About Me

SAHM to three little monsters: Judah Elias, Levi Samuel and Ruth Tziporah (Ruthie), with one on the way! Married to a crazy biologist who recently recommended we name our next one Planaria or Plavix (thanks, but no thanks). Writer, New Yorker, name-enthusiast, literature-nerd.... that's about it :)

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
March 30, 2011 12:33 PM

Hey guys! So between having three kids and morning sickness it’s been hard for me to check back in here, but I’ve read through your comments and I’m really so glad to be back! You guys have given so many great suggestions and thanks for all the kind words as well :) I’d love to hear your thoughts on the following names, some of which have been floating around in my head others I added to the list thanks to you guys. It's an eclectic mix... Boys: Gideon Malachi Asher Ezra Amos Naphtali Asa Shiloh Japheth Girls: Shoshanna Miriam Adara Devorah As you can see I’m kind of lacking in the girls name department. Suggestions are always welcome as well!

March 23, 2011 07:00 PM

Hey there! I haven't been on here in forever. I'm Becky, for those of you who don't know me (I used to comment here a lot), I have three little monsters: Judah Elias, Levi Samuel and Ruth Tziporah (aka Ruthie). Got some really surprising news just last week - Ethan and I are expecting again! We had some trouble getting pregnant with Ruthie, so this comes as a shock! I'm only about ten weeks along (due in mid-October). Ruthie will be one in May, so she and this little one will be about 17 months apart, which is exactly how far apart my younger sister and I am- so it seems fitting. Obviously I'm starting the name hunt asap. Ethan doesn't even want to talk names until we find out the gender, but that won't be for at least another month or two, and I can't hold out that long! Which is why I'm back here. I figure I'll come up with some ideas to present when the conversation arrives. I have a few names floating in my head but I'd love to hear some fresh, unbiased ideas from you guys. What would you pair with Judah, Levi and Ruthie? We like old testament/Hebrew/Yiddish/Israeli names, that have a vintage/off-beat vibe and aren't super popular. I can't wait to hear what you guys come up with! Ooh, and I have to contribute to the pet convo. When Ethan and I got married he had a miniature collie named Brighton and I had a tabby cat named Salinger. Salinger lives with my parents now, since Ethan has cat allergies. We now have two fish whose names change on a daily basis, a hamster named Stanley (credit goes to Judah, oddly enough) and a yorkie named Fritz- short for Mr. Beauregard Xavier Shnicklefritz- my doing of course :)

June 26, 2010 01:51 PM

Hey guys! Remember me? It feels like I haven't been here in forever. Just wanted to check in and say hey. And comment on this post in the few spare moments I have! I was legally born Rebekah, but grew up being called Rivka exclusively. My parents almost legally had my name changed when I was a kid because they hated that my passport, official school documents, etc. said Rebekah, not Rivka. When I got married they assumed I would legally change my name to Rivka but of course by that point I had moved away from the ultra-Orthodox community so I kept Rebekah and now am always Becky. My husband, however, is a different story. He was born as Eliyahu (a Hebrew form of Elijah), and grew up being called Eli (prn. like Ellie, not EE-lie). However, upon entering the "real world" he decided he wanted a more streamlined name to fit our new life outside the community we grew up in, so he chose Ethan, which is also Hebrew, but much more recognizable (and easier to spell/say) than Eliyahu. It was a hassle and I believe there were fees and legal proceedings involved but it was well worth it. Hope everyone here is well :)

June 3, 2010 02:54 PM
In Response to Sponsored Post: Sienna

Hey everyone! So I've been way MIA recently but just wanted to check in, let you all know that Ruthie is very healthy and a wonderful baby so far- she'll be one month next Wednesday (time does fly!). Her name fits her perfectly and I've gotten so many compliments on it. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll be on more often and will be able to join in on the fun conversation here- I do miss you guys! Just looked through my Synagogue's monthly update and it lists three new babies in addition to Ruth: Max Irving Judah Edward Cooper Irving Hmm... is Irving making a comeback? It's one of those names, along with Stanley and Harvey, that feel my ears.

