How do you translate your Hebrew name?
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- This topic has 71 replies, 34 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 8 months ago by Randomex.
August 3, 2010 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm #592074dunnoMember
ex. Chana to Hannah
Avraham to AbrahamAugust 3, 2010 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #1034271
Shira to Shira Princess of PowerAugust 3, 2010 2:17 pm at 2:17 pm #1034272☕️coffee addictParticipant
SJS I hope that’s not on your birth certificate
Moshe to Mo usually (it gets annoying when a goy says mo-SHE)August 3, 2010 2:18 pm at 2:18 pm #1034273oomisParticipant
LambieAugust 3, 2010 2:52 pm at 2:52 pm #1034274
LOL its a joke. I don’t have an english name and people pronounce it correctly.
However, I always hated having one name, so I made sure my kids have two hebrew AND two english names so they have choices.
If you are interested they are:
Meir Pinchas = Logan Paul
Akiva Dan = Cody Daniel
We call them Logan and Cody.August 3, 2010 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #1034275☕️coffee addictParticipant
I know Yekkes give their kids names that don’t fully match like that (wouldn’t mark be better for meir)August 3, 2010 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #1034276
I’m half Yekke!
Logan was one of the few names my husband and I could agree on. We debated on Michael but there are too many Michaels where we live.August 3, 2010 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #1034277
I got lucky. My name is a Hebrew and secular name, so I’ve only got one. Spelling /accent is slilgly differnt in each, but my office / clients seem to have gotten the hang of the hebrew pronounciation. Besides, we’ve got some other ethnic people (India, Far East) with some real tounge-twister names, so my name is a cinch.
My boys have the expected bridges (Avrumi – Abraham, Yitzy = Issac, ect)
Though, since the topic of Yekkies was raised, in HS, we had several who had names that purposly had no obvious link to the hebrew ones. I remenber (Zelig was Bruce, Abba was Thomas, ect)
Apparently, that’s thier shitta.
But if I had to do it all over, I would not give my boys secular names. My co-workers / clients can get around just fine with thier ethnic names. Times have changed since the 60s and 70s, and ethnic names are no longer an obstacle in business.August 3, 2010 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #1034278TheGadolMember
Any good secular interpretations for Pinchas? Secular jews and non-jews have the hardest time pronouncing it!August 3, 2010 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #1034279
My parents weren’t frum when I was born*, and hence I have an English name and a Hebrew name.
As I grew up, I found that there were discrepancies in what people thought their Hebrew names were and what they actually were (including my father — from the time I was 13 until I got married at 21, I was called up to the Torah as X ben Y — but it turned out that my father’s name was Z, not Y).
In order to prevent any such confusion for the future generations, my kids have only Hebrew names. If they (or any future generations) have any doubts as to what their names are, all they have to do is look at their birth certificates.
* I can hear some of you now saying “Ah, that explains it. He’s a ben niddah. That’s why he’s an apikorus and a rasha!” 🙂August 3, 2010 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm #1034280
Any good secular interpretations for Pinchas? Secular jews and non-jews have the hardest time pronouncing it!
The WolfAugust 3, 2010 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #1034281
Phineas is a bit old fashioned, hence uncommon, but it is the accepted alt for Pinchas.August 3, 2010 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #1034282PosterMember
i have an nglish name that slightly resembles my hebrew name. All legal documents have this name. I only gave my children hebrew names.August 3, 2010 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1034283TheGadolMember
Any good secular interpretations for Pinchas? Secular jews and non-jews have the hardest time pronouncing it!
The only reason for switching to a secular name is so that people don’t scratch their head in bafflement whenever they hear it. I want people to focus on me and not get sidetracked with my “strange” name. Adopting the name Phineas is unlikely to improve things much.August 3, 2010 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1034284
Pinhead, then.August 3, 2010 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #1034285
some pinchases use philipAugust 3, 2010 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1034286
The only reason for switching to a secular name is so that people don’t scratch their head in bafflement whenever they hear it. I want people to focus on me and not get sidetracked with my “strange” name. Adopting the name Phineas is unlikely to improve things much.
Phineas, however, IS the Anglicized form of Pinchas. If you’re not looking for the Anglicized equivalent, then feel free to choose any “P” name — Phillip, Peter and Paul all come to mind as names of Jews that I either know or related to.
The WolfAugust 3, 2010 4:35 pm at 4:35 pm #1034287
there really is no “official” english form for any Hebrew name. there is no “proper” translation. there is for some names a particular english abberation of the Hebrew name which is more common and thus more accepted by the non Jewish world. generally this has come about because that’s how the name was mispronounced by the translators of the “new” testament. art scroll generally uses those mistranslations in their english versions. that always bothered me but im sure they have their reasons. i would much prefer to see Avrohoms son be translated as Yitzchak than Isaac.August 3, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #1034288oomisParticipant
My children were not given secular names. One of them has a problem because the name has a ch in it, and the name is always mispronounced. So be it.August 3, 2010 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #1034289tomim tihyeMember
In my experience, Yekkes have no definite tradition regarding mismatching their names. Many of the older Yekkes have German names related to their Hebrew names (e.g. Leo for Yehuda, Julius for Yoel, Max for Meir, etc.).August 3, 2010 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #1034290
“an apikorus and a rasha!” 🙂 “
Chas v’sholom! An ax to grind with us black hatters, maybe. But honestly wolf, I’m no stranger to sarcasm, but I think you’re a bit over the top the last few posts. I mean, c’mon, not destined for olam habbah?
