Popular Israeli Baby Names for Girls

baby girl in pink outfit and ponytail

image: Chava Kovacs

See also: 20 Popular Israeli Names for Girls, 2010

Alison left the following comment:

I am an American Jew and I am trying to find popular Israeli girl names.

We are due in April with a girl and we’d like to give her a Hebrew name (her older brother is named Avishai Navon). Both my husband and I have come up with several but none we can agree upon. I have been doing lots of web searches to try and find current Israeli girl names but I keep coming up with the same few.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as we are at a road block at this point.

First of all, thank you for visiting and I wish you an easy pregnancy and birth.

In 2006, the most popular girls’ names were: Noa, *Shira, *Maya, *Yael, Tamar, Sarah, *Roni, Agam, Michal, and *Adi. My 4-year-old has friends in gan with the starred names. We also have Ayelet, Shahar, Aviya, and Dalia. Dalia is old-fashioned–I don’t know if it’s making a comeback.

A lot depends on the “migzar.” Haredim, national religious, and secular Israelis choose different types of names, although there is a lot of overlap. The trends for girls’ names change more quickly than for boys.

Readers, please comment with names of girls in your neighborhood, especially babies. Alison, let us know if you want help with the connotations of a particular name.

Popular Israeli Names for Girls

Popular Israeli Names for Boys

Help This Reader Choose a Hebrew Baby Name (November 2009)

More Popular Israeli Baby Names (April 2010)

Help Readers Choose an Israeli Baby Name (June 2010)

Israeli Baby Name Help Needed (November 2010)

Needed: Israeli Baby Girl Name Suggestions (September 2010)

Posts on Breastfeeding

Posts on Parenting

Childrearing Norms in Israel

Staying Home and Staying Sane

Comments

  1. I named my American daughter Ma’ayan because I love the sound of the name but have no idea is it’s old fashioned in Israel, or popular, or what?

    Any insight on the frequency of children named this and connotations?

    Thanks!

    • mominisrael says

      I don’t have numbers, but it’s definitely popular among young children. Not old-fashioned at all.

  2. What about the name Norah? Is it becoming popular in Israel at all? I really love it but I am very concerned that it is too Arabic. Sorry if that offends anyone but that’s the truth. “Nurah” is an Arabic name meaning “light.” “Nurit” would be the Hebrew version but I am still trying to make Norah work. I also don’t want it to be pronounced no-RAH — accent on the second syllable — because that does not work in Hebrew. Help?!

    • mominisrael says

      Hi Esti,
      I’ve never heard of Nora used as a Hebrew or Israeli name. Nurah is a light bulb in Hebrew, but Nurit is a flower. It’s old-fashioned now.

  3. Norah wouldn’t work. Noh-rah means terrible

  4. Planning Ahead says

    What about Michaela (prounounced Me-cha-el-a with a “ch” like “Chanukah”)?

    It is a hebrew name and I like the multi-cultural aspect (pronounced Me-kay-lah is Italian, pronounced Me-ka-el-a is in Spanish) in the USA I think most would pronounce it Mih-kay-luh) but since our last name is not very “Jewish sounding” I would like my daughter to have an obviously Jewish/Israeli first name.

    Is Michaela popular in Israel?

  5. Hi Planning Ahead,
    It is old-fashioned, like many feminized names including Yisraelah. Even Yisrael and Michael for boys are not too popular these days.

  6. Also due in April with a girl! says

    I’m having the same issue! My first born is Kobi Eitan, and am expecting a girl around Pesach. My husband and I are trying to stay away from names with “R” or “CH” so that non-Hebrew speakers will be able to properly pronounce his name.
    I’d also love some suggestions…

  7. Hopefully helpful says

    From experience I’ve found that it’s best to stay away from “r” and “ch” sounds just as Also due had mentioned.

    We ended up picking Lyla for our little girl (like the Hebrew word for night which I though would be a little unique), and our second choice was May (“my” in Israel) or Maya. I might also suggest the name Naomi, I think it’s a beautiful name and it would have definitely been on our list if it didn’t sound so similar to my own name (Noam)…

  8. Hopefully helpful says

    Oh, and also another name that just came to me is Eden. The “E” would be pronounced differently in Hebrew than in English, but still it’s close enough and the meanings are obviously the same.

