Top 20 Israeli Baby Names for Girls, 2010

smiling sitting blond baby in pinkAlso see the most popular girls’ names for 2012.

In honor of the International Day of the Child, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics published the 20 most popular baby names in 2010.

Four of the top 5 names for girls are biblical (Noa, Tamar, Yael) or traditional (Shira). My husband argues that Shira is not really traditional, being around a hundred years old.

The list is similar to the top-10 list I posted in 2006. Noya and Talia are new, with Michal and Adi losing popularity and Agam disappearing altogether.

Few unisex names made it into the top 20, with the exception of Adi and possibly Roni, meaning “sing.” Roni is also a nickname for the boy’s name Ron. Where are Chen, Shaked and Tal? They also don’t appear on the list of boys’ names, which I’ll publish tomorrow.

I’ve labeled the names as secular, national religious or haredi, but feel free to argue with me in the comments.

I’ll publish the boys’ names tomorrow.

Israel Baby Names for Girls, 2010
Key: H: haredi, ultra-Orthodox. NR: national religious/modern Orthodox. S: Secular.

  1. Noa (S, NR) biblical
  2. Shira (all) song
  3. Maya (S, NR) Russian
  4. Tamar (all), biblical, date
  5. Yael (all) biblical, gazelle
  6. Talia (S, NR), female lamb
  7. Roni (S, NR), sing, shout for joy
  8. Sarah (H), biblical, princess
  9. Noya (S, NR), feminized form of Noy, beauty
  10. Michal (all), biblical
  11. Hila (S, NR), halo
  12. Tahel (S, NR), she will light
  13. Adi (S, NR), jewel
  14. Ayala (all), doe
  15. Hodaya (NR), thanksgiving
  16. Maayan (S, NR), spring
  17. Lian (S), non-Hebrew
  18. Ella (S, NR),When the second syllable is accented, terebinth tree. Could be a goddess.
  19. Avigayil (NR, H), biblical, lit. father of happiness
  20. Rivka (NR, H), biblical

You may also enjoy these posts:

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


  1. Yup, that covers pretty much all the baby girls I know around here. Though I don’t think secular Israelis use “Hodaya.” My basis for that is the scene in Srugim where Avri, who’s secular, first meets Hodaya. He doesn’t realize she’s religious and so when she tells him her name he says “Hodaya? Ze shem shel dosim!”

  2. Ella is definitely Hebrew. I know many girls born around Lag Baomer named Ella after the tree.
    I have a Noa at home who is 9. I had no idea it was such a popular name when we named her. I am sure the others are not on the list. I have Rachel. I will wait for tomorrow to see about the boys’ names.

  3. Channa is correct: Hodaya is definitely not secular

  4. Yes, Israelis who use Ella (pronounced e-LAH) are naming after the tree, not the non-Hebrew name. Non Israelis who use the name usually pronounce it “Ayla” these days. Though I’d love to use it to name after the character from All of a Kind Family!

    Hodaya is definitely a religious and more Sephardi name. The Srugim character looks pretty Ashkenazi, I’m surprised they chose it for her as the “dos” name.

    I get a lot of interesting reactions to Amalya. Some people like it and some people are like “Oh, so old fashioned!” (mostly from people I meet of Teimani extraction)

  5. I can’t get enough of posts like these! Thanks. So much fun.

    Represented in my daughters’ NR gan and on this list: Tamar, Avigayil, Rivka, Noa–classics.

    I’ve never heard Tahel–that’s a nice one.

    Perhaps some people have the Aramaic in mind for Maya? I have an American niece named Maya, and all her siblings have only Jewish names.

    I’m surprised by Talia and Ayala. I associate Talia with a 30-yr-old MO American, and Ayala with a 40-something Israeli. Although I do know a 4-yr-old Israeli Talia . . .

  6. Ella also means goddess, female of “Eil.”
    Many parents who give the name Talya, say it’s G-d’s dew.
    Your “code” isn’t explained completely.
    It’s interesting to see what isn’t popular, unless names given in Shiloh, Ofra etc are nothing like other places. Name popularity is very local. My youngest, a boy, is named Aviyah; he was the first in Shiloh to get that name. About ten years after he was born it became a popular girls name, but in Ofra it was a very popular boys name.

  7. I just read the article in Hebrew and one of the comments was that Lian is initials of ?? ? ???

  8. I am surprised that Sarah isn’t more popular, actually, based on how many people name after relatives. But I don’t know any little girls named Sarah (though there are a number of gan moms with that name).

    Many of these names appear in my son’s gan (22 girls–although 5 are named Shira!)…these kids are going to go through life with an initial tacked on to their identity!

    • I’m surprised that Sarah doesn’t have an “NR” next to it. I’ve met and know of far more Dati Leumi Sarahs than I’ve met Charedi Sarahs!

