December 30, 2009 9:18 pm at 9:18 pm #591028
just out of curiosity…December 30, 2009 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #740787
First or last names?December 30, 2009 9:25 pm at 9:25 pm #740788
You don’t see a lot of frum guys named Abdullah these days.December 30, 2009 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #740789
First names for boys I would say;
OsnatDecember 30, 2009 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #740790
First or last? Any name that originates in England or South Africa, will probably be eligible. Examples Selwyn, Hylton, etc. The MOST unusual name of an unquestionably Orthodox Jewish man who is FFB whom I know, is Noel. I also know of a frum woman whose name is Nicole. As these are both references to either the holiday or the jolly fat December guy with the reindeer, I cannot fathom what possessed the parents to give those names to Jewish children. But it is more common than one would imagine.
When we were little kids, my sibs and I would play the name game. We would take a nice Jewish name like Moshe Eliezer, and find a really outrageous secular name for it, like Montgomery Ellsworth.December 30, 2009 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #740791
Pesach is common enough and plenty of Zecharias out there. Kolev – yes – fuggedaboutit!
Tzivia and Kayla are very common.
Yachne for girls is probably the most uncommon. Even Yenta gets some use.
Boys; Amram among Ashkenazim seems limited really to those who wish to name in memory of Reb Amram Bloy ZYA. Other than Reb Amram’s relatives I know of exactly one Amram who is not Moroccan and as he is certainly no Zionist, for all I know he, too, is named for Reb Amram and or related to him.December 30, 2009 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm #740792
sivanDecember 30, 2009 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #740793
Shmaryahu, Shlumiel, Shammai, Nimrod, Barak,Tzurisha(k)ai, take any name from the nesiyim. for girls, Chuldah, Machlah, Choglah, Bat-Tzion,Pirchiya, and Cheftzibah.
Kayla is a name that is coming into more common usage recently. And Tzivia has been around a long time.December 30, 2009 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #740794
We would take a nice Jewish name like Moshe Eliezer, and find a really outrageous secular name for it, like Montgomery Ellsworth.
I know of a BT whose secular registered name is unfortunately Leroy.
Actually, the Satmar community registers very old fashioned names for male children whose names do not have a clear English translation (Yoel is registered as Joel, Avrohom as Abraham, but Eliyahu could be Eugene or Alfred. The generation before has names like Leopold, Harold etc). This was, for some reason, the way Reb Yoilish ZYA wanted it and it reflected Hungarian custom to use a secular name for government matters.December 30, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm #740795
I think Shelumiel is definitely the most uncommon male name. Many EY politicians may be referred to by that name but it was not the name given to them at birth!
Almost all of the rest of those names find use among the RZ crowd in EY, especially among American olim and bnei edot hamizrah.December 30, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #740796
ChovovDecember 30, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm #740797
A6KB, we are Ashkenazim and have many Amrams in our family. As a matter of fact, if I ever come across an Ashkenazi Amram I am almost sure to find a conection to this family. They are named after the father of Rabbi Moshe ben Amram Grunwald of Chust, Hungary, author of Arugas Habosem, who passed away in Av of 1915. Many of his descendants were prominent Rabbonim in Hungary, and later the US.December 31, 2009 4:28 am at 4:28 am #740798
I think Yechiel is not such an uncommon name.December 31, 2009 5:52 am at 5:52 am #740799
Oomis: “The MOST unusual name of an unquestionably Orthodox Jewish man who is FFB whom I know, is Noel. I also know of a frum woman whose name is Nicole. As these are both references to either the holiday or the jolly fat December guy with the reindeer, I cannot fathom what possessed the parents to give those names to Jewish children”
Really? Well the name Nicole Its veryy common in my community (yes orthodox!) Maybe you should be careful how you say things. Because is NOT uncommonDecember 31, 2009 6:20 am at 6:20 am #740800
Tzirel (I knew a Tzirel who was convinced her parents made up the name, so she used her middle name. Eventually she discovered her parents didn’t make it up. But by that time everyone knew her by her middle name.)
