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The Yahrzeit Organization
Naming Question's and Answers Page

The Yahrzeit Organization takes no Halacha responsibility for the answers given and advises every one to consult with their local Rabbi at all times.

The following are questions and answers that have been collected over the years.

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Naming Questions


Q) My father's name was Richard Sidney, and we would like to give our son the Hebrew equivalent or something close. We have been unable to find out my father's Hebrew name. We plan to use the "R" from Richard and name the baby Ryan. We understand that using the initial, rather than the exact name is acceptable. Any insight you can give us would be appreciated.
A) The Hebrew name is reuvan (rueban) for Richard and the second name is yehoshua in Hebrew or Joshua

Q) My daughter was named after my father whose name was Moshe. When we met with the Rabbi he went through a book and gave us several choices for her name. We picked the name " Davida". We were talking about it last night with my mother-in-law and she thought that didn't sound right. My daughter is now eight years old. Could you confirm that this name is correct.
A) If you could contact the Rabbi that gave you the list of names, ask him to confirm that Davida can be used as the equivalent of Moshe. In the book that I consulted, Davida doesn't appear although "Daliah" and the most popular feminine form of Moshe-- "Masha" do appear. If you would like, you could add one of these names to your daughter.

Q) I would like to name the child after my father. His name was Arthur. Unfortunately, my mother cannot remember my father's Hebrew name; and there are no other living relatives to ask. My mother said that she might remember if she heard it. Would it be possible for you to provide me with a list of what the possibilities could be of his Hebrew name. I'm do in June and it's early to determine whether we are having a boy or a girl but I would like to be prepared for either gender. Thank you for your time and consideration to my situation.
A) Some possibilities are Avraham, Avner, Evyatar, and Aharon. Any of these would be fine choices for you to name your son after your father (Arthur)

Q) I have two quesitons i was hoping you can answer
1) my son's middle name is andrew and that is named for my dad's mother. my brother is having a child and would like to name his son's first name andrew(if it's a boy) for our grandmother on our mother's side. can he do that? can he use andrew for a first name if we have used it already as a middle name and named him for someoe else?
2) a couple has a child and names their child "alex" after the baby's grandfather. then the couple have another child, can they name that second child "ariel" after the same grandfather?
A) Every nuclear family is seperate so your brother could name his son Andrew even though your son is named Andrew already.
2) Yes, they can.

Q) I am e-mailing you from xxxx. My wife would like to have our grandson xxxxxxxx named after her deceased father Velvel, and her deceased grandmother Gitel. The baby's parents want no involvement. Is this something than can be done through the mail and we provided with a certificate of naming? The baby was circumcised in the Hospital and is now 8 days old.
A) Sorry this cant be done like that.

Q) Dear sirs We are parents-to-be (in about 5 weeks time) and are very fond of the name Yentl. There's only one question in our minds: is it a female name or, as some investigation on the WWW shows, a name suitable for female and male as well? And if asking not too much: is it true it is etymoligicaly from the French word Gentille in the meaning of "child" of "dear".
A) Yentl is a female jewish name. or Yenta

Q) We are having a baby naming for our daughter in July. Her name is Melissa Grace and was named after non-Jewish relatives (my husband is not jewish but we are raising our childrens Jewish). I have no female Jewish relatives who have died to name her after - hebrew names, that is. Do you have any suggestions for female Hebrew names? I know that Michal is one I remember from my youth. I appreciate your help.
A) Melissa is Miriam and grace is bracha for blessing. may this daughter be like Miriam Moses sister and have compassion to others and bring a blessing to you and your family.

Q) We would to name our daughter after my grandmother "Toby". Can you please confirm that this name is a Hebrew name and what the origins are beacause we are not sure if it is Hebrew, English Or Yiddish
A) Toby would be English for Tuvya in Hebrew Would you like us to call her name out at the Torah reading

Q) I just recieved a baby announcement and the baby's middle name is "Yoda" , does this have any Jewish significance?
A) Not that I am aware of.

Q) I was named after my great grandmother Pearl, but my father wrote down Paula on my birth certificate, before I turned 12 my grandfather died so we didn't have a bat mitzvah for me, I wanted to know when is the child named.
A) A girl is generally named in the synagogue the week she is born. A boy is named on the eighth day from birth, by his circumcision.

Q) Please let me know what is the meaning of the word Shamir (former Israeli Prime Minister). We are expecting a child in the next couple of weeks and would like to name him, if it is a boy, Shamir.
A)Shamir, when used in the Talmud, refers to the worm that was used to cut through stone. Prime Minister Shamir may have hebraicized his foreign name and chosen "Shamir" because it sounded similar. Or he may have taken it from the root "lishmor" which means to guard. I have met people with the first name Shamir here in the US so apparently it has caught on. B'shaah Tova, Best of luck...

Q) I would like to name my daughter after my living grandmother. Is this possible according to Jewish law?
There are customs to name the child after a living relative

Q) My sister just found out that she is pregnant her question is this can she name the baby in engl ish for one family member and in hebrew for another, this is for the same child.
A) Yes she can but usually, one names a child in english corresponding to the hebrew name but if you want you can do what you want but the real name is the jewish name and if you do give two names one should make a note what the hebrew name is unless you use that name for when the child gets married in the hebrew contract we use the hebrew name and not the Englsh one.

Q) When I was a little child I always asked from my grandfather (my mothers father) what is the origin of his family name Samu (this is the Hungarian spelling, the closest english would be Shamu) and he answered through a smile that it is jewish. Then I was too young to give any significance to this but now I am very interested to find out anything I could about my ancestors and my origin. My family lived in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, to be exact in the southern region of Hungary.
Could You tell me a bit more about this family name.
A) Sorry we don't know

Q) We were wondering whether it is ok to name our daugther after my deceased grandfather with just the middle name. His first name was Sam, and instead of naming our daugther with an "S" we would like to use the "S" as a middle name. Is this allowed?
A) Not a problem

Q) When naming after someone, must the english and Hebrew names both begin with the letter of the person you are naming after? If not, is it acceptable for only the Hebrew name to begin with the letter in question?
A) No

A) No religious meaning ( but it is courteous)
A) No religious meaning what ever you like.

Q) I'm expecting my first child in October. I am very confused about how a baby can be named. First of all, is there any truth that a baby can be named after the living if that person is over 80 years old?
A) Yes see our site on naming http://www.yahrzeit.org/naming.html
Q) Secondly, does the hebrew name have to translate to the same name in English or can you name after 1 person in hebrew and another person in English?
A) Yes although usually you try to keep them the same for cosmetic reasons not religious

Q) My sister is pregnant and she is looking for a proper name for her child. Please help me and forward me a list of Hebrew names and their english equivalent respectively their meaning.
A) You may find useful information at the following sites or try asking for a naming book www.artscroll.com or www.eichlers.com

Q) If someone is named Jacob will this show to others in our society that the person is Jewish or Non-Jewish?
A) I don't think it will any more. Non Jews as well as Jews are using names for no apparent reason these days

Q) My daughter was named in Hebrew after my grandmother, Fagel(Frances). My brother would like to name his new daughter also after my grandmother. Can this be done?
A) Not a problem

Q) What is the Hebrew equivalent for the name Alexandra Isabel. Also what is the Hebrew spelling and how would these names be pronounced phonetically in English? I would much appreciate a reply.
A) You may find useful information at the following sites or try asking for a naming book www.artscroll.com or www.eichlers.com


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