If I’ve learned nothing else from my asociation with the CR, its that BTs are just as genuine as the FFBs. We may see things differently, but to say that some of us are going to heck? PLease.August 3, 2010 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #1034291
An ax to grind with us black hatters
No ax. I have no problem with people who want to wear a black hat. My son wears one and it’s perfectly fine with me. My other son doesn’t — and that’s also fine with me.
The Wolf (who, for the record, does not own an ax)August 3, 2010 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #1034292
“an apikorus and a rasha!” 🙂 “
Fair enough. But there *are* those who do believe that.
The WolfAugust 3, 2010 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1034293HennyKMember
Hebrew names are perfectly OK as long as they aren’t hard to pronounce.
In business I deal with people from all ends of the spectrum including people of foreign countries with foreign names too.
A common solution is to shorten the name. Pnchas can be Pinny or Penny…August 3, 2010 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #1034294Dr. PepperParticipant
Slightly off the main topic.
Mattisyahu (the singer) was named Feivish Hershel and given the secular name of Matthew Paul.
When he grew up his Hebrew name was forgotten and he took the name Mattisyahu.
Eventually the certificate from his bris was located but he was told to continue using Mattisyahu since that’s what he grew up with.August 3, 2010 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1034295HennyKMember
BTW a good way to translate a name is to go according 2 the meaning. it an be a bit hard but you could be far fetch…August 3, 2010 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #1034296minyan galMember
The custom that I grew up with was giving an English with the same initial as the Hebrew one – therefore, my daughter Avigayil has Abigail on her birth certificate. As she was named after a man named Abba, we asked our Rabbi for a feminine equivalent and this one was of a few that he suggested. My grandkids are named in a similar fashion – Yakov Shmuel is Joshua Kevin (the Shmuel he is named after had a “K” first name) and Binyamin Mattityahu is Benjamin Matthew.August 3, 2010 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #1034297
Off topic? Thank you for bringing up the topic. I’m a huge fan of Matisyahu, but did not see how I could broach the subject.
In fact, it sort of is on topic. Wether you love or hate his music, he’s a prime example of how in today’s marketplace, you do not need to sugarcoat your reliegous / ethnic persona. If he can travel the world with laanga paiyos, beard and huge yarmulka, so can I.
I still remember the days of davening mincha at a phone booth. It taxi drivers / bike messengers can drop to the mat in the middle of NYC, I can hold a siddur in my hand without feeling ashamed.August 3, 2010 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #1034298Sister BearMember
I only have a Hebrew name and it has a ch in it. I have been to the doctors office where they called it with a j. 🙂 I should probably go by my middle name which is way easier to pronounce. 😉August 3, 2010 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #1034299
in today’s marketplace, you do not need to sugarcoat your reliegous / ethnic persona. If he can travel the world with laanga paiyos, beard and huge yarmulka, so can I.
Yes, it seems that you can dress however you please if you sell out on the underlying culture.August 3, 2010 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #1034300
“My son wears one and it’s perfectly fine with me. My other son doesn’t”
We have that much in common. In my lineup, Son # 1 is a cool dude, while son 3 is what we lovingly call our lakewood greaseball.
All basicaly on the same track as me, just all different.August 3, 2010 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm #1034301
“sell out on the underlying culture”
Yom mean the Jamacian accent? That’s an act. Alot like Lipa S, when he raps. But when he davens or bentches, he’s just like you and me (ok, maybe not like you, but like me). And if you really must know, Matisyahu goes to great lengths to keep as much yiddishkeit as he can. He is very makppid on negiah and arrainges for minyan whenever possible. For many years, the “jewish face” of hollywood / media was woody allen or steven speilberg and folks like that. By any measure (other than the rasta accent) he does a fine job of showing the world how jews are a part, and at the same time, apart, from secular society. Time was, the only photo of a yid with a beard appeared in the news, he was dong the perp walk. I think this is better PR.(Plus, his songs are really cool, once you make peace with the accent)
Point is, these very visible people prove that us yidden do not need to dress down / change names anymore. (August 3, 2010 7:13 pm at 7:13 pm #1034302
I’ve worked with a Shaniqua, a Xioun, a Lie-Jen an Ionnis and an Abdelardo. If I have to learn to call them by their names, they should have to learn how to pronounce Yerachmiel Getzel (no its not my real name – but it is the name of a co-worker who chose to go by the name Adam).August 3, 2010 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1034303
i know an east indian woman named “sneh”August 3, 2010 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #1034304
I think if you have a name that is unpronouncable in the local culture (for the most part, that means any CH sounds), you should provide an easier to pronounce nickname or alternative.
Yerachmiel could go by Yera.
