More Popular Israeli Baby Names (April 2010)

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Expectant parents from overseas, looking for information about Hebrew baby names, often visit this site. Here are recent comments on Popular Israeli Names for Girls:

Update: I’ve opened a Forum for Israeli Baby Name Help

Due Soon in Canada: 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?

Naima192: 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 Naama? Are there any names that begin with a B  for girls, aside from Batya, Batsheva, Bracha, etc.? Thanks for your thoughts!

Please weigh in with your thoughts.

Israeli readers: We did this before, but it’s time for an update. Let us know what people in your neighborhood are naming babies these days.


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)

Israeli Baby Name Help Needed (November 2010)

Needed: Israeli Baby Girl Name Suggestions (September 2010)

Posts on Breastfeeding

Posts on Parenting


  1. BookishIma says

    I’m a little out of the loop, but my sense is that Dov is a dati name, Savyon is a chiloni name (and works fine as a girl’s name), and Michal and Naama (two names I happen to love too) haven’t really made a comeback yet. The only other “bet” name I can think of for a girl is Bar, which you probably don’t want if you don’t live in Israel. In my circle, popular names include classics like Daniel, one-syllable unisex names like Bar, old-new coinages like Dvir or Idan, and what I think of as trendy, like Almog. I hope that is helpful!

    • BI: I think you’re right about Dov and Savyon, and probably about Michal and Naama although I think there are a number of preschoolers with Naama.
      LOZ: Daniel is used for both: think Danielle. Just like you would name a girl Morgan, though, you would never call a boy Cynthia. Many more “boys” names work for girls than vice versa. Daniel is considered okay for a girl, but not Netanel.

  2. “I know it’s more common for boys but we like it for a girl”

    does this matter anymore in israel? we checked with an israeli friend if the gender of a name we chose could be confusing. she responded by telling us about a wedding she had been to recently where the bride and groom had the same name (daniel?)

  3. Due Soon in Canada says

    Thanks very much for the quick responses! Do you know why Dov is used mostly in dati circles? Just a trend or is there some religious meaning of which I’m not aware?

    Much appreciated.

  4. I live in a Yishuv with mostly Israelis and Michal and Naama are very popular.
    Popular Girls’ names: Yael, Noa, Ori and Noam (in addition to Michal and Naama)
    Recent Girls’ names in our yishuv: Techelet (the color of the sky), Raviv (raindrop), Or-el (G-d’s ligh) Li-yah (G-d is mine?), Yarden and Arbel (a Mt. in the North).
    Strangest boy’s name on our yishuv: Yah-li (G-d is mine)
    My kids: Nitai, Rachel, Amir, Noa and Ehud

  5. Recent names I’ve heard: Ilai(boy, secular) Moriah (girl, religious).

  6. Also, in my 3 year old’s age group there are three kids named Lotem – 2 boys and a girl.

  7. In my children’s playgroup (aged 3), the names that repeat themselves are:
    Tamir for a boy, Noa and Yael for a girl.
    We also have one Yonatan and one Yehonatan.

    In our neighbourhood (a more religious sample than the playgroup class), there are several instances of “Eliya” for a boy, and a couple of “Yiska/Iyska” (not sure how it would be spelt in English) for a girl.
    Tehila, Tamar and Hadas are also quite common for girls lately.

  8. The only B name I could think of was Bar too, and I have to echo that this wouldn’t be a good choice for an American family.

    I was also surprised to see when I checked that out of all the children in both of my kids’ classes (about 70 kids) there is not a single “B” name. Lots of Rotems, Avigails, Ilais, Ofeks and Tamirs though.

    I do know one baby Michal, but all the other Michal’s I know are in their 30’s and 40’s. Naama is also not a common girl’s name these days.

  9. I mentioned this on the other thread but my daughter suggested Bat-El, Bat-Chen, and Bat-Ami. I’ve also heard of Bat-Tzion. Bruria is common in religious circles.

