Reader Rachel writes:
I’ve really enjoyed reading your advice to people about names. As I am pregnant with boy #3, we are trying to narrow down our name options and are having some trouble. I actually had a dream in which I was asking you about names, so I figured I would contact you! (In the dream, you said “absolutely not” to one of the names I love, so you’ve already narrowed it down for us!) Thank you so much in advance for your help!
We are Modern-Orthodox, live in the US, but God willing will make aliyah one day. So we want a name that works in the States and in Israel, and can be pronounced by our extended family. So, some questions for you about names we are considering:
- Kalev – I know it’s spelled like “kelev” in Hebrew. Kalev was a remarkable person in Tanach, but does anyone name their child Kalev in Israel? I feel like it might be really strange to have a child with the same spelling as kelev (dog).
- Eshkol – I know it’s a very unusual name. But would it be considered strange or weird? We love some of the references to it in Tanach, but I’m worried about how it would be seen in Israel as a name (I know of Levi Eshkol, but that was his last name).
- Dov – this has always been one of my favorite names, though ironically we didn’t use it for either of my other two sons. My second son is named Zev. Honestly, would it be very strange to have a Zev and a Dov in the same family?
- Amitai – thoughts?
- Ideally, for various reasons, we would like a name that represents Israel and/or connotes strength or courage (not Adir unfortunately; I love that name but you nixed it in my dream). Any recommendations for names that connote strength/courage or represent Israel would be great! (That’s why I liked Eshkol, I felt it represents Israel though maybe I’m wrong.)
Thank you again!!
Hi Rachel, thank you for giving me a laugh. I do think there are Kalevs, but it is a risk you take with that spelling. There is an Israeli author named Eshkol Nevo, although Eshkol is not common. Dov and Zev in the same family sounds fine to me. Amitai is a popular name, and Adir is fine too! I promise not to curse you if you choose it. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Interested in reading more on Israeli baby names?