The name Baila—also spelled Bayla—is derived from the Hebrew name Bilhah,1 wife of Jacob, and mother of Dan and Naftali, two of the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is also related to the name Bella which means beautiful in Italian and other Romance languages.2 One author writes that in difficult times, girls with the name Baila or Bilhah would call themselves Bella to disguise their obviously Jewish name.3

Others explain that it is related to the Slavic world bela, which means "white."

Sincerely yours,

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson