Choosing a name for your baby boy is no small task. Naming your baby after a relative is traditional, but it’s not the only way to go. There are many Hebrew baby names for boys that sound fresh and cool even though they have been around for centuries. Hebrew names are more typical than many people know. As these names were interpreted and put into use by the ancient Greeks and civilizations more broadly, the appeal of Hebrew names proved not to be an ancient trend and instead, they became a mainstay for peoples of all faiths.
We decided to take a look at some amazing Jewish names that are currently popular in the US and beyond, and some lesser-known possibilities, to discover which names would appeal most to modern parents. A great many of these names are found in the top 1000 baby names today while others deserve a bit more attention or a slight dusting off to bring back their glorious shine. Here are 25 delightful, modern Hebrew baby names for boys that any little guy would be lucky to receive.
Dov is a Hebrew name that sounds very peaceful and sweet but carries a fierce meaning, “bear.” Dov is not very popular in the US, but you’ll hear the name often in Israel along with the common, and very sweet, nickname Dubi.
Alec hit its height of popularity in the 1990s in the US. However, the name remains popular and a possibility for Jewish parents to honor their heritage. While Alec is a diminutive of Alexander, a Greek name that means “defender of men,” it was adopted by parents as a nod to Alexander the Great who showed compassion and respect for Jewish life.
Alec makes for a modern take on this name that’s found its way on many a Jewish baby’s birth certificate.
Gabe has not been popular in the US since 1905, which is an absolute shame. This casual name sounds great and is a shortened form of Gabriel. Gabriel was derived from the Hebrew name Gavri’el, taken from the elements gever, meaning “strong,” and ’el, in reference to God. Thus, the name is taken to mean “God is my strength.”
Matthias is a Hebrew and Aramaic form of a name that’s been popularized as Matthew today. Matthias, Mathias, and Matias are all variations on this remarkable name. It offers cross-cultural appeal as the name is attractive to parents across Europe and especially beloved in the Hispanic community. Mattias means “gift of God.” The name is more popular today in the US than ever before.
This may be a legitimate Hebrew name signifying power, but to any American kid, it will evoke ruby slippers and a yellow brick road. The full Hebrew name is Ozni, who was a grandson of Jacob in the Bible. The name Oz means “courageous, powerful, strength.”
Elias is a name that’s back and bigger than ever before in the US. If you have a family member named Eli or Elijah, Elias could be a potential way to honor him but with a more unique moniker. Elias is the Greek form of Elijah, a name with Hebrew origins that means “Yahweh is God.”
Allen has been a popular name in the US for over 100 years and if you’re attracted to that name, but want something that offers a Jewish identity, Alon could be the perfect choice. This gentle and beautiful name can be found as a surname or a masculine given name that means “oak tree.”
Avi is typically a nickname for many other Hebrew names like Avram or Avraham. Avi first debuted on the US top 1000 in 2015. We could not be more excited as this concise name carries so much character. Avi means “father.”
Simon is an exceedingly popular Hebrew name for boys that’s consistently ranked near the top 100 for over a century in the US. We absolutely love Simon and Shimon, but our favorite alternative adds a little edge with the usage of an “X.” Ximon sounds fresh and cool while still conveying the meaning behind this name, “the listener.”
One of the most common names in the English-speaking world is John. The moniker comes from the Hebrew name Yohanan. Ian is the Scottish form of Yohanan and we, and many other American parents, have been smitten with the name for years. The ancient name belonged to the high priest of the Second Temple and was recorded in 400 BCE. Ian means “the Lord is gracious.”
Tobias is the Greek form of the Hebrew Tobiah, which was derived from the name Toviyah. Toviyah was created from the elements tov, meaning “good” and yah, representing the Hebrew God. Tobias is roundly beloved around the world and across many a naming tradition. This attractive name means “God is good.”
