Not quite Junior

I think I have a pretty distinct naming style and certain names would fit my sibset better than others.  I have two daughters: Fiona Marie and Nora Bernadette.  I'm pregnant with our third, and we don't know what it is yet, but I'd like some advice before I go any further with our boy name decision with my husband.  With our first two the boy name choice was Elliott Quinn.  Now, I realize that both of those names are gaining traction with girls and won't use it again.  My favorite names include, but are not limited to: Alastair, Graham, Fletcher and Imogen, Maeve, Isla, Louisa for girls.

Here is my dliema:  I recently fell in love with the name Judah as a middle name for a baby boy.  I love its meaning, mostly.  I'm a Christian and the worship leader at my church.  The tribe of Judah historically included the worship leaders of Israel.  I asked hubby about using it as a middle name and he immediately agreed (I must add that this NEVER happens.  Naming children is one of the most frustrating things I have ever done with this man.).  He suggested his own first name:

Christopher Judah

I like the name.  Christopher is classic, and I think it goes well with Judah.  There are no other Christophers in my family.  We are not a "junior" kind of family.  I am totally on board.  BUT he suggested calling him Judah.  Okay, how much of a headache is this going to be for my son? My father goes exclusively by his middle name.  He doesn't seem bothered by it.  My brother-in-law does as well, but it has been a headache for him.  ALSO, how does Judah fit in with Fiona and Nora?  Two Irish girls and a Hebrew boy?  

I would like to add that this is the first time my husband has suggested his own name.  I asked him about it with earlier pregnancies and he always said no, he didn't want a junior, he didn't like his name that much, etc. I think it is very sweet that now he wants to share his name.  But if it's too complicated we won't do it.

Any insight is appreciated!  Thanks in advance.



By mk
February 10, 2015 3:38 PM

I think Christopher Judah is great but yes, I personally don't see the point of using Judah as the middle name if that's what you plan to call him. Judah Christopher is also a fine name so why not reverse it?

I think Judah is fine with Fiona and Nora.

February 10, 2015 4:09 PM

I agree, Judah is fine with Fiona and Nora.  

February 10, 2015 4:35 PM

I can't speak to the "going by a middle name" question, but I have lots of personal experience with sharing a name with a parent: my maiden name is identical to my mother's married name (down to the lack of a middle name), and my given name is the first five letters of my daughter's 8-letter given name. Most of the time, it's a non-issue: we each have our own preferred nicknames, and context helps, too. Yes, sometimes people mis-speak and use the wrong name, but it has been my observation that this happens just as often with names that are totally different (like Zap the cat getting yelled at with my daughter's name -- or vice versa). There were a few headaches when I lived at home after college (jury summons don't have a birthdate or mother's maiden name on them), but all of it was the sort that would've been easy to avoid if we had (different) middle names.

All that said, though, wouldn't it be simpler to put the name you plan to call him in the first name spot? I don't think Judah totally clashes with Fiona and Nora, but if you're very worried, you could use Jude instead, either as the full name, or as a shortened form of Judah. (My daughter has a preschool classmate named Jude, so it feels totally little-boy-like to me now.)

I know a first grader named Christopher, and he's proud of his long name, although he does use Chris frequently. I also have a brother-in-law and a step-brother-in-law named Christopher, so meeting the youngster did cause a bit of a double-take (especially with his twin sister's name being L1sa).

February 10, 2015 5:39 PM

"The tribe of Judah historically included the worship leaders of Israel. "

No, assuming that what you mean by "worship leaders of Israel" is the priestly caste, the priests of Israel belong to the tribe of Levi from ancient times until today.  It's the Davidic line that belongs to the Tribe of Judah, the kings, not the priests.

In Rabbinic Judaism as it developed after the destruction of the Second Temple, anyone can be a worship leader in Israel (well, any Jewish male age 13 and older).  It is not necessary to have any sort of ordination.  It is necessary to have ordination (at various levels) in order to be a legal decisor.

I should know.  I am a Bas Kohan, a female descendant of the High Priests of Israel, and thus a Levite, like my biblical namesake.  All Kohanim are Levites, but not all Levites are Kohanim.  The non-Kohanim performed non-priestly duties connected with the Temple rituals.  Today Kohanim still perform certain priestly duties and have certain priestly obligations.  Rabbis per se are not priests.  Most priests are not rabbis, but some rabbis may also be priests.

February 11, 2015 9:04 AM

^^^Thank you so much for sharing this.  I knew when I wrote this post that I needed to double-check my facts before I posted it, and I honestly do know that Levites are priests.  I don't know what I was thinking.  After reading your reply I did a little more research (on the internet-so who knows how valid it is) from some Hebrew/Jewish websites and one possible meaning of the name Judah is "praise," although some sources say the meaning was ascribed to the name *after* the birth of Jacob and Leah's son.  Do you have any insight on this?

Your heritage is amazing and enviable.  Thanks again for sharing with me.

February 11, 2015 1:22 PM

Judah, Yehudah, is one of the names which is actually given a meaning in Genesis.  At his birth his mother Leah says "I will praise" or "I will give thanks."  The semantic field of the root of the verb she uses includes both praising and thanking.

As for the timing, well, the strictest, most fundamental view sees the entire Torah written by Moses.  Hence since Judah comes before Moses in the biblical timeline, the story of Judah including the meaning of his name must have been written (down) by Moses after the fact.  Some more liberal biblical scholars who practice textual criticism and see the Torah as written by different people at different times with different agendas see the story of Judah (and his name) as a way of explaining/justifying the political preeminence of the tribe of Judah--after the fact.

In any case, the "meaning" of names is a pretty slippery topic.  In this case Genesis specifically says that Yehudah (Judah) is derived from the root meaning to praise or to give thanks.  Whether that name was actually chosen by a woman named Leah (who may or may not have existed) as she gave birth, or whether that name and its derivation were made up later by someone essentially doing PR for the politically prominent tribe of Judah  I couldn't say.

By rooo
February 10, 2015 7:16 PM

I feel pretty strongly that if you are going to name a son after his father you should also name a daugher after her mother. Sharing a name is an honor and symbol of respect. One that fathers are not more deserving of than mothers. If you tell me that your name is Fiona or Nora, then by all means Christopher Judah is a great name. However, I don't belive this is the case. Now, stepping off my soap box...

If you and your husband are set on using his name, I like the suggestion of flipping it to Judah Christopher. It's at least more subtle and the first name is what you intend to call him.

I prefer Alastair Judah or Judah Graham from your list. Are there other friends or relatives you would like to honor? A grandfather or uncle who has passed? Female relatives who you can honor with a masculine version of their name?

One other thought. Because your daugthers' names both end in -a, I prefer that your son's name end in a different sound. If you had two daughters Imogen and Maeve, Judah could be a great brother. But with Fiona and Nora I would prefer Jude or Judd rather than Judah.

By Jude
February 10, 2015 9:27 PM

What about Jude Christopher?

I feel Jude fits in well, style wise, with your Nora and Fiona, and eliminates the worry about a Hebrew boys name standing out. Judah itself isn't feminine, but with two sisters also ending in an -a sound, Judah might be mistaken as a girl. Plus, since this is the first your husband has mentioned wanting a namesake, it doesn't sound as if he had his heart set on Christopher being the first name. Christopher in the middle spot is still sweet, and it will eliminate a lot of unnecessary name confusion.

March 15, 2016 12:35 AM

Personally, I think it could cause some confusion and I'm not a fan of junior names. However, I think Judah, Nora, and Fiona all go well together because they share the pattern of an -a ending.