May 16, 2010 11:09 PM

Steve: I too grew up in a heavily observant Jewish neighborhood (I was part of the heavily observant bunch, though am not anymore). I only knew one or two Tzippis my own age (in the 80s), but knew of a bunch who were my grandparents (or older) age. It's getting used now, I think, by a lot of Modern Orthodox and Hasidic Jews naming after their late grandparents or great-grandparents. Also, many of my friends who are still Hasidic/Ultra-Orthodox are using less Yidishkite names (such as Shaina, Malka, Fruma) and more Hebrew names (Tziporah, Rivka, Shifra). Not sure why exactly that's happening. Also, Friday night Ruth was given her Hebrew name. A very good friend of mine who I grew up with had her baby the day after me and was given her Hebrew name at our Synagogue. She too left the Hasidic community though chose to give her daughter two names, a Hebrew one and an English one. Her daughter is Chloe Rose/ Chavah Yitzhaka.

May 15, 2010 09:14 AM

Wanted to drop in very quickly to say two things. 1) Regarding acceptance to pre-school. In most urban areas you do have to apply to pre-schools and it is quite a selective process. For Judah we applied to a number of them. There are a bunch in Manhattan that you must first put your name in a lottery even to get an application (though, those who are "connected" magically get applications nonetheless). Parents here freak out that if they don't get their child into the top pre-school they won't go to the best private schools and then the best colleges. It's a bit ridiculous. 2) emilyrae: is the show you're remembering Allegra's Window? I remember my niece loved that show in the 90's. Every time i hear the name I think of that show.

May 14, 2010 02:10 PM

Wow! So much to catch up on. But first, an announcement! I got the most wonderful Mother's Day gift this year. Ruth Tziporah was born in the evening on May 9th, very healthy and very adorable! Judah and Levi (and the rest of us) are absolutely ga-ga over her. So far we've nicknamed her Ruthie, RooRoo, Ruthie-Roo or Woofy (Levi's rendition of Ruthie). Tonight in Synagogue her name will be officially (by Jewish standards) announced and afterward we'll have a little celebration. We don't have baby showers in our family (a tradition followed by most Orthodox Jews) nor is the name officially announced until after birth, so tonight when our whole family gathers it will be quite the celebration and I'll see how her name will be received by the fam. Not too much time to catch up here but I did want to briefly address the hipster conversation. Living on the lower west side of Manhattan we are surrounded by non-admitting hipsters. I wouldn't call myself a hipster (but, is that not the first sign of hipsterism?), though many people would based on my interests, the way I dress and the friends I have. When naming our children finding the balance between hipsterish and Hebrew was quite difficult. We wanted our kids to have cool, interesting names while integrating their Jewish identity. A name like Jacob or Michael just would not sit well in a classroom of Hudsons, Masons, Felixs, and Theodores. So Judah and Levi were chosen, and now Ruth. Which are kind of off-beat (well, not Levi, but still) but still Hebrew. To me the definition of hipster is a desire to be different. So a hipster name would deviate from the norm. As hipster names get more popular, new, different names are chosen. The more unfamiliar, the better. A great example would be Theodora. It's old, it's got history, it's got nicknames, it hasn't been popular in decades. I really see it taking off in my area. Ok, must tend to my three children. It still hasn't hit me that I have three now. Wow. I'll be on next week as everything starts to get back to normal.


Wow, so much to catch up on! Not much time now, but we'll be home this weekend (we're usually away) because I'm due tomorrow (!), though no signs of baby Ruthie yet. Names I checked: Ruth: only up two spots, from 359 to 357. Yay! Judah: up 66 spots from 392 to 326. Could be worse. When we named Judah in 2003 it was only at 649. Guess we were ahead of the curve. Levi: already super popular, but now has officially cracked the top 100 :( It was at 132 in 2007 when Levi was born. Funny story about Maximiliano. We know one who was born in 2008. The family is South American (maybe Argentinian or Venezualan...can't remember) and his Mom told me it was a family name. They thought it was too much to use in whole and Max was too popular so he goes by...MILO. Cute, right? I haven't had a chance yet to really look at the lists, but I've looked at the changes in some heavily discussed names here (I've only had a chance to look at the girls list so far). Isla obviously had a huge jump. Others are: Violet at 141 Evelyn at 39 Juliet at 319 (up 134 spots!) Amelia at 55

May 5, 2010 08:22 AM
In Response to Name Spotlight: Sawyer

Zoerhenne- Very interesting that Zipporah is on that list. Do you live in a particularly religious area? I rarely hear Zipporah being used outside the Orthodox or fundamentalist communities. Also, Ryker is one name that really confuses me. I guess it's because I very strongly associate it with Riker's Island (the prison) in New York. Not a good association at all...