  9. The Hodaya error was just to make sure you are all on your toes. 🙂

  10. almost every baby girl born on my NR yishiv in the past few years has been named hodaya or moriah or oriya. im surprised the latter names are not on the list!

  11. I’m jumping the gun, but it’s really interesting how so many more of the boys names are traditional. This has been the case for a good stretch of Jewish history where we have tended to be more flexible/creative with girls names, frequently giving them names common in the surrounding culture, or yidishzed versions.

    • Ari, I think in most western cultures people are more conservative about boys’ names.

      • There’s also a serious reason to be more conservative about boys’ names! Aren’t there about ten times as many men’s names in the Tanach as women’s names? There’s just more to choose from.

    • It’s true, people tend to be more conservative with boys’ names. So I’m surprised that in my girls’ gan, there seem to be a lot more boys with less-usual names: Raziel, Shilo, Zion Goel (one name), Gamliel, Maor, Aviel etc.

      Then again, it might be the neighborhood . . .

      • Years ago I taught in a progressive Jewish day school in Manhattan. Boys names included: Saadya, Abaye and Seraphya. Quite less usual!

        • Ms. Krieger says

          I love the name Saadya. Reminds me of the great Gaon. But it’s hard to be a boy named Saadya or Seraphya in the states. A friend of mine told me of a conversation she overheard between her father (an attorney in a big Philadelphia firm) and her cousin (student in his final year of law school, named Saadya). Her father essentially told the young man that he had to put “Sam” or some equally innocuous WASP name on his resume if he wanted to get any interviews at prestigious firms. The name just sounds too odd to American ears.

          • Totally agree with that advice, if someone wants to go into a conservative career like law. Although I wonder if that’s still the case with the burgeoning Indian and Asian populations in general, today.

  12. All 3 of my girls’ names are in the top 20 … I didn’t know I was such a trendsetter. My oldest is Michal and there have never been any other Michal’s in Gan or school with her, same with Abigail – only my Talia had to have an initial tacked on to her name.

  13. I’m glad to see 4 of my granddaughters on that list :-). 5 actually. We have 2 Hodayas (Hodayot?). I’m surprised that Efrat and Tehila didn’t make it though. I’m interested to see the boys’ list tomorrow.

  14. I have a friend in her early thirties who was born in the US to hippie parents (really–they met on a commune). Her name is Hodaya which was always sort of a funky bt name (a little Carlebach-y) –and then they made aliyah & people were always surprised by it. She herself was surprised by how common it is now after the years of people doing double takes.

  15. I also think that Talya is “dew of God” and unconnected to taleh.

    RE: Hodaya – I’m actually surprised that it made the list. All the Hodayas that I know are between 15-20 years old now. In fact, every other teenaged girl in our neighborhood is named either Hodaya or Moriah. (Back when our son was in gan, he had six – count ’em! six! – girls named Hodaya in his gan!) But I don’t recall hearing about any new babies being given either of those names in a very long time.

  16. Hi
    I’m surprised Avigayl is in the most popular names. When we named our firstborn Avigayl 12 years ago, the name was so unique and raised a few eye brows because as you know we are secular and the name is considered religious. But my daughter is very proud of it, especially when she learned that Avigayl was a queen, married to King David and the Bible describes her as both smart and beautiful.

  17. Hey, nice site! Just wanted to say that Maya is water in Aremaic!

  18. Ruth Alfasi says

    BS”D: Enjoyed the post, and use Ella short for my Elisheva. Seems everyone I know, including us has a Noa, but I’m surprised Hadas isn’t on the list. Tahel is a name i hear a lot and always pause not to say, TaCHel-et, ooops. It seems so truncated to me.
    Do you mind if I comment about a boy’s name only cuz I missed your boys’ names post and it’s been on my mind for a long time…? What’s with the Israeli spelling of “Roy.” I had many students in the secular high school where I used to teach English and there was always at least one “Roy” which, of course, gives me a chuckle first of all because of the good ol’boy connotation, but also because they ALWAYS spell it “Ro-ei or Roi.” Never with a “y” all claiming the misrad haPnim says that’s how you spell it and what do I know? I realize they’re transliterating from Ro/Ee, but still, it’s a NAME in English that’s spelled R-O-Y. Any thoughts?

  19. The thing about trendy names is that they seem really eye-rolling at the time, but who cares 20 years later? Like have you ever met a woman named Jennifer and thought, “ANOTHER Jennifer?” Not so much.

  20. I just heard of a baby girl – 3 months old- whose name is ??? Romm (which means ‘high’). I know the great-grandmother, who is thrilled to have lived to see this great-granddaughter but is not so excited about the name.
    My granddaughter is one of 6 (count ’em, 6!) Tamars in her gan of 26. 😉

    • I saw a cute article about the problem with explaining modern names to Grandma.