    For boys, Daniel would work nicely, and also maybe Tom?

  9. I am also due with a girl this spring, and we need a name that can be pronounced everywhere (Europe/US/Israel). We are Conservative, so for us it could really go either way (secular/modern or religious), but it should be a Jewish name. I would be very happy to hear your comments on some names we are considering – are they common for girls in Israel? What background would you expect from these names if you heard them in Israel?
    Mira (Meira?)
    Ayelet
    Bella
    Leila, Lila
    Nili
    Noya
    Timna
    Yael
    Every comment is appreciated – thank you so much!! 🙂
    Lea

    • Hi Lea,

      I wish you a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery. Here are my thoughts:
      Mira (Meira?)-Haven’t heard it lately. Not sure, but I think it’s old-fashioned.
      Ayelet–was more fashionable 10 or more years ago.
      Bella–grandmother’s name.
      Leila, Lila–Haven’t heard it. Lilach, Lee, Linoi, are more common
      Nili–old fashioned
      Noya–that is still in style now.
      Timna–common in religious communities.
      Yael–still common for babies, at least in religious communities and perhaps outside too, but I’m not 100% sure.

      • Your daughter probably already has a name, but we named my daughter Nili, so I just wanted to chime in on that one. We specifically asked two of our (sabra) friends, and they both said it was ‘coming back in fashion’. I’m hoping we didn’t give her a 65 yo woman’s name, but it suits her, so I’m happy with it. Oh, and we chose it b/c we like having both biblical meaning (Nili is an acronym for the pasuk “netzech yisrael lo yishaker”) and Zionist meaning (Nili was the name of the spy ring in pre-state days.)

  10. thank you, mother in israel, that was very helpful for me! 🙂

  11. I really like: Edden, Penina, Ashira, Adele, Maya, Jordan, Adriana, Leah, Leila.

    For boys: Shimon, Adam, Avner,

  12. UK dad-to-be says

    Is Shifra considered old-fashioned ? Does it sound very frum or is it found amongst secular families too ?
    We don’t want her to be instantly categorised as one thing or another.

    Thanks

  13. I want to thank you so much for this post – I found it last year and I keep coming back to it as we got pregnant and recently found out the sex of the baby. We found out today that we are having a girl, and we want very much to give her an Israeli/Hebrew name. I’d love to find out if Michal is still popular among little girls. What about Na’ama? Are there any names that begin with a “b” for girls, aside from Batya, Batsheva, Bracha, etc.? Thanks for your thoughts!

    • You’re welcome, Naima! I don’t think Michal is common, Naama continues to be so, I believe. B names: Bat-El, Bat-Chen, Bruria (that last is mostly in religious circles).

  14. Due soon in Canada says

    We’re thinking about Dov for a boy and Savyon for a girl (I know it’s more common for boys but we like it for a girl). Are these names associated with religious/secular, or have any bad connotations in Israel I should be aware of?

    Thanks so much!

  15. Dov is definitely more common in religious circles. My husband has heard of Savyona for women. I don’t think either has bad connotations.

  16. Lea-
    Timna seems old fashion, but I haven’t been here long. I didn’t know Bella was Jewish, but I think it is going to be very popular in the US (that and Lily…just my guess). Similar thoughts on Lila/Leila. I think Yael is pretty and works well in the US. It’s just exotic enough to be cool, but still easy to pronounce. I don’t like Noya…makes me think of Goya or annoying…sorry. I know a couple babies in the US named Mira, haven’t heard it hear yet.

    Sierra-
    My daughter’s name is Adele and she had an Ashira, Penina, Maya, and Leah in her class this year (in the US before we moved). Pnina and Na’ama made our short list when we named our baby Talia.

    UK Dad- I think Shifra sounds frum, but all the names were frum until a secular or even non-Jew popularized it. Maybe in a few years you friends will say, “Shifra’s not old-fashion, I know the cutest little girl named Shifra.”

  17. This conversation is great! I’m in Canada. I named my daughters Noa and Talia. It’s so hard to be on top of the trends/ connotation when you are abroad, and I found it difficult to get objective answers from family.

    I’m wondering how popular Talia is in Israel right now and if it has any connotations?

