ideas from both Jewish tradition and modern practice.

There are varied customs among the different Jewish communities for naming a baby. For Jews of European descent, it is considered taboo to name a child after a living relative.For Jews of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern descent, however, this practice is often viewed as a good sign for the person after whom the child is being named - whether that person is living or deceased.

Among Chassidic Jews, or Jews that have a Chassidic background in their family, it is common to have a paired name.Thus it is not unheard of for a child to have the names of both of his or her grandfathers or grandmothers (Yaakov Yosef, for example).It is also a very common practice to combine a Hebrew name with its Yiddish equivalent.Common examples of paired Hebrew/Yiddish names are Dov Ber, Yitzchok Isaac, Zvi Hirsch, and Shmuel Shmelke.

Another common folk practice is to add the name Chaim for a boy or Chaya for a girl when the baby is sickly.Among American and European Jews, the custom has also developed to give a baby a Hebrew name for use in religious settings and a secular name for everyday life.

The source for most of the classic Hebrew names is the Bible and later Rabbinic writings. Some of the names from rabbinic literature are just the Aramaic equivalent of a preexisting Hebrew name, such as Yeshua, the Aramaic version of Yehoshua.

Some common classical Hebrew names for boys are:

Avraham, Avishalom, Adam, Aharon, Etan, Eliyahu, Eliezer, Elazar, Ephraim, Asher, Binyamin, Baruch, Gad, Gavriel, Gershom, Gideon,David, Dan, Daniel, Hillel, Zev, Chaim, Chanoch, Yehudah, Yehonatan, Yochanan, Yosef, Yehoshua, Yonah, Yaakov, Yitzchok, Yirmiyah, Yeshai, Yeshaya, Yisroel, Yoel, Kalev, Levi, Michael, Michah, Malachi, Menachem, Moshe, Matityahu, Mordechai, Noach, Nachum, Natan, Natanel, Naftali, Ovadyah, Amos, Amram, Pinchas, Peretz, Reuven, Raphael, Shaul, Shlomo, Shalom, Shmuel, Shimon, Shimshon.

Some common classical Hebrew names for girls are:

Avigayal, Elisheva, Almah, Esther, Devorah, Dinah, Chaya, Channah (Hannah), Yehudit, Yocheved, Yonah, Yael, Leah, Malchah, Marta, Miriam, Naama, Naomi, Peninah, Rachel, Rivka, Sarah, Shifrah, Shoshanna, Tamar.

In recent years, it has become fashionable to use words that had never before been used as names to invent new Hebrew names.This is especially the case among Israelis and others prone to be less traditional.These names are frequently words connected with nature (such as Aviv or Aviva, meaning "spring"), or describing a pleasant attribute (such as Noam, "pleasant", or Yaffa, "beautiful").Many of these names are used for girls, due to the fact that most of the classical names are for boys.Another idea, especially for boys, is to name them after the month in which they were born.For example, a boy named in the Hebrew month of Nissan could be named Nissan.

Some common Modern Hebrew or Israeli names for boys are:

Adir, Adar, Ehud, Or, Elon, Iyar, Itai, Elul, Barak, Gilad, Dor, Chaver, Tevet, Lior, Noam, Nissan, Nir, Aviv, Ayal, Sivan, Iram, Omri, Tzochar, Tzohar, Tzion, Yaron, Ron, Shachar.

Some common Modern Hebrew or Israeli names for girls are:

Adva, Odaya, Ahuva, Binah Galit, Ganyah, Giva, Talyah, Kinneret, Mayim, Maya, Mazal, Naava, Noa, Nitzana, Adah, Aviva, Alonah, Amalyah, Anah, Anat, Atara, Shirah, Sarai, Shalva, Shlomit.

With the variety of beautiful names available from the Bible, Yiddish tradition, and Modern Hebrew, Jewish parents have more options than ever when the joyful time comes to name their new baby.

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