Osnat is fairly common here in EY.
One of the most unusual names I ran into was a non-frum man whom I spoke to on the phone while I was at work. His parents gave him and his brother Jewish names, but of course, they didn’t use them. Probably a good thing. His name was Rochel and his brother’s was Gitel.December 31, 2009 8:14 am at 8:14 am #740801
Thanks Kinor and that is a more plausible namesake for the (Rav) Amram I was thinking of.December 31, 2009 8:30 am at 8:30 am #740802
Well the name Nicole Its veryy common in my community (yes orthodox!)
Morocco? Tunisia? Algeria? Egypt? When French culture was introduced to the Jewish communities of North Africa and Egypt, French names for girls became very common and they were the only or main name the girls were known by. In some cases they replaced Judeo-Arabic names such as Massouda (Arabic for Mazal, became Fortunee or ended up spelled Messody).
With the big wave of tshuva BH in Paris, Montreal, and EY, many Nicoles and Annettes and Karines and Nathalies are now true bnot Torah, but they didn’t change their names because they were named for relatives. I know of a very frum from birth Rabbanit in a major Moroccan community whose name is Annette and when I asked her son for his mother’s name as I was going to visit a mokom koidesh, that was the only name he had for her.
BTW Nicole is from Greek, from the word for victory which is familiar to all of us as Nike and was the name of a getschke (not a problem to wear Nike shoes as that getschke is no longer worshipped). It is the female form of Nicolas (Nicholas).December 31, 2009 8:34 am at 8:34 am #740803
KloinemusDecember 31, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am #740804
In Chabad communities Shneur is not that uncommon.December 31, 2009 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #740805
Shneur usually is Shneur Zalman, not uncommon at all.
In EY my many friends who are named for the Alter Rebbe (Baal haTanya) or for grandparents who were in turn named for him call themselves Shneur because of a silly and vulgar tzioinish children’s rhyme which mocks the name Zalman (used as a symbol for those who are steadfast to masores avois and don’t change their names or way of dress).
Their US counterparts go by Zalman which is also the favored daily version of the name in this part of the world.
As for Yekusiel, one of the Satmar Admou”rim is named Yekusiel Yehuda but is called Zalman Leib. This is not uncommon at all as he and others who carry this dual name are named for an ancestor of Reb Yoilish ZYA. I see the connection between Yehuda and Leib, but Zalman is probably from Spanish Salomon = Shlomo and I can’t see the connection between Yekusiel and Zalman unless perhaps the name Yekusiel refers to Shlomo haMelech in medrash.December 31, 2009 3:10 pm at 3:10 pm #740806
600kilo: sephardic brooklyn community. And yeah mazal is fortune, just like bahiya is batya and shafika is shifra….December 31, 2009 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm #740807
But are the Bahiyas named Batya for kodesh the way an American Batya might be known as Beth on paper, or has Bahiya become a kodesh name the way the French names have in Morocco?
Annette is Chana, but there are granddaughters of Annettes who was born at the time the Alliance started in Morocco is called Annette and only Annette even if her parents are very haredi. Especially in EY, people do not even know that the name was French but think it is an authentic Moroccan Jewish first name – which I guess it is once the name is given in memory of someone. My friend’s mother by now probably has (great)grandchildren named Annette for their (great)grandmother as per Sefardi custom. If you saw Rabbanit Annette shopping in Boro Park, the only way you would know she is not a local haimishe bubbe is if you heard her speak French or Arabic, or tried to speak to her in Yiddish.December 31, 2009 3:56 pm at 3:56 pm #740808
“Really? Well the name Nicole Its veryy common in my community (yes orthodox!) Maybe you should be careful how you say things. Because is NOT uncommon “
Don’t get bent out of shape. I AM careful how I say things, and meant no insult. Nicole comes from Nicholas which is the REAL name of the “sainted” jolly man in the red suit. Any Jew who knows that would not b’davka seek to name a child nicole or nicholas (would a frum parent name a son christopher or a daughter christine?) It just shows that the people who do so, really are not thinking about the name at all, or its origins. Perhaps your Orthodox community is unaware of the significance of that name. Otherwise why would anyone frum would want to call their child by a name, no matter how pretty, that is SO strongly sociated with both christianity and paganism?