      • Having a decade of experience as a grandmother and besides our traditionally named grandchildren we a also have our dose of ‘vas is dos far a nomen’ moments (although our Yiddish is now English ‘what kindaofa name is dat?’), we are very happy with any and all of them! I do prefer names where I don’t have to guess if the child is male or female. Just makes life easier.
        I have known a grandmother who didn’t speak to her son and daughter-in-law for several years after they refused to name their son Velvel.

        • LOL, any time my 5 year old goes somewhere new (gan, birthday party, etc) and mentions a kid I don’t know I almost automatically say “ben or bat?”

  21. Interesting that most of the names are pretty darn “Israeli.” Very few are popular in the U.S. Abigail and Ella are the only two that make it in to the American top 20. I’m kind of glad that Israel isn’t overly influenced by the rest of the West. The world is more interesting when our various cultures stay unique.

  22. Just commented on your ‘popular boys’ names’ post. I notice (I’m sure it’s obvious) that Haredim generally use Biblical names, for boys and girls–with very little variation. I know someone named “Gavriella” who became a baalat teshuva, and her name was not accepted, until she added two Biblical names to it (Devorah Rut).

  23. I found this while looking for various blogs, and I’m suprised at how popular Tamar is. My husband picked that for our daughter’s middle name because he liked the sound of it and he wanted a very Israeli middle name for her. (We used the English version of his grandmothers name for her first name, so she has an easier time in school.)

  24. I am expecting our second baby girl around Shavuot and a name that both my husband and I like is Naomi. Is that a popular/common name in Israel? Is it more popular in religious/secular circles? What do you Israeli moms think of it in general? Another name that we like is Jasmine, but I think it’s more Persian than Israeli, and I like the meaning of Naomi better. Thanks so much for your input!

  25. I know a 6-yr-old Naomi, and lots of adults. That’s in National Religious circles. Everyone says it “Nomi.”

  26. Not sure if this thread is still current, but just wondering whether Merav is used much in Israel, and if so, in what circles? Thanks!

  27. Just wondering how the name Zahava/Zehava is viewed in Israel at the moment? I would like to name after my great grandmother Golda but am unsure whether Zahava is an “old lady” name. Our other kids all have popular NR names.

  28. I know an Adi who’s named after a Golda. She’s about 20ish. I haven’t heard of any new Adis in the past few years, though.

  29. Hey there,I know this is old, but how abt anael? Is Ayala still as popular?
    We have to name a fter a sima, how old ladyish is this name?

  30. I know…sima must also be first name! Hopefully we’ll be allowed to do a more modern middle name but our family takes these things seriously…
    we were also thinking yonit…is that a modern name. I like Ayala pronounced correctly, but if w e ever live in the states I cannot stand the American pronunciation.
    thanks for all the help! This is a great resource

  31. one last thing,
    If I give her the name simone, is it more acceptable in Israel? there is no compromising this name, since it is after a family member, but maybe a nickname would work? any suggestions, it is very hard to name a child when you think they will be teased for the name!

    • As far as I know, the name Sima means “a treasure”. You could use another name with the same meaning – say Shoham – it is a precious gem, and it has a similar sound to Sima. What do you think?

  32. I could change the actual name..just a nickname or.english name variant (like Simone) that sounds the same…the family is very strict about these rules

  33. I could change the actual name..just a nickname or.english name variant (like Simone) that sounds the same…the family is very strict about these rules

  34. Hi is the name Rut considered old fashioned in Israel? We are looking for a name that works in English as well. We already have a Naomi, my husband thinks that\’s another good reason to go for Rut but also it\’s unique in his family unlike most of the popular names like Noa or Shira although I love those names too. I would like something that isn\’t just confined to dati circles and is easy to pronounce in English – I have no issue if our English relatives pronounce it as Ruth I\’m just worried the name may be old fashioned in Israel as bh we are making aliyah next year.

  35. My husband and I are expecting a daughter, and we are hoping to name her something that will fit in in Israel (where my husband comes from, and where we may one day live) and Australia (which is where we live at the moment). Some names I like the sound of are Ardith, Astala, and Aphra – the middle name will be for my husband’s grandmother, Miriam. Do you think that any of these names would sound strange in Israel – are they too unusual? Do you know of any other names with similar sounds we might like to consider? I feel a little lost trying to bridge two cultures, especially as I’m unfamiliar with what’s considered old-fashioned or unpopular in Israel.

    • Ophra is used in Israel, as is Idit (Edith).

      • Thankyou for responding, Hannah. Idit is beautiful, but I worry that it looks a little too similar to the English word ‘idiot’ – Australian children might see the link as irresistibly teasable. However, I love Ophra, I’m going to suggest it to my husband. Again, thankyou for your suggestions!