  10. “B” girl name – Bat-Or

  11. Bareket for a girl

  12. Bareket would work for a secular girl as well, the “Bat” names (and Bruria too) that MII and Ariela mentioned are more common in religious circles.

  13. “Yiska/Iyska (not sure how it would be spelt in English”

    in English would be Jessica or Sara

    “The only B name I could think of was Bar too, and I have to echo that this wouldn’t be a good choice for an American family.”

    thes days bar may not be th best name in israel either

  14. Not israeli (?) but Brielle in corrupted Hebrew is god created or god’s creation (also corrupted for divine health). In pure Aramaic it means stregnth of god or hero of god

  15. Mrs Belogski says

    When we named our oldest daughter Michal nearly 15 years ago, we were living in chutz la’aretz in a very charedi town, and there were only about 4 Michals in the whole place. Now we live in London and she has 5 in her school class and almost every family seems to have one. it’s the name of choice here after people have used “family” names. Noa has also been popular here for the last few years, and Maya.

    • Wow, amazed to hear the name Michal (my name) is so popular nowadays outside Israel! I was born in Tel Aviv and lived in Israel for the first 7 years of my life after which we moved to London and since then (1990) I have met ONE other girl with my name chutz la’aretz. Pleased it is gaining in popularity if only to make the day-to-day easier! Most people still make a strange face when I tell them my name, or confuse it with the male name Michael when seen written down. I haven’t liked it for most of my life but finally beginning to in my late twenties, and possibly also since I am due to become a mother in the next 4 weeks.

      • Michal, my name was also uncommon when I was your age, but at least it was easy to pronounce. And then look what happened. Wishing you an easy birth to a healthy baby.

  16. My husband’s grandmother’s Hebrew name was Tova, and my husband truly wants to name our hypothetical daughter for her. I am really not a fan, as I dislike the name itself (it’s bland and old-fashioned), and have very negative associations with it due to a particularly unpleasant Tova whom I used to know. (The other Tovas I’ve known have been warm and lovely people, but the person in question poisoned the name for me.) Does anybody have any suggestions for a cognate name, one that has a similar meaning? We’re MO-ish Americans, and are not especially up-to-date on current Israeli baby names not used by my relatives 🙂

  17. Naima-
    I love Michal. I meet 20 and 30-somethings in Israel with that name. I liked Na’ama before I came to Israel. It seems REALLY popular here, at least in our building and my kids’ school. Another name I hear a lot is Ayala (accent on the last “ah”).

    Another consideration – do you want a name that is pronounced the same in Ashkenazi as it would be in Israel (unlike: Batya/Basya, Batsheva/Bas-sheva, Shulamit/Shulamis, Ruth/Rut/Rus)? If you go with a name like Bracha, you can spell it Braha if you’re concerned the “ch” will be pronounced like chiropractor or cheese.

    I know a 5-yr-old in the US named Baila, do Israelis still use it? I think it’s cute. I know a Batel/Bat-El or two here, but I don’t like it in the US.

    Due Soon- I see no reason Dov is only for frum people. Maybe it’s to classic for hip, modern Israelis. Check out Freakonomics (by Levitt & Dubner) and read the chapter on names

    For the record: off the top of my head, a few main stream names that Americans and Israelis both use for girls: Naomi, Shoshana, Shaina/Sheina/Shayna, Talia/Talya, Miriam, Leah, Sara, and I’m starting to hear Maya and Noa more in the US. I think Tamar is ready to break out of Israel.

    Gila – I know a lovely Tova here ? and a very kind a creative Tova in the states. How about the affectionate “Tova’le? I know a couple female Toby’s. You could also combine it with another name like Tova-Leah. If you want to just use the “T” sound there are lots of names…Tamar, Tehilla, Talia. From my experience, one you have a daughter with that name, she will be the “Tova” (or whatever you name her) you think of first and you will compare all others to her, not the other way around. If you find out the gender around 20 weeks, you’ll have at least four months to test out the name in your mind and forget about all the other Tovas.