If it is out of a genuine and innocent lack of awareness, then it is GOOD for it to be called to their attention. I truly did not intend to offend. My apologies.December 31, 2009 4:32 pm at 4:32 pm #740809
There was a Jewish family (not frum) who wanted to give their son a biblical name. They came up with Bilaam and call him Bill!December 31, 2009 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #740810
How about Elmo, as a contraction of Eli(ezer/ahu etc.) Mo(she/rdechai etc.)
;December 31, 2009 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #740811
The Sefardi community does not have any connection with the old Lipa impersonator (well, more like Michoel Schnitzler as far as weight and age are concerned but the clothing is pure Lipa) who wears a red bekeshe. Even I, living in a part of the world where the Lipa impersonator is called Father Frost, did not make the connection between the name Nicole and this season.
The real problematic French name common among Jews is Nathalie which is a reference to krachtzmas and comes from the same Latin root as nitel – again these names entered via communities in the Islamic world where no one thinks of these things.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe ZYA did encourage French speaking BT’s to change their names (he himself lived in France and was aware of the origins of these names). However, naming for a relative is very powerful and it is very understandable why these names are not changed.December 31, 2009 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #740812
Kilo: I guess the was the the french names became kodesh (if I understand correctley u mean like the name sophia right) but that was our parents and grandparents generations, now the behiyas have became batya…in the old country they were called bahiya.
Oomis: all the nicoles I know are named only after grandmothers.December 31, 2009 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #740813
YEP! Most people are unaware of that. “Natale” means “The Birth.” It specifically refers to “his” birth, which is why the name came into usage by christians.
Naming for a relative is powerful, but it is far better to name in Loshon Kodesh, IMO.
When a name has very specific goyishe implications, it is no kovod to the person for whom the child is named, especially if the deceased was named that name through innocent lack of awareness of its implications.
MAYAN- DVASH — in my household we LOVE Elmo. I never thought of it as Jewish name. Now I must get a kippah for my granddaughter’s favorite little friend.December 31, 2009 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #740814
I know of an Algerian Jew named C—istian. In this case the name, not very innocently suggested by Catholic mission hospital nurses who duped his parents, had a very bad effect on his neshomo. He owns or owned a treyf lemehadrin seafood restaurant in Yafo :(.
Yiddish has names that crept in from the surroundings. Masha and Maryasha, probably innocently given to name a girl in memory of a Moshe or Menachem, both come from Maria. Knowing the origin I could never under normal circumstances give those names. However, many of my friends have relatives with those names who lived here in the bad old days under conditions of amazing mesirus nefesh (in particular there are 600 descendants of a renowned “Rebbetzin Maryasha” who were born and are frum today because she kept to the Torah all 106 years of her life despite losing her husband at an early age to the KGB), and it would be a dishonor not to name for these neshei chayil because of their origins.
Since the French names are not as old it is easier to go back one or two generations and find the name that should have been used, but still I understand wanting to name for a relative just as the name was. Nevertheless, when I was in Montreal, it was a common occurrence for a girl with a French name to change it and give out cake on Shabbos to celebrate the change.December 31, 2009 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #740815
Anyway, back to the thread. Izevel and Hagar (the latter was used ‘davka’ by the extreme left in EY) are very, very uncommon among frum Jews. I think the old leftists used the name Yoravam as well but I am not sure.December 31, 2009 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #740816
The story is told of an extreme meshichist, a real nut who I know to be off center, who named his kid Boruch Haba Melech Hamoshiach. The poor kid is known by an acronym made up of his initials – beis hay mem hay – behema!!!!
I don’t know if this is true but I’ve heard it tens of times.
