20 Top Israeli Baby Girl Names for 2012


Credit: Hannah Kestenbaum

See also: 20 Top Israeli Baby Boy Names for 2012

At long last, the Israeli Central Bureau for Statistics announced popular names for 2012.  Today I’ll review the top twenty names for Jewish girls.

First, a word about trends. Remember how just a few years ago single-syllable names were all the rage? We had Lee, Shai, Or, Tal, Gal, and so on. These names have virtually disappeared, with only two of the top fifty girls’ names containing one syllable. And one of those is the classic biblical name Ruth at 24. Shir, once enormously popular, is at 50.

Names with a combination of two one-syllable words like Orly, Liat and Meital have also dropped way down. Replacing them are classic Hebrew names including the biblical Noa and Yael which remain popular in secular circles. Avigayil jumped from nineteenth place in 2010 to six in 2012. Others, like Chana (Hannah) are common in the growing religious sectors.

Unisex names have also lost popularity, with names like Adi staying popular for girls but not boys.

Comparing the 2012 top twenty with 2010, Chana and Adele have replaced Maayan and the non-Hebrew Lian, which dropped to 26 and 29 respectively.

Without further ado, here are the twenty most popular Jewish girls’ names for 2012.

In parentheses, you’ll find the sectors in which the names are most popular: S=secular, NR=national religious, and H=haredi (ultra-Orthodox).

  1. Noa (S, NR) biblical
  2. Shira (all) song
  3. Tamar (all), biblical, date
  4. Talia (S, NR), female lamb
  5. Maya (S, NR) Russian
  6. Yael (all) biblical, gazelle
  7. Sarah (H), biblical, princess
  8. Adele or Edel. (S, NR). This name is popular because of the singer, and because both the mother and daughter of Rabbi Nachman of Breslau was named Edel. Edel is a Yiddish name.
  9. Ayala (all), doe
  10. Michal (all), biblical
  11. Avigayil (NR, H), biblical, lit. father of happiness
  12. Chana (NR, H), biblical, full of grace
  13. Ella (S, NR),When the second syllable is accented, terebinth tree. Could be a goddess.
  14. Noya (S, NR), feminized form of Noy, beauty
  15. Roni (S, NR), sing, shout for joy
  16. Hodaya (NR), thanksgiving
  17. Hila (S, NR), halo
  18. Tahel (S, NR), she will light
  19. Rivka (NR, H), biblical
  20. Adi (S, NR), jewel

If you’re looking for more baby name posts try these:

20 Top 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. Placido Etzioni says

    Hodayah simply means “thanksgiving,” like other common nouns with a final heh in their root, e.g., ‘asiya (“doing”) or tseliyah (“roasting”). But the translation “thanks to God” leads me to wonder if other namegivers also (mis)interpret neutral -ya endings as references to God. I have certainly heard people say that Maya and Talya have to do with God; they translate Maya as “water of God,” and Talya as “dew of God.”
    BTW, isn’t Talya simply the Aramaic for “little girl,” like in the name of the Jerusalem landmark Talithakumi?

  2. Many, if not most, of those who choose the name Yael think of the Biblical heroine.

  3. Yay, so much fun. Can you link to the full list?

    I have modernish haredi friends (Israeli) with a little Talia. I predict that one will jump the fence (the name, not the kid).

  4. These names are largely very traditional. I’m glad to see Chana making a comeback, and am surprised to see that Ayala – our 2013 baby’s name – is so high up. It’s the first time we’ve given one of our kids a popular name 🙂

  5. Debbie Hoffman says

    I have a 4 year old named Talya Shoshana – Talya meaning “dew of G-d”, which is a name that we love. I didn’t know it also means “female lamb” and I’m pretty sure that most people who name their child Talya have the first meaning in mind.