  18. I really, really hate the name Tova, in all of its forms. No derivative, nickname, combo, or variation on Tova is going to cut it. All of the lovely Tovas in the world (and I know several) will not bring me around to this name. I want a Hebrew name (which eliminates Toby, or, for that matter, Gittel) with the same meaning, so that I can sell it to my husband.

  19. Similar to Gittel but Hebrew: I once knew a girl named Gittit, as it Mizmor al ha Gittit

  20. My daughter is 11. I wanted Tova, but my Israeli friends said that would be like naming a kid Delores or Martha, too grandma to consider. We named her Talia.
    She goes to Day School, and at age 5 someone said to her in a store, what an unusual name. She said, no, there’s one in each class in my school. (there were 3 K classes) I cracked up.

    • Alia, it so often happens that parents pick what they think is an unusual name and find out it’s not. (Not sure what you thought at the time.) It’s funny that the Yiddish name Kaila became so popular for a time.

  21. @GilaB, is there something you can do with her English name? Translate that or modify?

    For ex: My husband’s grandfather died less than a year before my son was born, but his Hebrew name was unusual (Elyakim) and I would not consider using the nickname Elie (in our neighborhood it seemed like every 3rd little boy was named Elie). So we took one of the meanings of his English name and translated it into Hebrew…and that is the name that our son carries.

  22. We live in Canada. My daughters are Noa and Talia. Just wondering how popular is the name Talia in Israel? Is it considered a religious/secular name? Is it more common for israelis or americans living in israel?

  23. Her English name was Toni, which isn’t really promising. If anybody can think of a good Hebrew variation, I’m open to it.

    • This probably comes a bit late but:
      Antonia can refer to the girl’s name Antonia, a feminine version of the name Anthony. Its meaning is “priceless”, “praiseworthy” and “beautiful”.

      So: Tehilla, Yakira, Yakar, Yaffa, Adi…

  24. Mrs Belogski says

    Assuming that Toni is an abbreviation of Antonia, then the meaning seems to be “priceless, praiseworthy, beautiful” which opens up a whole range of Hebrew names. What about Yaffa, Tehilla, Ashira? I’m sure there are others…

  25. GilaB, my mother z”l was originally called Toni and even though the English name was changed and she used Tova for a Hebrew, she said that it was really Taiba, which means dove in Yiddish. Tova was an Hebraization based on sound, not meaning. could that have been the case with your husband’s grandmother?

  26. What about Tanya for Toni? Or Netanya?

  27. Inbal,
    When we moved to Israel with our 2 month old Talia (now 5m) a couple people told me it was a very popular name, but the closest I’ve come is a nurse named Tal. Noa seems more popular. My husband chose the name and our family was thrilled that we chose an easily pronouncable name they consider normal and pretty. (We are religious and our family is not.) In Israel they pronounce it differently though – I think it’s more like “tal-ee-AH”. (I think it’s funny that other names we considered that we thought were unique, like Noa and Na’ama, are so popular here.)

  28. Thanks for the comments!

    Yosefa, I noticed the difference in pronunciation when we were visiting Israel too.

    We had such a hard time picking the name. We wanted an Israeli name that is easy to pronounce here. I moved to Canada from Israel when I was little and I had a really hard time with my name especially in school (who thought that Inbal is so hard to pronounce!).

    I LOVE the name Talia but was concerned that it was an American-Hebrew name as opposed to a true Israeli name. We considered Tal and Tali (which seem more Israeli and are also beautiful), but we were concerned if we named her that people would call her Tall. So we use Tali as a nickname.

    It’s hard to find a truly international sounding Israeli name. I took my list of names to work to see how my collegues (from a variety of places) would pronounce them. Maya is another name we considered which I love and easily pronounced by everyone. The problem is that here in Canada there are so many Mayas especially in the Jewish community.

