Names are more than convenient labels—going by your Jewish name is a statement of pride in your Jewish heritage. The Jews of ancient Egypt, tradition tells us, kept their Jewish names. That’s one of the ways they remained a cohesive people and merited redemption.
There’s more: Your Jewish name is the channel by which life reaches you from Above. In fact, the Kabbalists say that when parents name a child, they experience a minor prophecy—because, somehow, that child’s destiny is wrapped up in the combination of Hebrew letters that make up his or her name.
A girl gets her name at the Torah reading in the synagogue. The rabbi or Torah reader recites a prayer for the health of mother and child, and the father provides the name that the parents have chosen. Since the Torah is the source of all of good things, granting a name in the presence of the Torah infuses the name with blessing.
Granting a name in the presence of the Torah infuses the name with blessing
A boy is named at his brit milah (circumcision), when he enters into the covenant of Abraham and becomes a full-fledged member of the Jewish nation.
Never got a Jewish name? Converting to Judaism? Select a Jewish name that resonates with you. Often, people choose a name that is similar in sound and/or in meaning to their non-Jewish name.
Traditionally, Jews name their children after relatives or holy people. Sephardic Jews will sometimes name a child after a living ancestor; not so Ashkenazic Jews. Click here for more details.
When we pray for someone, we have in mind that person’s Jewish name and that of his or her mother. But when we call a man for an aliyah to the Torah, we use his Jewish name and that of his father.
A change in name can result in a change of fortune. That’s why, if someone is dangerously ill, we might provide him an additional name.