I have plenty coworkers (mainly Indian) who choose an easier to pronounce name because theirs are really difficult.August 3, 2010 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #1034305
The local culture can get the “ch” sound if they tried. Ever hear anyone in the local culture clear their throat and have it sound like a “k” sound? 🙂August 3, 2010 8:19 pm at 8:19 pm #1034306Mayan_DvashParticipant
My BC and other docs have my transliterated Hebrew name: Yosef. Where I work, I tell people they can call me “Yossi” figuring that it’s easier than Yosef and anyway, that’s what e/o else calls me. My name has been pronounced YO see, YO she, YAH see…
I’ve worked with an offshore contact by the name “Sheetal.” Perhaps her hair was used in some wigs around town. 😉August 3, 2010 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #1034307
Last night, I saw a trucking company called Shekhinah (wonder what the payload was).
But my all time favortive was a family I sat across from on the train a few years ago. The little boy was fidgeting and fussing and the mother said, “Hashem, sit still!)
I kid you not.August 3, 2010 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #1034308
my all time favorite name story occured when I was first introduced to a coworker who had the name Yaw Wa (there was a last name too) on the nameplate, I was all tongue tied trying to say nice to meet you, er uh Ya when she cut me off, “ita Amy”!.August 3, 2010 9:59 pm at 9:59 pm #1034309YW Moderator-42Moderator
My favorite strange names are Nimrod and Dathan.
Yerachmiel can be RockyAugust 4, 2010 2:45 am at 2:45 am #1034310dvorakMember
I know some non-Jews who use more American-sounding names as opposed to their own, and they’ve never corresponded. Satayund goes by Alex, and Mohammed goes by Shawn. As for Jews, I find that not only do the names generally correspond (or at least start with the same letter) but there are certain pairs that seem to always go together. The 2 I can think of off the top of my head: Most Baruchs I know go by Brian and most Mordechais I know go by Marc (when at work or around people who can’t pronounce the ‘ch’ properly).August 7, 2010 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #1034311emoticon613Member
or you could just tell them what your name means in english – try introducing yourself as ‘tired princess’ or ‘the father of a people, son of my right hand’ or the more conventional ‘song’ ‘spring’ or ‘compassionate (that one can go for both genders…)’
just kidding. 😉
seriously though, i don’t think it would kill anyone to say something that they’re not familiar with. i think many of us are just uncomfortable with our names in a secular setting — hello!!!!! you’re jewish, BE PROUD OF IT!!!!!
my own personal opinion on the subject.September 14, 2014 6:13 am at 6:13 am #1034313jewishfeminist02Member
I can’t stand my English name. It does match my Hebrew name pretty well, but I don’t like it. Whenever I get around to legally changing my last name (to my husband’s), I’m also going to legally change my first name– although not to my Hebrew name, but to my English middle name, which I actually like.September 14, 2014 6:16 am at 6:16 am #1034314👑RebYidd23Participant
I don’t translate. I don’t even know what my name means.September 14, 2014 8:17 am at 8:17 am #1034315RedlegParticipant
Hebrew names spelled in English are still Hebrew names. For instance, the Poster above remarked that her daughter’s “English” name, Abigail, was selected because it starts with the same phoneme as her Hebrew name, Avigayil. Abigail and “Avigayil” are the same name. Her Hebrew name and her “English” name are the same, just spelled in different alphabets. Many people in America have Biblical (I.E. Hebrew) names. Some of them might sound silly to us like Nimrod or Balaam but, nevertheless, they are Hebrew names, just spelled in English. Also note that using a name from the local culture or language in addition to one’s Hebrew name is not a modern phenomenon. The practice goes back to Golus Bavel, for instance, the name Zerubavel isn’t Hebrew. Many of the Chachmei haGemorah had both Hebrew and Aramaic names.
P.S. Phineas is actually Latin for Pinchas.
P.P.S. An alternative to anglicizing Hebrew names is to just use the initials. My name is Alter Yoseif but in English i’m just A.J.September 14, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am #1034316amaaretzParticipant
I’ve always had a hard tine trying to translate my name – Am Haaretz – into something normal. I’m not sure why my parents chose this name for me, or why I’m named after this particular great-great grandfather, but that’s just how it is.. So when speaking to a Goy I try to explain my name using words like “clueless”, “dumb” and the like. I usually get my point through once I say “Barack Obama”. Speaking of which, with all the ISIS hype going on now, are we forgetting our dear president’s middle name, Hussein? I like to refer to him as Barack Inssein Obama.September 14, 2014 6:55 pm at 6:55 pm #1034317Patur Aval AssurParticipant
Whenever I introduce myself to non-Jews their reactions are invariably “What kind of name is Exempt but Forbidden?”September 14, 2014 7:16 pm at 7:16 pm #1034318amaaretzParticipant
Really?? I would’ve thought they’d ask “What does Avul mean?”September 14, 2014 7:56 pm at 7:56 pm #1034319Patur Aval AssurParticipant
Really?? I would’ve thought they’d ask “What does Avul mean?””
That’s when I introduce myself to Jews. And the name is Aval not Avul.September 14, 2014 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #1034320
How do you spell I told you so?
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