  29. We know a fair number of religious, non-Anglo families here in Israel who have daughters named Talia (not to mention related names – like Tal, Lital, Revital, Avital, etc.)

  30. I just have to chime in on two issues here:
    1) We were looking for a good B middle name for our daughter, and came up with Bareket. Here in Israel, it’s a beautiful name! But you should just be warned – when we told our American friends and family that our daughter’s name was Noa Bareket, they were doubly confused – Noah for a girl? And what’s that second name, Burekas?
    2) My name is Toby, and I was named for my great-grandmother, Taube (which means dove in Yiddish, as was previously mentioned). I can see not liking the name Tova, but I have run into quite a few nice T names, mostly related to Tal, like Tal, Tali, Talia, and Talel. Good luck!

  31. naima912 says

    Back again… still playing with names… We’re Conservative Jews near DC looking for Israeli Hebrew names for our soon to be daughter.

    We’ve pretty much decided on Michal for our future daughter’s first name (named for my husband’s late father, Michael) – we’re also considering Meital and Miri as names without a “ch,” but I really love Michal.

    For the middle name – my grandfather was Bobby (given name, not just short for Robert) – and I just haven’t really come to like any names that begin with “b”… so.. expanding my list – his middle name was Kahn (his mother’s maiden name), so one option is Kalanit – husband likes it more than I do. Any other “K” names you can think of?

    We’re also considering Naama – it would honor my grandfather since he was such a pleasant, wonderful, gracious person, even though it’s a more creative link instead of using the first letter.

    Any thoughts?
    Michal Naama F__________
    Michal Kalanit F__________

    Thanks so much for your thoughts – truly appreciate the feedback!

    • Both names are pretty, but I am partial to Naama. I believe a child is imbued with the characteristics of the name they are given by their parents. I have a son named Noam and he has grown to be a gentle, pleasant soul.

  32. BookishIma says

    FWIW, I would not give a name with a chet if you are planning to live in the States long-term. Americans can’t pronounce it. They also can’t pronounce certain consonant clusters or place an emphasis at the end of a word very well. I love distinctly Israeli/Jewish names and it makes me smile when people choose them for their children, but I can tell you it is draining to have to talk about your name and how to spell and pronounce it every time you go out of the house.

    Also, just so you know, Israelis don’t usually give middle names, at least my crowd. I haven’t heard Kalanit, maybe because the trend right now is so strongly in favor of short (1 or 2 syllable) names. It sounds old-fashioned to me, like Thelma or Rosie in English. Are you looking for a kaf name or is kuf okay too?

  33. I love the name Michal. (Last month out of the blue my daughter said, “If we have another baby, can we name her Michal?”) I think if you don’t mind goyim saying Mikal or Mihal, people will figure it out. Especially since the name Mikayla/Michaela is more popular than Michele now. It’s true that Israel’s are giving short names (Noa, Maya, Naama, Shilat, Vered are some of the first that come to mind) and our doc was confused that my kids have two names. When we opened a bank account the clerk kept calling us our middle names. But you’re not Israeli, you live in America, so your kid at least needs a middle initial to put on all those forms. I think middle names are important to make each name unique.

  34. I also could use some name suggestions. We are expecting our second child (don’t now the sex yet) and are having such a hard time coming up with a boy’s name. Our first son is Ilan, which we love. We tend to prefer Hebrew names, but since we are in America, we don’t want something too strange or difficult to pronounce. I think we are going to use Dalia for a girl, but are stuck on the boy name. Some things we have thought about are Reuven (knowing that it would be pronounced Ruven by non-jewish americans), Ori or Oscar (don’t think this is even hebrew though). I’ve looked at all the “hebrew name” lists that come up on Google searches, but it is difficult to know which ones are extremely old-fashioned, etc. Does anyone use the names Lev or Rom? Other thoughts?

