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Jewish name resources

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Oh help, came to this forum to ask this and got sucked into the circumcision discussion instead.

This is what I actually need assistance with. This child is going to be born with no name. I am not finding any that I like and all of the sources I look to for Hebrew/Jewish names keep being reviewed as inaccurate or just don't have enough info. The baby name sites are the worst.

First, does anyone have a really good source of meanings, hebraic lettering, and history and sources of Hebrew names? The best book I've seen on the topic was written in the 1980's, there must be something more recent? I'd love a source which listed more modern Israeli names for example.

Second. My original plan was to have a daughter and name her after my aunt and my grandmother. Hah, the babe is a boy instead. I'm trying to find a name that somehow honors my grandmother still but we don't know much about her hebrew name. It was said to be Kaila but without a written document with it, I don't know what the true spelling was or whether it was a hebrew name, or Yiddish name..biblical? Does anyone recognize this name? Can anyone tell me something about it? She was called Clara on her American Birth certificate (and eventually switched to using Claire).

Any help is appreciated
post #2 of 33
I think you're thinking of Kayla (there really is no "correct" English spelling). I happen to think it's a beautiful name (not that my opinion matters). I do know a few girls with that name. I have some ideas about the possible roots of the name but since I'm not positive I'd rather wait first and see others post. If you remain unanswered then I can step back in.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I meant the true hebraic spelling Yes most likely the same name as the American name, Kayla, but I'm not sure.
post #4 of 33
There is a little girl in my twins' class named Kayla. She spells it ק''לה I just checked the class list. No idea what it means but it is a pretty name
post #5 of 33
So you're looking for a boy's name with a similar sound/lettering/meaning/look & feel?

The name I could come up with was:

Calev (Caleb) (def: Like the Heart).

The other suggestion I have is that if you want to name after someone(s), find out what charachteristics best described them and name after those charachteristics.

post #6 of 33
You also might want to crash the "Israel" thread in the "Finding Your Tribe" forum- there you'll find the native Hebrew speakers who are likely to be able to translate any name(s) you're considering, plus have some first-hand knowledge of modern Israeli names.

The most I could help you with would be to link you to some online "baby name sites" that you've already found.
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
I'm bumping this up so I can ask for some help in the Israeli thread, we have tried a few names and none seem to click, hoping that perhaps some hebrew speakers can come up with suggestions I haven't found yet.
post #8 of 33
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post
So you're looking for a boy's name with a similar sound/lettering/meaning/look & feel?

The name I could come up with was:

Calev (Caleb) (def: Like the Heart).

The other suggestion I have is that if you want to name after someone(s), find out what charachteristics best described them and name after those charachteristics.


Hummm...calev (caleb) (kel-lev) means dog. Calev (kuh-lev) means from the heart. But that's a bit too close for me.

I would take some Hebrew words you like and just play around with the letters to make it meaningful for you. Decide first which you want. Do you want something close to your grandmother's hebrew name or something to honor her demeanor. Was she soft and gentle or outspoken and wild? Does a place name or a nature name interest you? Where did your grandmother hail from? What do you feel about the spirit about your boy about to be born? What kind of soul is he? What are your dreams or aspirations for him?

Perhaps the fact that he's a boy is HaShem's way of freeing you to really focus on HIS spirit and soul, whereis with a girl you would have felt locked into using your grandmother's Hebrew name.

Maybe a name that means clarity or transparency or focus would be a way to honor a Claire?

Tell us more about the situation. And if your son is born without a name, that is fine too. The tradition in many facets of Judaism is to not tell or even decide on the name until it is announced at the brit. You won't be the first mother to choose a name moments before. Provided you are having a brit. I assume that was discussed elsewhere, from what you've said, though.

Anyways, let's focus on the name and see if we can't help. It will be okay, mama. You'll find it. He must be a very special child with a very specific name if it has proven this challenging for you thus far.
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well my grandmother's name used at home was Kayla until she went to school...this was most likely a yiddish version of Celia actually though and not a truly Hebrew name. Her name on her birth certificate was Clara though...she herself hated Clara and chose Claire and refused to answer to anything else for the rest of her life. She liked the breeziness of it and the meaning. So I think I'd most like to go with something that in some way refers to the name Claire...either by sharing the first letter or the meaning of clarity or light or something that refers to Celia..."of the sky". Again with the first letter (at least in english) being a C.

We also decided that this will most likely be the child's middle name, I think we are going to use his late brother's middle name as his first name. But we aren't completely decided. If we do that the first name will start with a D, and is too similar to Ori/Oren to really consider that possibility. It is possible this will be the first name though.