May 3, 2010 05:50 PM
In Response to Name Spotlight: Sawyer

Speaking of the word father, the other day we were in the park when Judah said something very conspicuous. I plopped myself down on a park bench near the entrance to the park, and Judah knows he's not supposed to go where I can't see him. Here's how the dialogue went: Judah: Mom, can we go father? Me: (after a second) Can we go where? Judah: Father. I want to play on those rocks over there. Me: (after another curious moment) Ohhh, you mean farther. No, we're staying here. But, there's an "r" in that word, honey. Farrr-thur, not fahh-thur. Judah: Mom, they're the same thing. So in my almost faded NY accent farther and father do sound exactly the same. But in my brain I know they are different. Oh Judah... always there for a good laugh.

May 3, 2010 01:36 PM
In Response to Name Spotlight: Sawyer

EVie- I grew up in Brooklyn so that is definitely a possibility. I also know a good amount of people (including my DH) from New Jersey who say it that way. Not sure if it's a Manhattan thing at all. I've noticed that within Manhattan there are tons of different "New York" accents. I used to have such a strong Brooklyn/Long Island accent (if any of you watch Real Housewives, think Jill Zarin). But since moving to Manhattan almost a decade ago my accent has almost totally faded.

May 3, 2010 11:06 AM
In Response to Name Spotlight: Sawyer

English is such a crazy language. Any child named Sawyer in New York City would definitely be called SOY-er, mostly because there are SO many New Yorkers who are lazy with their vowels and say "sau" (think stereotypical NY accent, like dawg, but a bit more subtle). So a SAW-yer in my area just wouldn't fly. Also, I say English not in-glish, but ayn-glish. There's this strange "ay" vowel that a lot of New Yorkers substitute for "e" so egg turns into "aygg" for example. No idea where that comes from. I do agree that when a parent tries to use a less established pronunciation of a name that it is a totally uphill battle. Our friends have a little Evelyn pronounced EVE-lin, not EH-vuh-lin. They constantly have to correct people who say the name the second way. It's funny because the way we (and most people) pronounce Levi is LEEV-eye, like the clothing brand. But my parents, who speak yiddish, pronounce it LAY-vee. Sometimes Levi refers to himself as LAY-vee, which is really interesting. I hope were not confusing the kid too much... Oh, and congrats NAMG! Can't wait to discuss some awesome sibling names with you.


When I wrote TAH-vish above I meant the "a" sound in apple, not the long "ahh" sound in all. So the woman wasn't pronouncing it wrong/pretentiously. Just wanted to clear that up. DH has a bunch of family members who live in London and are South African. The two we keep most in touch with, whose names I can remember at the moment are Sean and Marcelle. The other names have escaped my mind right now but I'll ask DH later (that is, of course, if I remember to, lol).


My guilty pleasure month name is October. We actually know a young October who goes by Toby. He was in Levi's pre school class last year. Very cute kid, the name fit him well. I recently heard his mom had a baby so I'm quite interested to know what they named it. I'll have to investigate that one. oh, and regarding the lion cub names, I've been wanting to take Judah and Levi out to the Bronx Zoo to see the cubs but now that they've been unveiled so close to my due date I'll have to wait it out a bit. I'll have to get Judah's opinion on what they should be named, since he seems to have a knack for naming after the week of fish names, lol.


Has anyone heard the name Tavish before? This morning DH and I went on a preliminary apartment hunting venture (we're definitely going to need more space in the near future) and our real estate agent had two sons named Tavish and Dougal. Those names totally embody the random hipsterness of naming in my area, where people seem to combine hipster and some other trend (so this family has hipster scottish names, my neighbors have embraced the hipster/nature trend and have daughters Magnolia and Hazel). However, I've never heard Tavish before. She pronounced it TAH-vish, though according to BNW its "TAY-vish".


