The title of this article, “Jewish Baby Names and Their Meanings – A Passion for Magnificence” was inspired by King Solomon. He led Israel to brilliance and had a passion for magnificence. Let us look at some of these magnificent names.
Jewish first names in Israel change from generation to generation. These changes reflect foreign names that are translated into Hebrew as well as young parents who want modern baby names.
Traditional families favor established Hebrew names from the Bible. Among their favorite baby girl names are Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah. Avital, David’s wife. And, Hamutal, King Josiah’s wife.
For baby boys names, they like Ram, David’s ancestor. Yoram, king of Judah. And, Gilead, Jephthah’s father.
But many Israelis reject the old names. Some even create entirely new names for their baby girls and baby boys. Baby girls names may include Yoninah (little dove), Orah (light), and Navah (beautiful). For baby boys, there is Amir (tree top), Gil (joy), or Noam (delight).
Sometimes, they give their children place names. For instance, baby girls might be called Eilat, a city. Or, Dimona, a city. Or even, Carmela, a mountain. And, for baby boys, Gilboa, a mountain. Arnon, a spring. Or, Givon, a city.
And now – let us look more closely at some of the most beloved Hebrew names for baby girls and baby boys – and their meanings.
Baby Girl Names and Their Meanings
Ariel – This Hebrew name means “Lion of God.” In the Bible this is a man’s name. In Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Ariel was the “airy spirit” and was a girl’s name. Recently, in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” the mermaid is named Ariel.
Esther – Esther is a Persian name and the Hebrew equivalent is Hadassah. The meaning is “Tree myrtle.” Esther is revered as one of the great heroes of the Jewish people. As Queen of Persia, she saved them from annihilation.
Golda – This is a Yiddish name and means “fair haired.” The name was taken from the last name and became popular in the mid 20th Century.
Leah – This Hebrew names means “Antelope.” Leah is revered as one of the 4 mothers of the Jewish people. She was the first wife of Jacob.
Naomi – This Hebrew name means “Pleasant.” In the Bible, Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth. When Ruth’s husband died, Ruth went to Naomi and spoke some of the most moving words in the Bible, “…whither thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest, I will lodge, thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”
Rachel – This Hebrew name means “Ewe.” In the Bible, Jacob was forced to work 14 years to win the hand of Rachel.
Rebecca – This Hebrew name means “Loyal.” In the Bible, Rebecca was Isaac’s wife. Ever since the Reformation, Rebecca has been a beloved name – especially in literature.
Baby Boy Names and Their Meanings
Aaron – This is originally an Egyptian name. The meaning is uncertain but is thought to be “Revered.” Aaron was the brother of Moses and helped Moses lead the Jews out of Egypt.
Chaim – This Hebrew names means “Life.” The name is taken not from Scripture, but from life, itself. This name was popular in the Middle Ages and has had a boost in the 1950s.
Isaac – The origin and meaning of this non-Hebrew name is uncertain, although may mean “Laughter.” Isaac was one of the patriarchs of the Jewish people. Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah. His father, believing he heard God’s command, nearly sacrificed him.
Mordechai – The meaning of this Hebrew name is uncertain but may mean “Combative.” Mordechai is a hero because he helped Esther save the Jewish people from annihilation.
Moshe – This name is the Hebrew form of Moses and means ” to draw out of the water.” Pharaoh’s daughter found the infant Moses floating down the river in a basket and rescued him.
Reuben – This Hebrew name means “Behold a son.” This name was very popular in the 18th and 19th Centuries. “Reuben James” was the name of the first US Navy battleship lost in World War II. Reuben James, himself, was a heroic sailor who fought in the Barbary Wars of the early 19th Century.
Solomon – This Hebrew name means “Peace.” Solomon was the second son of King David and Bathsheba. Solomon was the 3rd king of Israel and ruled wisely for 40 years. He was a prolific writer and wrote the “Song of Songs.”
Well that is about it. Perhaps this article about Jewish baby names and their meanings – a passion for magnificence gave you some new ideas. Each baby gives his or her name a new life history. Have fun with these great names.