Help with Israeli Baby Names: December 2015

Menucha Chwat's granddaughter with homemade blanket

Menucha Chwat’s granddaughter

Here are a few queries I’ve received regarding baby names. You may also enjoy the update of my Nameberry post on Chanukah baby names, and this Wall Street Journal post by Aviya Kushner on the difficulties of translating Hebrew names in the Bible.

Please share ideas for these readers!

  1. First off, I want to say that I love your blog for the unique perspective it provides, so thank you for what you do. I’ve started paying attention to the Israeli baby names section of your blog more closely, now that my husband and I are expecting our first child in January. A little background: My husband moved to the US from Israel when he was 5, and I have an Israeli mother. We also always talk about the possibility of making Aliyah someday, so for those reasons, we would like to give our children names that work well in Israel, as well as in the US. We’re having a girl and our favorite name (that’s not in use by a family member) is Avital. I’m concerned that since Avital a biblical name and not a modern one, it might not be used in secular circles. Is Avital a name that is currently given to babies who are not in religious families? We don’t really have anyone else to ask this question because we don’t want to tell anyone our name choice before she is born. We are also open to other suggestions. Thank you in advance!
  2. Our baby boy is due in less than 3 weeks and we are running out of time. We have 2 daughters – Noa and Talia. I’m Israeli and my husband is of Indian origin though we are raising our kids Jewish and are looking for a modern secular Israeli/international name that is pronounceable by people here in North America. As our daughters are older, they want to be involved in the name choosing, which I love in concept, but it makes it much much harder to come up with names we all love that meet our criteria. My husband and I love Elliot (even though its not an Israeli name, we could nickname him Elie), but the girls HATE it. We like Yonatan and Eitan best as Israeli names but are unsure about pronunciation/fit here. Uri is a favourite of mine but totally unpronounceable here. We all love Ben (it’s the girls’ favourite) but not sure if its substantial enough by itself. Benjamin is nice but a little too traditional and not so Israeli. We also like Daniel and Ariel but again these seem traditional. Ely is taken by a good friend. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  3. Hesitant to have this published as friends and cousins use your blog/Facebook page… We are having a baby in the next couple weeks, and don’t know the sex. I think we’re ok if it’s a girl (*think*) but haven’t had a lot of agreement for a boy. Trying to name after my grandmother. who didn’t have a Hebrew name, but was Pepi/Perl Ruchl. We sort of struck out with P names for boys (no to Pinchas, Peretz, though I liked the latter) and looked in other directions. I like Shapir, but it’s been struck down as too weird. We haven’t fully clashed on Aminadav (Nachshon is one of my husband’s Biblical/Midrashic heroes), because we’re both into service to others generally and the Jewish people in particular, as was my grandmother, who was a kibbutznik in the 40’s and early 50’s. I’m reluctant to use such a long and obscure name (even though I thought of it), but if it’s the only one we can agree on… Just wondering if you’ve met any Amis who are Aminadav… We both have a fair amount of interaction with and travel to Israel. Any other suggestions would be great as well! (We are also doing part of the name, I think, after my husband’s great-grandmother Anne/Chana – daughter is named after my brother and mom, so my husband’s family has felt a little excluded. Anyway, Anne and Chana are easier thematically and with letters, though no one besides me likes Chen!). And also, I was thinking about how non-judgmental you always are in your posts and responses, and let you know how much I appreciate that.

Readers, can you make suggestions?

More baby name posts:

Most Popular Israeli Girl Names 2014

Dreaming about Israeli Baby Boy Names

Israeli Baby Boy Name Help: June 2015

Israeli Baby Boy Name Help: March 2015

Israeli Baby Girl Name Suggestions Needed: January 2015

Israeli Baby Boy Name Help, December 2014

Israeli Baby Girl Name Help, December 2014

Israeli Baby Name Help, February 2014

Top 20 Israeli Baby Girl Names for 2012

Top 20 Israeli Baby Boy Names for 2012

Israeli Baby Girl Name Help, November 2013

Israeli Baby Name Help, June 2013

Modern Israeli Baby Girl Names, April 2013

Israeli Baby Boy Name Help–starting with “R”

Israeli Baby Name Queries, December 2012

Top 20 Israeli Baby Names for Boys, 2010

Top 20 Israeli Baby Names for Girls, 2010

Popular Israeli Names for Girls (October 2008)

Popular Israeli Names for Boys (October 2008)

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)

Unusual Israeli Baby Names

Get more baby name ideas at the Facebook page for A Mother in Israel.


  1. Hannah, good luck with the birth and the baby naming! It is hard finding a name that works for both Americans and Israelis. One of my sons is named Ari which works fine for me in America but I can’t say the “resh” in Hebrew. My other son is Solomon on his American passport but Shlomie here. He was once in the US and called “Swami.” My daughters are Amalia & Libby which fortunately work well in either country though not in France – people couldn’t understand why I named one child after the country of Libya. Keep us posted! Diana Bletter

  2. Hi Hannah,
    Could you please help me find a baby girl’s name in loving memory of safta Pnina.
    In US it’s hard for people to say Pnina but we really want to have a name after her.
    Thank you in advance.

  3. Hi Hannah,

    I would like to know if “Madeline” does exist in Israel. It has a biblical root (Migdali means tower in hebrew) but it’s not used as baby name anymore, I guess.
    Can you help me? Maybe are there other version such as Magdala/Magda/Madelene etc?

    Thank you in advance

  4. I like the name Nili, but would prefer to spell it with an e. I know in Israel, some girls are named Neli. Is that the same as Nili which is an acronym for the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind or is Neli a different name altogether?

    If Neli is a different name, is it pronounced Nell- ly?
    Please help.


    • I am pretty sure it is the same as Nili. The question to ask is how Neli is spelled in Hebrew. Nili is usually spelled Nun-Yod-Lamed-Yod. Neli would be without the first Yod. Good luck! Hannah K

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