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I Was Never Given a Jewish Name

I Was Never Given a Jewish Name



I'm a Jewish woman, but I was never given a Hebrew name, and now I'm interested in getting one. How do I choose? (I do have some ideas, though, some biblical names I admire.) Do I need to confirm it with a rabbi or something?


Traditionally, a Jewish name is given to a woman in a synagogue during the course of the public Torah reading. The rabbi, gabbai (beadle), or Torah reader recites a special prayer, wherein you are introduced with your new Jewish name. It is similar to the prayer said upon the birth and naming of a baby girl.

Your name is the channel through which your neshamah, soul, receives vitality from G‑d, and connects to the rest of the Jewish nation. It's not only a private thing for you, yourself, but rather, is of communal importance. Therefore, the name is given not in your own living room, but in a synagogue, in the presence of others. And since the Torah is the source of all G‑d's blessings, the name is given in front of the Torah, thus infusing the name with divine blessings.

I suggest contacting your local rabbi and explaining your situation to him. There should be no problem in giving you a Hebrew name. If you're not connected to any rabbi, click here to find the rabbi nearest you.

One more recommendation, if I may: receiving a Jewish name is a big step in your life. You will now become much more connected to your soul, whose powers will be expressed in the Hebrew letters of your new name. Now is an appropriate time to utilize this added energy by channeling it into the world of action. Choose a new mitzvah in which your soul can express itself. As a Jewish woman, I'd recommend starting with Shabbat Candle Lighting, a weekly act that brings light, spirituality and serentity into your home.

Wishing you the best,

Malkie Janowski for

Malkie Janowski is an accomplished educator who lives in Coral Springs, Florida. Mrs. Janowski is also a responder on's Ask the Rabbi team.
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anastasia slovenia November 11, 2017

so when talking about getting a hebrew name....that means change your name and put hebrew one instead, or will you add hebrew name as a second one? or are both options ? my name is anastasia. i love my name and i would never change it. but i was thinking about getting a hebrew name as a second name. do you have any ideas which one will go nice with anastasia? Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA November 30, 2011

Anon in London, Freda is Fradle or Fradel or Fraidel. That is my Jewish name. Chaya Fradle Reply

Anonymous London, UK November 1, 2011

need mothers' jewish name As my great neice is having a baby blessing my nephew wishes to give her my mothers jewish name but we have no idea what it is. her english name was Freda. Reply

Anonymous Orlando, FL via June 21, 2011

A Jewish Name for my Daughter-in-law My son's wife was not born Jewish but she is more observant than my own daughter. She goes to services with my son and the children; she is learning about holidays & traditions so she can be a good teacher for the children. She wants to
convert before it is time for her son's bar mitzvoh. She asked me about a Jewish name. I suggested Ruth. It seems right. She cares for me much like Ruth cared for Naomi. I have health issues; she takes me to doctors, hospitals, makes sure I eat right & take my meds. She worries about me & often tells me not to worry she will always be here for me. I love her as much as if she was my birth child. My name is Sarah but I can't think of a woman's name associated with Sarah that means as much as Ruth & Naomi. Is this okay or am I being presumptious? Names are important, I just want to make sure she knows how important she is to me. Reply

DAWN. JARRED Klerksdorp, South Africa December 13, 2010

Jewish Name Please help me, I would like to change my name and my grand-sons name.
we are slowly changing to the Jewish ways.
This is very important to us, PLEASE Reply

A Derivative of Kalila October 7, 2010

Just call me Perfect :) I am a Gentile with a strong leaning toward Judaism and I am alsowly converting and savoring every step of the way. One Jewish friend who I adore who has been kind of mentoring me said he would not give me a new name-- my parents had psychic powers at naming me and that my name is quite perfect as it is and to leave it alone. (It is indicative of my character. . . I am a crusader! But it is a heavy burden. I wanted a name that was like, "She who is quiet and peaceful." or something like that.) So I asked my rabbi. He suggested several but he REALLY liked a derivative of Kalila, it had a nice ring, did I like it? Oh yeah, I liked it! It means. . . perfect.


Anat Eleshiva, I can dance to your name! I love it! Reply

Anonymous Belfast, NOrthern Ireland August 20, 2009

discovering Jewish roots I kow my grandmother was jewish,most of my childhood had a strong Judaic teaching to it, an I find myself drawn more and more to that path as an adult. How do I find out my full roots ? I only know my grandmothers people left europe for Ireland due to the pogroms of the 19th century. Reply

Anonymous miami, fl, usa via August 19, 2009

choosing a name i received a name at birth - Hanah Gittle.
After a summer in aIsrael, i chose a new name, Anat Elisheva.what do you think? Reply

Anonymous Asheville / NC, United states August 6, 2009

names I know that my mothers mother was adopted. I don't know what my Jewish name would be. My fathers family comes from Vadinskys in Poland Reply

Shlomo-Zalman Golus, Golus February 26, 2009

JEWISH NAME the first step in choosing a jewish name would be an ancestor worthy of emulating, a grandmother, aunt, etc, or a revered teacher.

in such way we can show our hope that the name will be an omen for our spiritual growth. Reply

Terri Tobias Mathis Brownwood, TX January 18, 2009

I am impressed! I love this message. I am impressed by the wisdom and maturity of its author. Thank you for sharing. Reply

Anonymous London, uk July 8, 2008

jewish names I have no Jewish blood in me but would be interested to know if I can have a Jewish name. Reply

Malkie Janowski for via December 16, 2007

Choosing your own name can really be a meaningful experience. As you suggested, you can select one that relates to your own life, or you might want to name yourself after a Jewish woman you truly admire, or a departed loved one. I suggest giving some thought as to what you prefer, and then contacting your local Orthodox Rabbi, who would be able to help you choose the perfect name. Reply

Kelly Rae Sydney, AU via December 15, 2007

This is fantastic! I gave both of my children Hebrew names. However, my mother insisted, against the wishes of my grandparents who raised me, on giving me an Irish name.

I have always wanted to legally change my name to a Hebrew name. I had no idea we could go before our rabbi and request that we be given one. This makes me so happy!

Does one choose it themselves? Perhaps they would choose one that had some significance or the meaning went along with their personality? How does one get help in figuring this part out?

Many thanks to the person who posed this question. Reply

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