Jewish Guide to Baby Naming
The Jewish Guide will assist you in understanding the importance of one’s name, for this is your identity in Judaism.
One of the most important decisions a Jewish parent has to make is what name will be given to their child. It must be distinctive and one with deep meaning for this name will be carried for the rest of their life. Bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, passing or memorials, all require one to have a Hebrew name.
Traditionally, a baby boy is named during his Brit Milah, also called a bris. The ceremony takes place eight days after a child is born and his name is not revealed until then. Baby girls are usually named in the synagogue during the first Shabbat service after their birth.
It is common for a child to be named after a relative that has passed on, a close family member, a character trait or an inspiration from the Bible. Some parents even name their child after nature. For example, “Aviv” means “Spring”, “Dalia” means “flower” and “Alon” means “oak tree”.
During a ritual, such as a bar/bat mitzvah, or prayer, when a person’s Hebrew name is used, it is usually followed by the father or mother’s name. For example:
Doron (son’s name) ben (son of) David (father’s name)
Dikla (daughter’s name) bat (daughter of) Dorit (mother’s name)
Orthodox Jews and Israelis are given one Hebrew name that is used for both their religious and secular life. Usually children, outside of Israel, are given two names- one name for everyday use and a second Hebrew name to use in the Jewish community.