When I was traveling around South Africa, I met many locals working in the different reserves and wildlife rehabilitation centers. They had wonderful names. The names I remember clearly are Lovemore and Pretty. When I met Western travelers, they were really impressed by the names, too. You won’t hear many names like these in Europe or the USA. But when I thought about it a little more, I realized that names with meaning are also very common in Israel. You just have to know Hebrew to understand what they mean.
My name, for instance, is Lior (ליאור), and it’s built from two Hebrew words: Li (לי) and Or (אור). “Li” means “for me,” and “or” means “Light.” So when you connect the two words together, my name literally means “a light for me.” My name means something.
What are some common names in Israel? And what’s their meaning?
Almost all names in Israel have a meaning behind them. Sometimes they are a name of a certain fruit or animal common in Israel. Sometimes they are connected to GOD or named after Biblical figures. The meanings are endless.
Here are some of the most common names in Israel and their meaning:
- Tamar (תמר) – This is a girl’s name. It means “date.” We have a lot of palm trees, especially in the Judean Desert and the Arava, but I suppose that Tamar became a popular name because of the Bible. Tamar is mentioned as the daughter of King David, and who doesn’t want to name their daughter after the daughter of a king?
- Avigail (אביגיל) – This is also a girl’s name that comes from the Bible. In the Bible, Avigail was one of King David’s wives. She was known as one of the most beautiful women on Earth and was also a peacemaker who wanted to stop the bloodshed in the kingdom.
- David (דוד) – Amongst the boys, David is one of the most popular names. As you might have already noticed, King David is one of the most popular figures in the Bible, and people want to name their children after him or people connected to him.
- Mohammed (מוחמד) – The most popular name amongst the Arab population in Israel is Mohammed, the most important figure in Islam.
- Omer (עומר) – This name was once a boy’s name but today is also common for girls. “Omer” means “a bundle of wheat.” Also, the period between Passover and Shavuot is called “the Counting of the Omer.”
There are beautiful names in Israel. Almost every Israeli has a meaning behind his or her name. When you meet one, feel free to ask. You might hear a nice story.
Does your name have a meaning, too? Feel free to share it with me in the comments (:
I’ve also opened a new Facebook page, so you’re welcome to like it and ask any questions you want there!