    • Sarah, Lev is old-fashioned. I think Rom is in use, but not sure. Ori is popular enough. Oscar is not a Hebrew name, as you say.
      Naima and Sarah, I’m posting both your questions tomorrow in a new post, but readers following the thread can continue to respond here in the meantime.

  35. Don’t know about Rom (nice name), but for sure Ram, Rami, Ran, and Ron are in use. Also Ronan (or Hannah, is it Ronen?).

    Also, on my previous thread I wanted to mention Yonah (dove) for a boy since there were so many references in this thread.

    ~ Maya

  36. What about the name Ora for a girl? My husband loves it but we were told its considered old fashioned in ISrael, is that true?

  37. My nine year old daughter has a friend named Ora in her class. We live in Efrat.

  38. Shira, Do you live in Israel? Why is it such a problem to use a name that might be considered old fashion IN ISRAEL if you’re not in Israel? Even if you make aliyah, or your kids makes aliyah, the name might be really hip by the time your kid is old enough to care. I have a name that is not only weird and old fashion in Israel, but even in America, it’s walking sign that I was not born into the religious world, because who in their right mind would just add an ‘A’ onto their grandfather’s name if they thought their daughter would actually use the name? A telemarketer once asked me what my mom was smoking. But I’m just fine. I don’t think it adversely affects my social or professional life, and I don’t mind being unique. At least you are all talking about giving your kids beautiful names. I think Ora sounds lovely and is easy for Anglo’s to pronounce and relate to. It has a nice meaning and short names seem to be generally very popular in Israel.

  39. Julia Milman says

    We are considering naming our daughter Avital. Is this a popular name in Israel (we live in Chicago.) Are there any negative connotations to the name, any “bad” nicknames? Is it considered a good name? What do people call Avital for short? Avi? Tala? I would really appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thank you!

    • Hi Julia! It’s less popular than it was, but not old-fashioned yet in my opinion at least in religious circles. Avi is a nickname for boys, people would say “Avitalush” or possibly Tali.

    • I think it’s pretty. My understanding from another commenter is that Avi can be for boys or girls, but I’ve never heard it used personally. My husband and I always talk about nicknames and then we never use them. We have a Mordechai and we talked about Mordy and Motty, but we always call him Mordechai. You get used to it. Avital rolls off the tongue nicely, anyway. No need to worry about nicknames. What did your parents call you? Jules? Julie?

      • I have a 15-year-old Avital. I know several grown-up Avitals but also one or two babies. FYI, in Hebrew, the stress is on the last syllable, so it’s pronounced AviTAHL, and not AHvital.

        BTW, my name (Sharon) is a good cross-over name for girls, easily pronounceable in both English and Hebrew.

  40. Update: I’ve opened a forum, which I hope will be less cumbersome than wading through comment threads:

  41. Brooke Borden says

    Is the name Nadyan for a girl used in Israel? Its a Hebrew name meaning pond and I really like it, but I can’t find anyone with that name.

    • Hi Brooke, where did you hear that name? We’ve never heard of it. Our Hebrew dictionary says that it’s a pool for washing clothes. I did find it on some name lists when I looked.

    • A reader found this person named Nadyan:

    • I like it but never heard it used. I think as a sound, it’s pretty and very easy on the American toungue. My native Israeli friend also hasn’t heard of it and suggested Agam or Maayan meaning spring / creek / brook. Maayan seems very popular, but I think in America people might think it was Asian. (Either way, their resume will looks smart.)

  42. Hi,

    I was wondering whether the name Tal is common for boys in Israel. My feeling is that it is more popular for girls. We are in America and want to give our child a Hebrew name that is relatively easy for Americans to pronounce. Thanks for your input.

  43. Passionate Jewess says

    Just wanted to say that I am so enjoying your blog!! I could read and discuss Jewish/Israeli names forever (as I ponder making bebe #2) so this is heaven. Todah.

  44. Hello!

    I was wondering what everyone thought of the name Sheena? I know it probably is close to unheard of in Israel…but it is very close to Sheina.


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