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Hebrew Baby Names

Name Origin Meaning Rating Fav.
AbaHebrewAramaic, meaning "father" or "grand..
AbbaHebrewAramaic name meaning "father." The ..
AbelHebrewDerived from the Hebrew hebel (brea..
AbiahHebrewJehovah is my father. The name is b..
AbichayilHebrewFather of might. The name is borne ..
AbielHebrewMy father is God. Abiel is borne in..
AbielaHebrewGod is my father
AbigailHebrewMeaning "father's joy." Abigail was..
AbigayilHebrewDerived from the Hebrew ablgayil (F..
AbiraHebrewStrong
AbitalHebrewFather of Dew. The name is borne in..
AbraHebrew"Mother of many."
AcharonHebrewLast, latest. Acharon is traditiona..
AchavHebrewFather's brother. The name is borne..
AchavaHebrewFriendship
AchazyaHebrewGod has grasped. The name is borne ..
AchbanHebrewBrother of an intelligent one. The ..
AcherHebrewHebrew name meaning "other."
AchidaHebrewMy brother is intelligent
AchimelechHebrewThe king is my brother. The name is..
AchisarHebrewMy brother is a prince
AchisharHebrewMy brother is a song. Achishar is b..
AchiyaHebrewGod is my brother
AchsahHebrewAnklet. This Hebrew name is bor..
AdaelHebrewAdorned by God, ornament of God. Th..
AdahHebrewAdornment. The name was borne by th..
AdaiahHebrewAdorned by God, God's witness. The ..
AdamHebrewDerived from the Hebrew adama (red ..
AdamaHebrewFeminine form of Adam (man of the r..
AdaraHebrewNoble, exalted
AdenaHebrewNoble
AdiHebrewOrnament
AdiahHebrewOrnament of Jehovah, ornament of th..
AdielHebrewOrnament of God
AdinHebrewBeautiful, pleasant

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Description of Hebrew Names
Hebrew Baby Names
THE STUDY of Jewish nomenclature is a fascinating one. The changes wrought upon Jewish names by so many different influences over the course of time can take one on a remarkable journey into European history. Often this bewildering array of social, political, and linguistic influences has altered many names until hardly a trace of their true forms can be found. As surnames were being established in Europe from the 11th through the 16th centuries, Jewish people also began to add a second name to their first. Most often, patronymics and matronymics were used, as well as names indicating places of origin. To these were added names formed from abbreviations of words that reflected a special occasion in the life of the family, or names from a combination of abbreviated forms of the personal name and patronymic. During this time, surnames were rarely fixed or hereditary and were not considered as important as the first. They merely helped to identify people having the same first name. For Ashkenazic Jews who were forced to live in special ghettos, this situation was actually desirable, for the ensuing governmental confusion it caused made it easier to avoid paying taxes and evade conscription into the army. It wasn't until 1787, when Joseph II of Austria ordered all Jews to adopt fixed and hereditary surnames, that Jewish family names began to be regulated. The trend continued across Europe and ended with Russia mandating fixed surnames in 1845. In Germany and Austria, government officials forced those registering their names to pay. If a "good" name was desired, the payment was dear. Those who did not have the means of paying for a good name were given names such as Schmalz (grease) or Lugner (liar). In Hitlerian Germany it was decreed that all persons of Jewish birth, but having non-Jewish names, take the name Israel if a male and Sarah if female to identify themselves as Jews. Early Jewish names were simply Hebrew names and remained so for many generations. However, after the destruction of the first temple and the Babylonian captivity, foreign influences began to be seen. Babylonian and Persian names were used, and soon Aramaic and Greek names were as well and actually predominated over Hebrew names during the Talmudic period. The practice of having two personal names dates to several centuries before the destruction of the second temple. Originally, two Hebrew names were used. Soon, it was acceptable to use a Hebrew and an Aramaic name. Later, a Jewish and a non-Jewish name became popular as Greek influence grew and the Greek language began to be used by all. The Jewish name was used at home and between family and friends; the non-Jewish name was reserved for use when doing business or having contact with non-Jews. Many Hebrew names were Hellenized or Romanized, and in time, the non-Jewish name became the more important one. This trend was not as significant among females. Aramaic names were common, as were some Greek and Latin names, but for the most part, the names stayed true to form. Because women were excluded from politics and business, there was little need to Hellenize or Romanize their Jewish names. The male name Yitzchak was Hellenized as Isaak and Isaakios, for example, but female names such as Martha and Sarah retained their true forms. As Jewish people began to establish residences in many European countries, their names began to be influenced by local languages and trends such as nicknames and diminutive forms. They often adopted names common to the countries in which they resided or translated their Hebrew names into the language spoken in those countries. In ancient times it was unheard-of to name a child after a living person. It was thought that a person's life essence would be transferred to the child and that the older person would die. Some also felt that the Angel of Death would make a mistake and take the child when it was time for the adult to die. And if the child was given the name of a deceased relative, it would interfere with the dead person's eternal rest. In time, these beliefs fell to the wayside, and during the Talmudic period, it became commonplace to name the child for a relative or favored friend, living or dead. It came to be believed that this helped keep the memory of the deceased alive, and that it would keep the spirit alive of those still living. Among the more superstitious Ashkenazim, however, this practice is avoided for fear that the Angel of Death will make a mistake and take the life of the child. The male child is named during the ritual of circumcision eight days after the birth. Until recently, no uniform practice of naming baby girls was established. Some named their daughters in a home ceremony; some in the synagogue on the first Sabbath the mother could be there following the birth; some in the synagogue when the father was called to the Torah. Lately, new naming and dedication ceremonies have come into being to welcome the baby girls into the Jewish faith with as much reverence as is done with a male child. Nowadays, Jewish people in America tend to use the same names in popular usage throughout the country. However, many of those who have emotional or familial ties to Israel have shown interest in the types of names being used in that country today. In an effort to right the wrongs of centuries of persecution and prejudice, the Israeli government encouraged people to Hebraize their names or to give themselves both first and last Hebrew names. Foreign influences are now frowned upon and the Bible has become a prime source for names. Because of the relatively small number of female names in the Bible, place-names and the names of plants are often used, and the trend of making feminine forms from male names is popular. As in the United States, modern coinages are popular, but unlike many modern U.S. names, Israeli names have meanings expressive of the hopes and dreams and Zionist feelings of a newly liberated people.
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