    Thanks!
    (sorry if this is a double post, not sure if my previous one went through)

  18. Due in August says

    I love the name Leora and want to know what others think…I am concered about people pronouncing it Lay-orah instead of Lee-orah…I prefer the LE spelling over the LI spelling…is the name too out there for America?

  19. If you use it in America, be sure to teach your child that people may say Leona or Leonora, and your child can politely learn to correct them (I never did learn that as a child – but I do so as an adult).

    Leora is very phonetic, so once people get it, they get it. It’s somewhat popular among girls under twenty in my area (Highland Park/Edison, New Jersey).

    Sinclair Lewis had a famous heroine named Leora. I like having the name!

  20. Due in August says

    Thanks Mother and Leora,

    @Leora I’m glad you like having the name, I really like it! I heard it’s considered an “old” name in Israel but I still think it’s a winner.

    Thanks again!

  21. I think Leora is a beautiful name and suits the American ear and tongue. One of my best friends is names Leor (spelled like that) and she is an amazing young woman.

  22. Due in October says

    My husband is obsessed with the name Aria for a girl. i am not sure about it. Is this a name that is used in israel? I have never heard it before but our name book says it’s hebrew. We are looking to give our daughter a hebrew name that can be easily pronounced here in the US. Thanks!

  23. Due in October,
    I think in the US it’s pretty, but in Israel it sounds a lot like the boy’s name Aryeh. I’ve never heard it as a particularly Jewish name. Do you specifically want an ‘A’ or aleph?

  24. Due in October says

    Yosefa – No, we do not need an A or aleph name. My husband heard the name a long time ago and thought it was very unique and pretty. When i looked up it’s origin it is hebrew, but I never heard of it before, and I needed to know if it would be appropriate to use as my daughter’s hebrew name (which would be her only name).

    Mother in Israel – I wasn’t sure how to spell it in hebrew, I was thinking Aleph-resh-yod-heh. I didn’t even think about it being spelled like Aryeh, which is my uncle’s name and poses other issues with the name.

    Are there any hebrew/Israeli names that you can suggest which would translate well in the US? No specific letter needed.

  25. My daughter said Oriah is a common girl’s name. She never heard of Aria either. Oriah is spelled the same as Aryeh with a vav after the aleph.

  26. Due in October says

    Oriah is very pretty. Thank you for your help with this.

  27. My wife and I would like to use the name Davita for our upcoming little girl. To my American ear, this sounds prettiest when I pronounce it da-VEE-ta. Is this an unusual way to pronounce it? I don’t ever hear it so I don’t know how an Israeli would render it. Does anyone want to suggest a middle name? Thanks.

    • Hi Mike, For the record Davita isn’t in our dictionary as an Israeli/Hebrew name. It was popularized by Chaim Potek. Davida, as a feminine of David is used but rarely. I think most people would pronounce it as you suggested. Congrats on your wife’s pregnancy.

  28. Israeli Good says

    Esti, Israeli is right, but I do know a Nora (in Israel). She was my grandma’s neighbor and good friend, I haven’t seen her since my grandma died but I figure she’s at least in her 80s now.

    Due in August, I don’t know if Liora/Leora is considered old fashioned, but Lior/Leor is far more popular, for both boys and girls.

    Also I know an Orian, Davida (American), and at least two Orans

  29. Amy Canada says

    Hi,

    My daughter’s name is Sivan (See – vahn) hebrew month. I think it is a very pretty name. It can be a boy name as well.

    Just a quick question where does the name ‘ESTI’ come from? I have heard this name often but not sure where it comes from or what it means?

  30. I’m curious, is Adina popular in Israel right now?

  31. oh and ps i’m not the same Esti as above who asked about Norah !

  32. Dana Horesh says

    I am located in the US. We have two women named Adina in our community. One is in her 40s and the other in her young 20s.

  33. Is the name Sima ever used in Israel? Is it old fashioned?

  34. Is Sima Israeli or Russian or Yiddish? Our hair dresser in the US (she was Israeli, though) was named Sima, but she said her Hebrew name was Simcha.
    I’ve heard “Shaked” (almond) a lot lately among preschool aged girls. It’s growing on me.
    Here is a more extensive list than you will find in baby name books. The new ones are at the bottom and there are a lot of non-Jewish names, but it’s interesting.

