Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Hebrew baby names for boys and girls

So you’ve just found out your baby’s gender. Now you’ve been planning out the most elaborate, surprise gender reveal party. But… “Have you picked out a name yet?” That is probably one of the most frequently asked questions new parents will hear throughout the pregnancy.

One approach to picking out a name is to look to different cultures for unique names. This research can be quite interesting, and you may even choose a name that has a special meaning or history behind it.

The Semitic culture is just one example and provides many Hebrew baby name choices steeped in rich, fascinating traditions.

Now, as you can imagine, this article cannot even come close to listing all the popular Hebrew baby names. To make it easier, we selected a few directly related to Judaic history, religion, or significant symbols.

The traditions for naming a baby

To begin with, in the Jewish culture, the naming of a child, in itself, is part of a religious ceremony. For boys, the parents grant the name at the time of circumcision. For girls, the parents name their baby when the Torah is read shortly after she is born. For both genders, names are usually derived from the Torah or the Talmud. In fact, many Hebrew baby names have slight variations, so it is not uncommon to see names that are also unisex.

Hebrew baby names for girls

Here are some of the popular Hebrew baby names for girls. Most of these names also carry a special, historical, or spiritual significance:

Abigail is one of the most common yet popular names of Hebrew origin. This name’s meaning translates to “my father rejoices” and is present in the Old Testament. Also, the Talmud refers to Abigail as one of the seven prophetesses and King David’s second wife.

Rachel, another popular name, implies tenderness or refers to a ewe or “one with purity.” Rachel was one of the four Jewish Matriarchs, having been one of Jacob’s two wives and the mother of Benjamin and Joseph, from whom originate two of the 12 tribes of Israel. To this day, her tomb is a venerated site of prayer.

Devorah (Deborah, Debra) was the prophetess, warrior, and judge who led the revolt against the Canaanites. Devorah means “to speak kind words” or “swarm of bees.”

Another option, Gal, means “wave” in Hebrew and, by itself, can be a name or a diminutive for Galit or Galia.

Hadasa is another choice that carries special meaning because it’s the Hebrew name of Esther, the hero of the Purim story. Also, it’s the title of one of the books in the Old Testament.  Literally translated, “Hadas” means “myrtle.”

Finally, Yoana or Joanna means “God has answered” or “grace.”

Hebrew baby names for boys

Likewise, there are many options for boys’ names to choose from as well. Here are a few suggestions that also bear a special significance to the Judaic culture.

For example, Abraham bears a Hebrew origin, which means father of the multitude. He was one of the original patriarchs, and God changed his name from Abram once he appointed him as the father of the Hebrew nation.

David is another Hebrew name, carrying the meaning of friend or beloved. This name is also quite important history-wise since King David was the second monarch of Israel. He is counted as the ancestor of all future kings, including the Messiah.

Saul, another popular name, was the first Israeli king anointed by Samuel. This name means “ask for.”

Aaron is another much-beloved name in the Jewish tradition, and this historical and spiritual figure was considered highly important because he was the older brother of Moshe (Moses).

Other famous Hebrew names are Adam, which means “earth,” and Zebulun, which means “abode maker” and is the name of Jacob and Leah’s sixth son.

Unisex Hebrew names

Additionally, you will find many unisex Hebrew names that would come in handy if you’re waiting until your baby is born before finding out the gender or if you’re having trouble deciding on two names.

Here are some choices to consider:

  • Leor, which means “My light” in Hebrew. This name would be a special gift to pass on to your little one if they’re born during the eight days of Hanukkah since it’s known as the “Festival of Lights.”
  • Ariel, which is more commonly chosen for girls, is also a great name for a boy. Ariel means “lion of God” and can be shortened to Ari.
  • Jordan is a popular Hebrew baby name that means “flowing down.” It’s also the name of a historically significant location, the Jordan River.
  • Amit, another popular choice for boys and girls, means “friend.”
  • Uriah is traditionally a name chosen for boys, but in recent years, it has become a popular name for girls as well.
  • Iman is short for Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” Its more familiar variation, Emmanuel, is also a popular unisex name.

And for more ideas, you can also refer to any of the following books, which contain many Hebrew baby names and their meanings.

Couple holding boy or girl card
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now that you have a few suggestions to ponder and some volumes to look into for more name ideas, you can start narrowing them down to some of your favorites. In the meantime, mazel tov!

Editors' Recommendations

Leslie Anderson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Leslie Anderson is a freelance writer/writing coach from Roswell, N.M. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and helping students…
When should babies start wearing shoes?
How can you resist a cute pair of baby shoes, but do babies need to wear them?
Child wearing baby shoes outside

Everything about baby clothes is simply adorable. Who doesn't smile at seeing those cute little outfits? One part of a baby's wardrobe that really gets the happiness meter up is the shoes. Few things are more endearing than a pair of baby shoes. They can certainly serve to accessorize a mini fashionista or a stylin' stud muffin's ensemble. Besides being wonderfully charming, baby shoes also have an important function. Baby shoes protect little ones' precious toes while helping them on the journey to independence and mobility.

The decision of whether to buy the adorable shoes you just have to buy for baby does come with some questions. When should you buy baby shoes for your cutie? When should babies wear shoes? Should babies wear shoes when learning to walk or is bare feet better? Let's take our shoes off and find out.

Read more
Why you need baby earmuffs to protect your child from noise
No need to miss out on loud events with baby earmuffs
Baby with noise-canceling headphones

Loud noises can be annoying for most people, but for a baby, loud noises can negatively impact their hearing. Noisy environments can be more than just scary to your little one. The alarming fact is that long-term or even short periods of exposure to especially loud sounds can damage your newborn, infant, or toddler's sensitive inner ear — potentially leading to noise-induced hearing loss.

Unfortunately, severe damage to the hearing nerve is irreversible. If you suspect your young child may have some hearing loss, you will want to ask a doctor or specialist to perform tests. To help prevent hearing loss, you'll want to do everything you can to keep their ears healthy and safe, like getting a pair of baby earmuffs for your little one. Headphones for infants can actually give little ones the protective benefits of noise reduction. Want to know when to slap a pair on your peanut? Read on for all the important tips and info.

Read more
When can babies eat spinach? Don’t feed it to them too early
What you need to know about giving babies spinach
A highchair set up with a baby toy, sippy cup, and green baby food.

We all want to see our kids eat more green food, starting with the transition to solid foods as an infant. If you’re hoping your baby will be “strong to the finish,” just like Popeye by eating spinach regularly, then you may wonder when a suitable time would be to introduce that iron-rich food to your little one. This little green leaf's ability to pack on the nutrients makes it such a great food for parents to feed their tots.

But when are babies able to eat spinach safely? More importantly, how can you make spinach baby food that your child will actually eat? Let's break down the when and how to get your nugget to enjoy this mineral-rich superfood.

Read more