Unfortunately I do not know much hebrew so playing with words is hard. Kelev is one of the few hebrew words I do know though and so the most common suggestion that we should use "Caleb" is just off limits for me, even if its possible to assign another meaning to it, I would always think I had named my child "dog"

I tend to like biblical names my other two had/have biblical first names but that isn't really necessary (the first name is not biblical and not even originally hebrew in origin) I do really prefer that the hebrew name and english name be the same or very close versions of one another or at least strict translations of one another.

So far the only possibilities we've come up with are Zohar, and Ma'or, Neither quite works in English and at least in English I'd rather the name start in C or K if possible.

In English some have suggested Cyrus (means sun in persian, name of a persian king which seems kind of strange for a nice Jewish boy) and Celio (similar to Celia) or Kyle. (my husband is Scots so this has some connection) None of those seem to have hebrew versions though.

I hope that's not TOO much info.
post #10 of 33
in what language does celia mean of the sky? i dont think that is hebrew.
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Celia is most likely from a Latin family name meaning heaven or "of the sky" though its also used sometimes as a short form of Cecilia (which means blind). Its used in many languages but not (as far as I know) hebrew.

I don't know if my grandparents parents knew that Kayla was a form of Celia or if they just chose a yiddish name they liked that sounded like the American name they put on her birth certificate. Neither of my grandmothers had "hebrew names" both were born in the US into Yiddish speaking at home and had Yiddish names they were called by and American names that went on their birth certificates. My other grandmother didn't know she had an American name until she went to school and the teacher yelled at her for not answering to her name.
post #12 of 33
why not just use "Clair" or "Clarity" in English? Chakuf means transparent. (Sha-koof) You could spell it with the soft C to make it match in English. Koof sounds a bit like Kyle, so maybe you could do something like that.

Tell me your thoughts and I'll think some more about it.
post #13 of 33
Am not advocating for the name, but Cyrus is not out-of-bounds for Jewish boys. Cyrus the King of Persia was beloved by Jews for ending their exile (after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem/the Temple and exiled the Jews), and Cyrus issued a proclamation urging the Jews to return to Jerusalem and declaring his intent to rebuild the Temple.

I think the Hebrew version (or at least the version in Tanakh, in the book of Ezra) is Kurash. But don't quote me, it's off the top of my head.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
hmm, that is interesting about Cyrus. I did know there was a story about him and the temple but I didn't remember what it was. Kurash? I can try looking it up.

I don't think I want to go with Clair or Clarity they just sound too feminine to me, yes I know they were originally boys names, and really I'm not that big on pushing gender but the first name is ambiguous enough that I don't want to confuse it more.

The other two English names I was thinking of were Celio (male version of Celia essentially...originally from a roman family name) and Cedar.

What would "sky" be in Hebrew? or "of heaven"? And Cedar is Erez? Or is it Eretz? Can that be a name or is it usually just a word? Since my name means Oak tree I imagine tree names are pretty common but I'm not sure.

I was also considering Yair but for some reason matching the meaning doesn't seem to work quite as well for me as the first letter. However, the sound is similar though to Claire even if it starts differently and I do love the name Yair. I'd probably just use Yair in English I guess because "Jair" sounds a bit odd and too much like my brother's name.
post #15 of 33
You should check out Anita Diamant's Jewish baby book, it has a name section with some good contemporary names as well as the biblical choices.
post #16 of 33
i would be VERY inclined to think that Kayla was a yiddish version of Chaya.
And the appropriate name for a boy would then by Chayim.

My kids dont have english names and I dont live in and english speaking country so I wont be very helpful thinking of an english version.
post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
And the appropriate name for a boy would then by Chayim.
We've already used the name Chaim for my second son.
post #18 of 33
My first thought was Kai (pronounced kye) because it has the same letters as Kaila. But it's not a Hebrew name, so I don't think it will work for you. Along the same lines, is there a Hebrew equivalent of Clarence? The 'clar' part of Clarence reminds me of Claire and I'm wondering if it might be a roundabout way of honouring your Grandmother?

I know you mentioned that Caleb isn't on your list, but perhaps another 'cal' name might work? You can take the 'cla' from Clara and use that to honour her. I know Calvin isn't a Jewish name, but my knowledge of Jewish names is extremely basic and I don't know if there are any others.

Good luck.
post #19 of 33
too bad about chaim.

Calev was a big tzaddik who was one of only 2 men who went out from egypt to survive the 40 years in the desert and merit to enter into the Land of Israel. The other was Yehoshua who was the leader of the generation. Maybe reconsider the name Calev?
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
ack. No Calev Really if you only know about 20 hebrew words, no matter how great a guy he was....well I dunno it just isn't good for a kid to have a name his own mom will make fun of

What is the hebrew root or word for sky? or heavens? Is there a name that plays off that at all?
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