  35. We’re having a baby girl and looking for a name that starts with the letter A. Is Aviva popular right now? How about Amira too? Thanks.

    • Shay, please see Carol’s comment about Amira. Aviva is not so popular nowadays, but there are many young women with that name.

    • IsraeliGood says

      Most girl names that have boy/unisex versions are not used. There are no girl Amirs that I know of but there are girls named Aviv (my cousin’s cousin), Ziv (good friend), Yuval (second cousin) and so forth.

  36. Carol Feldman says

    26 years ago, living in Oklahoma, we named our son what seemed to be a good Jewish name: Seth (3rd son of Adam). Four years later, we met an Israeli named Amira. We loved the name,and a year later named our daughter Amira.

    Fast forward to 2003, we decide to move to Israel and have a son who has his name pronounced Shet and a daughter who has the name of everyone’s grandmother.

  37. I’m back, and curious if Nechama is popular in Israel?

    • I haven’t met any little kids named Nechama. Is this a name you’re planning to use in secular circles in the US? My impression is that it’s more popular in religious circles in both Israel and the states.

      Are you the Esti who asked about Nora? I think the name Nurit sounds cool, but that blog post was the first time I heard it.

      • No, I’m the Esti who asked about Adina. So confusing 🙂 :p
        I’m religious, and I like this name. It is very popular in religious circles in N.America.
        Yes, Nurit is very interesting and pretty, it’s the name of a flower 🙂

  38. How about the name Abigail? Is the Hebrew Avigail popular right now? We like that the name has a biblical connection and since we are in America, can be used in the US and Israel. Do people think it’s too common?

  39. My name is Davinah, in Hebrew it means cherished. I lived in Israel for ten years and I haven’t met many others with my name, which is why I like it. My sisters name is Talya (pronounced like Talia) but we knew a lot of Talia’s in Israel, although none with the same spelling as hers. For short we call her Taly (Tal-ee)
    Good luck picking a name!

  40. Hi! Is Mirav used these days, in either Israel or the US?

  41. Due in august says

    Just to let you know I had baby Leora in August! thanks for the advice, I am getting great responses from her name but it really bothers me when people say Lenora…so different!

  42. I am trying to think of a girls first and second name starting with L and Z in either order. This time I am really having trouble thinking of names. The name has to be able to be pronounced in America but I would like a more Israeli name. It doesn’t have to be popular necesseriy. Our other two daughters are:
    Tziona Maayan and Nava Shemesh. Thanks so much

    • Lital
      Lea (pronounced Lee-ya)
      Lilach
      Zohar (I think it’s unisex, Zohara is a bit old fashioned)
      Ziva

      • good ones! I haven’t met any Ziva’s under 40, though. Is there a character named Ziva on one of those crime drama’s with the military?

        Leila
        Lior. Leora
        Liron
        Leital?
        Linor/Leanor (“I have light”)
        I have met a few Zohars, but I thought it was weird at first.

      • How about Zahara… (Incidentally, I think Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes have a Zahara) it has a beautiful meaning, I think it means new dawn or new start.

  43. zehava (obviously)
    zehavit
    zelda (not modern, but Israeli)
    libby
    lehavit (I think I saw a doctor with this name)
    lev (according to my neighbor it’s a girls’ name in Israel)
    Leiba (Yiddish, but I think it’s pretty)

    B’sha’ah tova!

    • thank you all. I just cant come up with a name with the L and Z restriction that i love. I was set on Emunah until my aunt recently passed. Plus, my husband really likes names (I guess Ido to) that have flow to the meaning like our other daughters Tziona Maayan – wellspring of Zion and Nava Shemesh – Beautiful sun. Anythoughts on Zaharit Lev? Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. thanks all!

      • That’s pretty. What does Zaharit mean?

        • I had it wrong. Zaharit is a flower but it is Arabic. Zoharit comes from Zohar which I am prety sure means light or glow. So, it would be glowing heart. Any thoughts?

          • I thought Zohar was more like illuminate. I think most names have to grow on you. And so many names, one person makes it sound beautiful and another makes it sound dull or awkward. My cousins name is Lian. It sound so pretty and cute when I here Israelis say it.