Rav Adin Steinsaltz (Even-Yisroel)’s eldest son’s nickname is A-Mechaye, made up of parts of his first names. This is true; all mazal tovs posted for him refer to that name. I forget what the names are, probably Avraham Moshe Chaim.December 31, 2009 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #740817
nameless: “Kloinemus” In some Chasiddish communities this is common. I usually hear it paired with Kalman – Kalman Klonimus.
Unusual names I have heard:
Odom – I know someone who gave their son this name as his English name is Adam.
Noach – There are some, but not so common. Maybe now that R’ Noach Weinberg ztzl passed away it will become more common.
Avigdor – I know of two. Has there been an increase in this name since R’ Avigdor Miller ztzl passed away? May not be easy to tell, because it would probably shortened to Avi, which could be a nickname for other more common names.December 31, 2009 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #740818
But the worst apocryphal story I heard comes from someone who taught afternoon Hebrew school and supposedly had a girl in her class named Zona. When asked if that was the real name, she said, well, everyone called my grandmother that. I seriously hope this one is made up.
While we are at it, the name Freha, turned into vulgar slang by the medine which wrecked so many Moroccan families, but still used in France, is Arabic for Simha and is therefore the Moroccan version of Fraidel.December 31, 2009 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #740819
Oh! I forgot the most uncommon name I have heard a frum guy named: Jose.
Is this common is Spanish speaking countries like Mexico?
Because I had never heard a Yid named that before.December 31, 2009 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #740820
The old and secularized among us will recall an old Bill Cosby routine in which he reminisces that as a boy, he thought his name was [something we do not say], because as a child, whenever he crossed the line, his father would thunder, “[Blank-Blank], you come here right now!”December 31, 2009 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #740821
NY Mom: that’s like the number one name for males in mexico lol but I never heard of a jew with that name.
Oomis: that’s just their english names, obviously they have a hebrew name too, what do u think they were names by the torah? NOT nicole but that’s just what their called…December 31, 2009 6:13 pm at 6:13 pm #740822
P4M, it was actually for that reason that my husband and I only gave Jewish names to our children. Their English names ARE their Jewish names (i.e. Moshe, Rivkah, etc.) .December 31, 2009 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #740823
Jose is Spanish for Yosef and could be registered on some Jews’ papers in Latin America.
A Chabad shaliach in EY whose name is Natan/Nosson, is registered as Natalio on his Argentinian birth certificate (I think he is a BT). Another Natalio I know was born in Tangier and known to me and everyone else as Naftali in daily life. Natalio = male version of Nathalie or Natalia = nitel. Neither one uses his Spanish name, though – one took Naftali legally when he became a US citizen and the other is Natan on his EY documents but never changed his Argentinian documents as it is not easy to do.
Passion – the difference is that among the Moroccans I knew, these French names are all they have unless they took Hebrew names.
My own name is no picnic to pronounce in Russian. If the person I am speaking to over the phone does not understand what I am saying even after I spell my name for them, and it is something informal like a dry cleaning pickup or a call to a repairman, I use the Russian version. It is such a giveaway that the person they are speaking to is Jewish that it hardly matters.December 31, 2009 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #740824
I only heard of 1 guy with the name Sinai & 1 girl with the name GenendyDecember 31, 2009 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #740825
I have a Yiddish name, so no Israeli is able to pronounce it. It isn’t an unusual name, but they usually just skip it and call me by my middle name.December 31, 2009 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm #740826
Maria is Greek for Miriam, and all the derivatives of Maria/Mary/Marie/Masha are simply forms of Miriam. Miriam, like Moshe, is a name of Egyptian origin, but it obviously has been popular for thousands of years among Jews. It was so popular 2000 years ago that almost all the women in the Christian canon (written mostly in Greek with a little Aramaic) are named Miriam, which appears as Maria, so many in fact that the Christians keep getting them confused with each other. Mordechai is derived from Marduk, the name of a pagan deity. Obviously no one still worships Marduk, and most people have never heard of him. Esther itself is a Persian (Indo-European)name with a ‘star’ meaning. Her shem kodesh was Hadassah with a plant meaning.