re "oo" names: Ruth is one. I think the "th" sound is not as popular though, but it is a sound that personally I love. Many of my favorite girls names have the "th" sound (Edith, Anthea, Blythe). The only "th" names in the top 50 are Elizabeth, Katherine and Samantha. So I guess the sound could be coming back, though I consider those pretty classic names. conana- that's a great, and tough, question. When we chose the name Judah a lot of our friends thought it was kind of funny. Since we are both from religious Jewish families we are still somewhat religious and our children have a very strong religious identity. Our friends would joke that Judah would introduce himself and say "Hi, I'm Judah" and his friends would say "Yeah, we know you're a Jew" (because the sounds in Judah sound like, Jew Duh, so it sounds like he's saying, I'm a jew, duh). Verrrry funny *sarcasm*. Also there are some names that I normally wouldn't like, but because of associations I really love them. Edith is probably the best example of that. It's the first "old lady" name I ever really loved. House of Mirth is one of my favorite books and it's written by Edith Wharton. After reading that book I fell in love with Wharton's writing and even once visited her home (which is now a museum) in the Berkshires one summer. So Edith to me is not only a great name, but the name of a brilliant author. I feel like I've gotten really lucky with the name Ruth because it fits all of my interests. It is a Hebrew name. It has a cute but not overbearing nickname. It is also an old/vintage name. And it is the name of one of my favorite literary/film characters, Ruth from Fried Green Tomatoes. Larksong - I totally guessed you were from South Africa! FWIW I love South Africa and have been there twice (DH has family there) and can't wait to take the kids one day when they can withstand the plane ride :]


I think the "oo" sound is definitely making a comeback. I was more saying the the "ew" sound of U was not as appealing in most names. I've heard Muriel both ways. I know a woman who has it as her middle name and she says "murry-al", though I know the more common way to say it is "myur-ee-all". Either way, to me it has the "err" sound in it that I was referring to. I guess to my ear the "yur" in "myur-ee-all" and the "ur" in Ursula are very close, aside from the "yuh" sound. It's hard to describe, but my ear for pronunciation is very strange from being around so many languages in my life. I pronounce a lot of things the wrong way :]


re Louisa: I think eventually this name will get more use, but at the moment I agree with zoerhenne that it's lack of a cute, reinventing nickname will cause people to shy away. Think about the old lady names that people already love: Evelyn nn Evie, Eleanor nn Ellie, Adeline nn Addy. Louisa only offers up Lou and Weezy/ Ouisa (like in Six Degrees of Separation). I know a youngish Louise (preteen age now). She goes by Lulu at home but to everyone else she's just Louise. The only other name in the top 1000 with a "w" sound is Julia which has the "ew/oo" sound, but not the hard "wee" like in Louisa, so I guess it has more of a U sound that W. I think this is also true about the "ur" sound, like in Ursula and Muriel, or the "eu" sound in Eudora and Beulah. Something about the letters w and u that people just can't seem to deal with...


I see that a lot of people do prefer the Tzipporah with two p's spelling. However, since Ruth was kind of my idea and DH loves Tziporah with one "p" we will probably end up using that spelling. It is also the way his great-aunt, who went by Tzipa, spelled it. Back then of course she was living in an exclusively orthodox community so everyone would have recognized the name as Tzih-pa not Tz-ee-pa. Also, I'm not sure if other parents have noticed this but the only people who ever use my children's middle names are me, Ethan (dh) and sometimes our parents. Therefore, I'm not so concerned with pronunciation. Most everyone receiving a birth announcement will recognize the name, and if they don't they can google it. I will let DH know that the opinion here is otherwise though and see what he says. At this point though I'm willing to let him make the final decision, I guess to me it doesn't really make a huge difference.


I actually have no idea why in my mind Tziporah is with one p and Zipporah is with two. Tzipporah with two p's is used often, but it just looks a bit redundant to me. It's the same way with Sara vs Sarah or Rebecca vs. Rebekah, one just looks more right than the other. Of course, transliteration is very murky when it comes to Hebrew because it's a different alphabet, so as long it sounds phonetically the same, it's considered accurate. I'm sure Miriam has a much better answer than this. But, in Hebrew the spelling is צִפּוֹרָה, and has one פּ ("pay"), which I've always translated into one "p". And maybe once you change the first sound from a tzadik (the tz sound) to a zayin (z sound), then the rest of the spelling is up for grabs. There are so many spellings of Tziporah though, I've seen it spelled Tzippora(h), Zippora(h) and Zipora(h), plus there's the Tzippa and Tzipi variations.