Popular Israeli Baby Names for Boys

So that no one will complain (again) that males are second-class citizens on this blog, please list popular boys’ names in the comments.

The top ten names for boys in 2006 were Itai, Uri/Ori (spelled identically), Noam, Daniel, David, Ido, Moshe, Yosef, Yehonatan, and Amit.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I shocked my mother by telling her that we were considering the name Ido (pronounced eeDO with a long O). Now, I would think nothing of it (but none of my sons is called that).

Rachel: Since I have 3 boys of my own, we’ve been thru all the lists – and chose the following: Maor, Etai and Gavriel (this one always gets great reactions).
Here are some other popular boys names in the neighborhood: Bar, Itamar, Yahel, Rom, Shaked, and my personal favorite – Liam (?? ??).
Lots of “unisex” names too, like Yuval, Ziv, Gal. That ought to get you started.

Shoshana: We’ve gone for the biblical names for our boys so have David-Zvi and Ezra (shmuel, but not used on a daily basis).
We know almost no David’s in the younger set – my son never had a classmate sharing a name till this past year, in kita gimel when an oleh from Brazil named David joined the class. There might be 3 or 4 in our entire mamalchti-dati school or 350 kids. (OK, so our input pool is more masorti than dati but still).
Ezra is most definitely not popular and is considered actually a bit of an old man name – we get a lot of double takes from younger folks, especially non-dattiim. On the other hand, when he was named at our eidot ha-mizrach shul, lots of the older men came by to tell us of their brothers named Ezra….
From my kids classes we have a lot of Dvir (x2 in both boy’s classes) plus Amit(x2 in 1st grade), Liav (x2 in 1st grade), Maor, Matan, Netanel, Naor, Aharoni, Moshe, Neriya, Ben, Ben-El, Shlomi, Liel, Shalev, Shachar, Yair, Adiel, Aviel, Har-El, Shaked, Inon, Yonatan. Many of names are found in both the 4th and 1st grade boys classes as one in each.

Leora: Probably different social circles, but I’ve met two little boys from Israel named Yisrael Meir (named after the Hafetz Haim).
We have a friend with an “Ido”. He lives in Jerusalem.

ProfK: I’m wondering if this is somehow a generational difference or maybe even a country difference, but does no one in Israel any longer name their children after relatives who are no longer living?

mother in israel: ProfK, good point. Israelis in my circles tend to choose a modern first name and a middle name for the ancestors.

Rachel in Israel: where we live most people ove the age of 50-60 have traditional biblic names (just open the phone book and count how many yaakov cohens there are). Between 25 and 50 have “traditional” israeli names, tirtza, yael, moriah, chagit, tiferet, etc. Under that age is what I called made up names, especially unisex, shachar, maayan, hallel, smadar, and anything in nature. Very few people name their kids after relatives. In the states everyone askes if we named our daughter after someone, here nobody asks.

Leora: My Israeli cousin took a Yiddish name and converted it to a very Israeli sounding name for his eldest. But this was over thirty years ago. The next generation seems to be choosing those very Israeli sounding names (Shahar for a girl).
Now (unfortunately) there’s a Yitzchak to be named for…I wonder if there will be a Tsahi?
In Far Rockaway, where I have relatives on my husband’s side, the trend seems to be (in addition to naming after dead relatives) naming after a beloved dead rabbi. All very traditional names.

Abbi: Yes, we used beloved relatives’ names for middle names for our daughters (Avital Esther and Tehilla Shaindel). Although I chose Tehilla to go with my Bubby’s name because she was always saying Tehillim, so there was a connection.
Our son’s name, Elyakim Yehuda is the direct name of my husband’s grandfather, both names, no funny stuff, because that’s was my FIL’s preference and we wanted to honor that. We call him Eli (or, actually, I call him Mr. Moo), my in laws prefer Elyakim.
MII, you should do a post on parent pet names for kids next. I actually also do a theme song for each kid too, a song i make up and sing to that child all the time that has the kid’s name in it. Does anyone else do that, or am i the only weirdo?

triLcat: I donno, I sing Kinneret the “Princess Kinneret Kangaroo” song…
Her middle name is Esther after my husband’s grandmother.
Kinneret is the name that was sent to me. Seriously, I woke up one day in my 7th or 8th month knowing it was a girl and that her name was Kinneret. I had never considered the name before, and had picked out an entirely different girl name despite being convinced that it was a boy.