          • what does Lian mean?

  44. Just curious how popular Leila is in Israel? How about Leela/Lila?
    Thanks! Inbal

  45. I have two questions. Is there a Israeli nickname for the the name Avigail? And second is there a Hebrew equivalent of the English name Constance or Connie?

    • I like the name Avigail. I also wondered that. The truth is, my husband and I discussed nick names when we named our second and third kids and we never use them. Even if it sound like a mouthful, you and the kids friends all get used to it, or the first sylable becomes the nickname, like you might sometimes just call “Av” or even Abby.

      Apparently Kineret is a girl’s name. I couldn’t find any names meaning constant/steadfast.

    • IsraeliGood says

      Gal
      Gali
      Avi

  46. I just wanted to check back in – we welcomed our daughter on August 16 and named her Michal Kalanit. While we have the obvious problems with people pronouncing her name (including my mother!), many in my community have reacted very favorably towards it, especially the Israelis!

    Thanks for continuing to have this thread – it’s so helpful to find what is popular in Israel when you want to avoid giving your children old-fashioned names.

  47. I was wondering how common Aya and Reina / Rayna / Reyna are as names in Israel?

  48. Update: I’ve opened a forum, which I hope will be less cumbersome than wading through comment threads: http://www.amotherinisrael.com/israeli-baby-names-forum/

  49. These comments appeared on the original Blogger version of this post:

    mother in israel
    And Alison, let us know if you had the baby and what you decided!

    mother in israel
    Hey,Just for Bees, thanks for visiting. I know a young Daphna but it’s not so common.
    Andrea, yes, I would say so.

    andrea
    I love the name Aviva, but I only saw it mentioned in two of the posts towards the end – is this a “dated” name?

    just4bees
    My daughter is Eliana Mirav. My BFF in Israel is Avital, her sister is Dafna, her daughter is Lilach.

    mother in israel
    I don’t know of any Jewish Israeli children with either of those names. There’s an Amira Hess who writes in Haaretz, and I am pretty sure there are people named Ashira. Best wishes on your pregnancy.

    Arona
    Hi

    This is just what I was looking for. I live in Australia and I’m looking for a hebrew/israeli name that isn’t going to be hard to pronounce in English.

    I came across 2 names, Ashira and Amira, that my partner likes as well.

    From what I could fine, Amira seems to be quite popular in the Arabic community. Is this so?

    Is Ashira a common name in Israel?

    Thanks

    Lady-Light
    My cousin’s name was Timna. She died tragically, many years ago. I love that name. . .

    mother in israel
    My husband and I know a Timna.

    Timna
    My name is Timna- it’s biblical and also an old copper mining town/ national park in the Negev… it’s not very common here or in Israel but I get lots of compliments on it.

    mother in israel
    Elaine, I didn’t mean to be so terse. Welcome. I think that Linoi is a beautiful name.

    mother in israel
    Linoy is a popular name.
    Elaine
    I was living in Israel in 2002 when my daughter was born and we chose the name Linoi (or Linoy) which means something like ‘my pretty one’.

    mother in israel
    Lady-light, thanks for sharing. Abbi, my sense is that Avital is no longer trendy. It may still be popular among Anglos, hence your hearing it in Raanana. I know of two new babies named Tehila. I know boys with all three names you mentioned, Lady-light. Rachel, thanks for sharing. And thank you to the other commenters I haven’t acknowledged:

    Rachel
    In north London, little girls in my daughter’s class are Maya, Orli, Ariella and Aviva. I also love Noa and Avital, but don’t know any here.
    Sunday, November 09, 2008, 1:09:00 AM
    Abbi
    Avital is not old fashioned at all. I’ve heard the named called out at many of the playgrounds we frequent in town.
    Thursday, November 06, 2008, 9:30:47 AM
    – Flag – Like – Reply – Delete – Edit – Moderate

    • wow, ok i’m an american wondering about israeli names. Is Elaina an Israeli name? I thought it was greek or french? My name is april does it have any hebrew ties at all? And is Ziva or Zivaleh a popular name in Israel? Thank you:D

  50. Wouldn’t Nissan be like April,? But for boys, I think.

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