Shiloh, Shilo, or Silo is a name associated with a city that predated Jerusalem as the central worship site of the early Israelites. Shiloh sounds lyrical and gentle like a quiet whisper. We love this name and its meaning, “tranquil.” The name debuted in the top 1000 in the US in 2015. We expect this favorite to grow in favor in the coming years.
An under-the-radar Hebrew name, mostly used in Israel. Eran was one of Ephraim’s grandchildren. This name has never appeared in the top 1000 in the US, but the similar sounding name, Aaron is a perennial favorite. Eran means “vigilant.”
Paz is an incredible gender-neutral Hebrew name that we especially love. The name means “gold.” You will also encounter this name in Spanish naming traditions where it means “peace.” Paz is such an effortlessly cool name and we’d enjoy hearing it more often.
In the US, you will find Dale often. It’s an English name that means “valley.” However, an even older name is Dael. This Hebrew name means “knowledge of God.” While the name has yet to really take flight in the US, we see the potential for the name to really take off today.
Absalom was the handsome, favored but rebellious son of King David. In Scandinavia, the name was adopted and evolved into Axel over time. Axel has a very cool connotation that feels current and hip. The name took off in the nineties and it’s more popular today in the US than ever before. The name means “father of peace.”
American parents first recognized Micah as a distinct possibility as a name for both boys and girls in the 1960s. It’s been flying high on the charts ever since. Micah sounds sharp and handsome and much more fun than Michael. Micah means “who is like the lord.”
Chances are that you already know a Noah or two. We’d be doing Jewish parents a disservice by glossing over this beloved name. While it is ubiquitous at this point, there is no denying Noah’s charms. Noah was derived from the Hebrew name Noach, which itself came from the root nuach, meaning “rest.” Noah is one of the most popular names in the US and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
If you are looking for a welcome alternative to Noah, we urge you to consider Noam. Noam is an underused modern Hebrew name with any number of attractive attributes attached to its meaning. It is also a place-name in south Israel, where it is sometimes used for girls. Its most prominent bearer is the distinguished linguist and social activist Noam Chomsky. The name means “tenderness.”
Please stay with us! We realize we’ve just delivered two names beginning with Noa- but we absolutely must include one more. Noaz is an uncommon Hebrew name that’s often overlooked by many Jewish parents. It’s one of our favorite modern Hebrew names for boys. The name means “bold” and we agree it would be a strong choice.
We offer Ethan as a jumping-off point for a slew of possibilities. Ethan is perfectly fine as is, but you could go the more traditional (and somehow more modern sounding) route with Eitan. If you’re feeling adventurous, we suggest the Basque form of this name, Izan. You could also go with the even more straightforward, Etan. However you decide to go, this name means “firm.”
Raziel is a name that belongs to an archangel who guards the secrets of the universe, the angel of mysteries. The name has a special place in Jewish mysticism. While the name is so old it might actually be Aramaic in origin, the Hebrew form of the name is exceptionally beautiful. This storied name means “secret of God.”
Levi is a rather traditional Hebrew name that new parents are flocking to these days making it one of the most popular names for boys in the US. It is suspected that Levi derives from the Hebrew word yillaweh, meaning “he will join.” Levi is lighter and more full of life than other traditional names which is what makes the name so appealing to modern parents.
Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who contributed their names to the tribes of Israel. Asher is derived from the Hebrew word osher, which means “happiness.” Rabbinical scholars maintain that the Asherites lived up to this meaning, as they had the most oil, wisdom, and male children compared to the other tribes. Asher is more popular today in the US than ever before.
Ezra is possibly an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase Azaryahu, meaning “Yah helps.” Ezra led a group of fifteen hundred Israelites out of slavery in Babylon and back to Jerusalem. Parents are returning to this heroic name after decades of misuse and a reputation for sounding retro. It’s completely back today and was seated in the top 100 for the first time in 2015. Its popularity continues to grow today.
There you go! We hope you feel inspired by these modern Hebrew baby names for boys. Some of these names are currently all the rage while others deserve a revisiting from new parents to discover fresh possibilities for these ancient, beautiful names.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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