Lion in Zion: PROFK:
“I’m wondering if this is somehow a generational difference or maybe even a country difference, but does no one in Israel any longer name their children after relatives who are no longer living?”

“Ezra is most definitely not popular”
i like ezra a lot. 2 of my friends named their kids ezra, although they live in america (but one is aliyah bound)

Lion in Zion: PROFK: “I’m wondering if this is somehow a generational difference or maybe even a country difference, but does no one in Israel any longer name their children after relatives who are no longer living?”
i think it’s more of a community/hashkafah thing than purely a country thing. most of my friends (let’s call them of the teaneck variety) did not name their kids after dead relatives. conversely, i highly doubt israeli haredim are adopting all these newfangled israeli names. (for that matter, here in america i’ve heard of more than one story of someone not using a modern name or pronciation they liked because it is not acceptable in RW circles.)
also, naming after dead relatives is a “relatively” recent (ashkenazi) custom. certainly in tanach people were not named after relatives (dead or alive). and i’m also sure that names like faiga and hinda were introduced relatively late.

Lion in Zion: (ashkenazi) = (ashkenazi?)
also, when i taught in satmar half my class was named yoeli (and likewise for menachem mendel among chabad friends)
my son’s name is one we liked and in someone’s memory (not a relative). the second name is after a relative. we weren’t sure about what order, but it flowed better (sound and syntax) with the non-relative first. i try to use both names sometimes, but i’m the only one. once in a while i feel a tinge of “guilt”

rachky: …and then there is the Sefardi tradition of naming children after living relatives – as we did with my first. Gave my (Iraqi) FIL the honor, his name is Meir, we “modernized” it just a bit and called our son Maor.

When we found out our youngest would also be a boy (3 boys), we decided to call him Gavriel – since G-d sent us another “gever gever” (aside from the fact that he’s an angel:-)
All 3 boys have middle names after (Ashkenazi) grandparents on my side who are no longer with us…

therapydoc: And let’s not forget Aden (popular in chutz, Jews and Nons alike.)

Alison: Just throwing in my two cents… here in the states we still name after relatives who have passed away – so much so that it’s usually the first question we get in “Jewish” circles … “so — who’s he named for?”
We decided, when we named our son Avishai Navon to not name him after anyone. My mother’s side was perfectly ok with this. My husband’s parents… well lets just say they HIT THE ROOF!!!
My mother-in-law freaked out (since her father had passed away the year before), told us less than 40 hours after our son was born how disappointed she was in us, and ended up not coming to the Brit Milah because she couldn’t handle the disappointment and just couldn’t be happy! (We didn’t tell anyone his name until he was born – out of tradition.)
Now that we are having a girl, AND the fact that my mother-in-law’s mother passed away earlier this year – i will be having a conversation with her NOW to let her know that this child, like her brother, will have her own name and will not be named after anyone. She will have 5 months to get used to that fact!
Fun huh!?

Abbi: Alison- wow that’s really intense for your MIL not to come to the brit.
I hope the next baby celebration will go more smoothly for her and you!

mother in israel: Wow, Alison, I’m sorry your husband’s parents found it so hard to accept your decision about your son’s name. Still, I am curious about why you chose not to name after your husband’s grandparents.

Batya: It seems like anything goes with names here. My grandchildren have two names, 1st more modern, slightly connected to a dead relative, and second totally. But many of my friends say their kids just want names, no baggage.
Some communities have fads. Each yishuv seems to have different favorite names. In Ofra, Aviya is a boys’ name, as in Tanach, and in Shiloh, besides my son who’s older than all the others with the name, it’s a popular girls’ name, also in tanach.
When my daughter and sil gave #1 the name Hallel, they thought it was rather unique, but then they moved to Shiloh, and there are lots of Halleli’es, at least 4 in kindergarten alone.

Lion of Zion: “It seems like anything goes with names here.”
to the contrary. its reflects life in a society where hebrew is a living language.

Batya: correction-
serves me right for trying to write half asleep and very distracted, http://me-ander.blogspot.com/2008/11/shloshim-isnt-always-30.html,
It’s in Ofra where Hallel is an extremely popular name for girls, who are now 5-6 years old.

Allison: mother in Israel…
We choose not to name after any relative because we had an issue of which relative to choose – both on my side and my husbands side we had people we could name after. So one thing was to not offend anyone we choose not to single out one relative to name after.
The second (as silly as this seems) we didn’t like the letters we had to work with with the names we liked already being taken by living relatives (but this was really an aside as the first was more pressing).
The third is that my husband really isn’t fond of his family – especially his mother’s side (and especially his mother). So there was no real desire to name after a relative.
I really really liked the name “Avi” and he agreed so we went with Avishai. If we had given him a “regular” English name then we could have given him any old Hebrew name (as Jews in the states usually give their kids a Hebrew name too) and we would have used that to honor a relative on both sides (with a first and middle name in Hebrew). But since his name is Hebrew already there was no sense in giving him a different name in Hebrew just to make our parents happy.
And to be honest – after the way his mother and father acted (like babies if you ask me)… we are both very glad we didn’t name after a relative. Our child, our choice of names. (And the funny thing is that they didn’t pull this crap when his brother didn’t honor a dead relative when they named their kids.)
I just made it crystal clear this weekend when his parents were in town that this child will also NOT be named for anyone. And it’s NOT up for discussion – now or ever. As if there is a repeat of temper tantrum that his mother threw after my son was born I will no long be dealing with her as it will have pushed me well over my limit!
Aren’t family members great LOL

Liza R: In my son’s gan, we’ve got many of the modern names listed above (Ido, Yuval, Maor, etc), as well as Nehurai and Yogev, which I really like.

mother in israel: Abbi, sorry for missing that part of your comment–my husband has made up songs for each of our kids.
Alison, thanks for sharing the whole sorry tale. I hope things smooth over before your baby is born.
Liza, those are coming back in style too.

Miri: Liam is not a Jewish name, it’s an Irish name! You might know of one Liam in Israel, but he is definitely not named with a Hebrew name, most likely his parents are from the US. Tori Spelling’s son’s name is Liam, but still does not make it a Hebrew name.

Jon: My wife and I need some help. We are trying to find a suitable boy name. We want to name after my grandfather, Herschl Tzvi (Harry)Z’l who passed away last year. We want a hebrew name that is relatively easily pronouncable. Something that either starts with H or sounds like/ has same meaning as Herschl. We do not like the name Herschl or Tzvi, and we want it to be Hebrew. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, are there any good books/lists available online to peruse?
Thanks and Shavua Tov,

Zehava: Ofer or Ayal – Both deer and both popular names.

Elianah-Sharon: When we converted my son wanted to keep his name – Evan. It means “stone” in Hebrew so…that’s what his name is. I don’t know if it’s even a “name” but that’s what he wanted.

As for my, my Hebrew name is Elianah Aviyah Sarid. And from what I am reading that’s one girls name and two boys right? LOL

mother in israel: Aviyah is more common for girls, actually, and I don’t know anyone named Sarid!

Daniella: I don’t know if this dialogue is continuing but my husband and I are trying desperately to find a Hebrew boy name that ends with “V”. My husband insists he wants our baby’s name to end with “V” like our son Negev. I love the idea of Erev but my cousin in Israel says it’s more a word than a name. Any other ideas? We have the girl name chosen, but finding a boy name that isn’t Nadav or Raviv is hard! Please help!!!

mother in israel: My daughter and husband helped. Yahav, Ziv, Aviv, Yaniv, Yariv, Yehoyariv , Dov.

US Mom: Anyone have suggestions for modern israeli boy’s names that start with the letter “R” ? Also, my husband likes the idea of a middle name after a place in Israel, like Negev or Golan…are these real israeli names? Any other suggestions?

mother in israel: Hi US mom: Rafi, Ro’i, Rotem, Reshef off th top of my head. Golan is quite popular, Negev less so I believe.

US Mom: Is the name Raziel popular in Israel?

mother in israel: US Mom, my teen says it’s not unheard of but not popular either.


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  1. Hi! I’m looking for an Israeli name for a baby boy. We live in the US, so I’m interested in something that would not be too difficult for people to pronounce.
    We like Ehud, Elad, Boaz and Matan – but are still searching for the final name. Any suggestions?