Shalom Life | June 25, 2014

Jewish Top 10s: Baby Names

Join Shalom Life in reviewing some of the most popular, and adorable, Jewish baby names

By: Daniel Koren

Published: August 9th, 2013 in News » World

Welcome to Jewish Top 10s, where we compile lists that highlight the best and the brightest of everything yehudi, from delicious recipes to funniest actors, to most obnoxious Jewish wedding songs.

For this week's edition, we've decided to take a look at the most popular, and most adorable, baby names for all you soon-to-be parents out there who are having a tough time deciding on one.

Of course, we've got to mention all the classics, the standard Bible-inspired names which have stood the test of time, but we also threw in a few modern names that have been all the rage. Good luck!


TOP TEN


BOYS

10.


OMER (עמר)‎

The 'Counting of the Omer' known in Hebrew as Sefirat HaOmer is the verbal counting of each of the 49 days that take place between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot. The Sefirat HaOmer is a representation of the spiritual preparation for the giving of the Torah, which God gave on Mount Sinai at the beginning of Sivan. The counting of the Omer is known to depict how important the Torah is to a Jewish person.

In Israel, and in the Diaspora, it has become a very popular name, as it also is amongst Arabs and Muslims, spelled as Omar. Though the name is said to have peaked centuries ago, it's making a strong comeback.

FAMOUS: Omer Adam, Omer Asik, Omer Avital

9.


LIAM (ליעם)

Though Liam may be a very popular name amongst Irish, British, and French, in Israel it has always been quite sensationalized as well, only pronounced as Lee-am. In Hebrew, Liam is strongly nationalistic, meaning "I have a People." Though, yes, its background is technically Irish, that hasn't stopped Israelis and Jews alike from using it; people also use it as a shorter version of William. After reading through many Jewish baby naming forums, Liam has certainly become a trendsetter amongst Diaspora Jews living in Israel, though many who live in the Diaspora worry people would pronounce it the original 'Liam Neeson' way. In any event, most Diaspora and non-Diaspora Jews these days know a fellow Yehudi named Liam, or at the very least, Lior or Liat. It's also currently quite popular in New Zealand.

FAMOUS: Liam Howlett, Liam Gallagher, Liam Neeson

8.


ETHAN (איתן)

In Hebrew, Ethan means 'strong, the gift of the island,' but really the overall focus is on 'strength,' 'firm' and 'safe'. The Latin name is derived from the Hebrew 'Etan,' born in the Bible by a very wise man whom Solomon surpassed in wisdom. In the Old Testament, Ethan is the name of a wise elder, and is another nickname for Abraham. Ethan was #1 on a top 100 list of cool baby names compiled by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, and is also the third most popular boy's name in the U.S.

FAMOUS: Ethan Coen, Ethan Erickson, Ethan Hawke, Ethan Allen

7.

ASAF (אָסַף)

Asaf has remained one of the most popular names in Israel for the past sixty years. There are several people named Asaf (or Asaph) in the Bible, one of whom is a poet of the Levites during the time of King David.

Asaf, which in Hebrew means 'gathers' and is associated with the holiday of Sukkot, the gathering festival, also known as Hag Ha-asif.

FAMOUS: Asaf Avidan

6.


JACOB (יַעֲקֹב)

In the bible, Jacob, also known as Israel, was the grandson of Abraham and Sarah, son of Isaac and Rebekah, brother of Esau, husband of Leah and Rachel, and the ancestor to the tribes of Israel. Before Benjamin’s birth, God renamed Jacob Israel, which, among multiple meanings, could be translated to 'God contended,' 'the Prince of God', or 'El fights/struggles.'

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