Jews have been using a shem kodesh with a shem kinnui at least since Hellenistic times. That has led to some strange names from our perspective. For example, it was not unusual for medieval Jewish merchants in Muslim countries to use the name Mohammed as a shem kinnui when conducting business. Today of course no Jew would use that name. One can’t even name a children’s teddy bear Mohammed without causing an hysterical reaction. In medieval France men named Baruch used the name Benedict (like Ratzinger), since the two names mean the same thing. Our word ‘bentch’ as in ‘bentch licht’ comes from the same root as benediction.
It is only recently that frum Jews in North America have isolated themselves sufficiently from the rest of society to find giving only Hebrew, Aramaic, or Yiddish names to their children is workable. Frum children in frum neighborhoods never come across anyone who would find, say, Yerachmiel or Pinchas odd or difficult to pronounce. My grandparents certainly gave themselves English names as soon as they arrived over here. Shlomo Chaim became Solomon, Tzvya-Chaya became Celia Ida, Tzippa became Cecelia, Meir became Meyer, although no one in the family ever used the English names. They were strictly for government and work purposes. My own name is Miriam, just Miriam, no English middle name, no Jewish double name, Miriam for any and all purposes. But my parents, my sister, my aunts and uncles all have English names and Jewish names (Hebrew or Yiddish).December 31, 2009 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #740827
Oomis: your missing the boatDecember 31, 2009 7:13 pm at 7:13 pm #740828
It is also only recently when you had such a paper and computer trail that the dual name became a problem for those of us who want to use only our real names. I am in a foreign country where I can call myself what I want except at the bank and airport (and I bank electronically anyway) so that is what I do. My leases are all in my real name; no one cared to look at my passport to find my civil name.
To go back and change my US papers is a headache and I was advised not to bother but rather to do what I indeed do and use AKA in very formal situations or to file a sole proprietorship certificate (civil name dba Hebrew name) so as to be able to accept cheques under my real name (no issue – anyone who pays me in the US does so online to a corporate account).December 31, 2009 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #740829
Jews have been using a shem kodesh with a shem kinnui at least since Hellenistic times.
Not a time we want to emulate!December 31, 2009 7:16 pm at 7:16 pm #740830
RE: the name Moshe being Egyptian – while that is true to some extent, the fact is that he was named thus by Bat Par’o, because (and I quote) “min hamayim misheeseehu,” which clearly is said in Hebrew. “Moshe” itself is the present tense active form of the word. In Egyptian, his name might not have been sounding exactly like Moshe, but if it did, she still named him through the Hebrew language.December 31, 2009 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #740831
I have a not so Jewish, secular name which is really a definition of my jewish given name. People do comment…but in our day it was the thing to do..
My childrens name are their names..I figured if the chinese and the arabs can have “interesting and strange” names whats the difference if my children do..in offices or airports that is…
Maybe someone can enlighten me perhaps..does anyone know the meaning or derivitive of the girls name Rissa its spelled with a samech..not Rus (Ruth).
On that note the name shprinza comes from the spanish name ‘esparance’ which means hope…when i heard this,well, what to me sounded like some made up name now became a meaningful name….December 31, 2009 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #740832
I call my husband Jose all the time! His name is Joseph.
The most uncommon hebrew name I’ve heard was Boaz. At least I thought so until I met a second one. Both are under 2.
If you are talking about general names, my sons are Logan and Cody which is pretty rare.December 31, 2009 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #740834
Hi SJS! How are you doing? And how is your baby?December 31, 2009 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #740835
I’m doing great! The baby is growing well bh. I am back to work as of yesterday! Did I miss a lot?December 31, 2009 7:50 pm at 7:50 pm #740836
Here are some unusual frum names and not ones to be very proud of:
numbers deleted to protect privacy
Anyone want to guess what they are??????
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