Just read an interesting article in the New York Times which discusses the breakdown of names of the 124,099 babies born in New York City in 2004. It was noted that “New York City has had more … Chayas than Christinas. There have been more baby boys named Moshe than Peter… The city’s large Orthodox Jewish population has helped to push Moshe to No. 68 , Mordechai to 155 and Shlomo to 199…”

Gothamist, commenting on the same NYT story, provide lots of fun name related links, from US Government name stats to the really cool NameVoyager. Have fun!

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Actually Chaya (which translates as “wild animal”) isn’t half as bad as the names many orthodox give their kids. Spilka, Butta, and Lenya come to mind. How can you give your kids names that belong in Fiddler on the Roof when you live in the 21st century. English kids are no longer named Harold, William, Bertha, Dolores, or Letitia. Why do these orthodox have to stay with names from the 17th century which may have meant something back then?

  • There is nothing wrong with “old” names. It just happens to be diffferent from what is popular today. Names are not like bananas – they don’t go bad when they get too old.

  • Greebler. Chaya doesn’t NOT mean wild animal at all. You could make the case that it means animal, but even that is not really true. The name chaya is based on the name Chaya Sara, which meant the life of Sara. Chaya can also mean “life” it’s really the male version of Chaim. (I should know, that’s my name)

  • I loved the ending of the article because it’s all too true. When I hear the name Brooklyn, I think of garbage on people’s 5×4 foot lawns and graffitied subway cars. Which is even less romantic than my name. (Which means “vindication,” a meaning guaranteeing that it will never be the title of a hit song.)


    Ahem…when those movements announce: Ooops. Sorry. We’re dead. No one left. Oh well. Funny Ol’ Life In’it?

    And then the Orthos and BTs will proudly stomp on their shuls and plant menorahs on their roofs and praise Hashem on High for fertility and Coffee Beans that are Kosher!

    Is this a great country or what?

  • I hope if the Orthos do take over, they wind up more interesting than much of the New York Orthodox community, or, godforbid, the Jerusalem Anglo-Dati baal teshuvah community.

    Can you imagine if the Jerusalem Anglo-Datis were running things, with their love for Aish ha-Torah, tendency to purposely begin speaking Yiddishized English and refusing to use objects in their sentences despite being native English speakers and saying “davka” and “mamish” every other word, and attributing every single problem in life from dearth of romance to halitosis to a lack of proper kavanah?

    “My life sucks. I really want a husband/wife, but it’s just not working out, and I just lost my job.”
    “The problem must davka be on your end! If there’s something you need, you have to let Hashem know you want, or else davka he won’t give! Have you tried davening harder???? Hashem will mamish provide! Davka mamish!”

    It would be the end of the world.

  • i davka hate you so much right now michael. I have you AND yo mama over for shabbat, and this is the thanks i get? making fun of my mamish crack head friends? gevalt! and not in a good way.

  • I liked your crack head friends because they were, well, davka crack heads, and not those super Aish-y penguin people with their affectated Yiddish English. I was mamish talking about those people.

  • gevalt, i think i understand, but even so, yo, don’t generalize the Jtown anglo BT community, we’re not all mamish crazy kavana-centric, but even so, gevalt, the lingo is mamish funny

  • I mamish just wanted to make a little crack at their expense, because sometimes it’s mamish easy, I don’t davka think the Jerusalem BTs are evil. Oy, do I look meshugah? Davka mamish davka bidiyuk oy. Kavanah.

  • Maybe I can make a robot. It will have an algorithm to use “davka” and “mamish” for every ten words uttered, at the end of every third sentence it will ask, “Are you interested in learning at Aish?”, and it will stand outside the door to the Heritage House and bolt skirts onto every girl in pants that walks by. I call it…Davkabot.

  • “I hope if the Orthos do take over, they wind up more interesting than much of the New York Orthodox community”

    And by “much of” you’re excluding me and the rest of us you met at the picnic, right???

  • Heh. When I was in Israel, EVERYONE asked me my hebrew name, and said “So, why aren’t you using it? What, you’re afraid it will wear out?” of course followed by the customary greeting “So when are you moving here?” Oy, the guilt!

    Fine, so this is Yochaved, planning Aliyah in the next year or two, G-d willing. Happy now? 😉

  • Hey Michael – the mohel slipped, didn’t he?
    What’s up YOUR butt…

    Why’s everyone alwasy picking on Aish for?
    Agreed agreed agreed, yes bt’s can be sort of well, enthusiastically insensitive about people’s real problems and all that…


    Or worse, Mordern Orthodox Apicorusim who well, just want have sex, and so make up a whole story about blah blah blah, so they can hit on the unsuspecting baalaus teshuva over there at the Shabbos table…

    When what to their wondering eyes should appear is a chick who they’re thinking will do EVERYTHING THEY’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO – OR WORSE, FUMBLINGLY ATTEMPTED WITH SOME OTHER MODERN ORTHODOX GUILT RIDDEN CHICK – and maybe even gotten it right, but then, the guilt the guilt the guilt kicks in, so they can’t really enjoy a roll in the hay…

    And then here’s this BT chick…pretty…so pretty…like hot…and all innocent. AND SHE’S DONE THINGS. LOTS OF THINGS. WITH LOTS OF GUYS. But without guilt, cuz that’s the way it is… so she had no guilt before, not much (maybe with the Black Dude she felt a little bit of guilt, but not really…

    Or you know, on that trip to New Orleans…who WERE THOSE GUYS????? HMMMMMMM….. BUT she tries not to think about that…

    And now, here she is, at the Shabbos table, across from Michael….and her soul is shining through….she new and pristine in her NEW FOUND RETRO VIRGINITY…

    And MICHAEL can’t have it. And this makes him burn with righteous anger…He HATES AISH. HE HATES BTS and their stupid innocent, naive ideas about life. HE HATES TORAH, except the stuff he makes up…

    And he hates that he can’t get any pleasure from whoring around with Modern Orthodox chicks 24 -31 ,who, OMG, with their issues – (see poor Esther’s post)… and expectations…..

    And so… he waits and plots. Secretly plots. How can he DESTROY WHAT HE CAN’T HAVE!!!!!

  • Uh, why is everyone giving young Michael so much shit these days? If Muffti missing something?

  • Wow Jsirpicco – that’s a lot of conjecture! Or perhaps it’s more projection. Having spent loads of time with Michael, I have to say, albeit grudgingly, that he is as fine an individual as I have ever met. Sometimes you’re funny Jsirpicco, and sometimes you are completely unhinged, bordering on the lunatic. Can you guess which one you are now?

  • You know, you’re right, jsirpicco! Ever since the mohel sliced off more than God’s fair share for the covenant, and ever since I didn’t get into all those Ivy League schools I didn’t apply to, I have had an INSATIABLE DESIRE to schtup newly minted frum girls! I mean, schtuping one of those JAPs my second rate school crawls with, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but it becomes a challenge when she starts wearing full-length denim skirts! All I can do is sit at the Shabbat table and BURN WITH HATRED because AISH HA-TORAH BRAINWASHED ALL THE GIRLS INTO CHASTITY! GOD! I CAN’T STAND IT! I’M SO UPSET I’M GOING TO HAVE TO WHORE AROUND WITH MODERN ORTHODOX WOMEN 10 YEARS OLDER THAN ME!

    Now, back to the batcave to continue my plot to DESTROY BAALEI TESHUVAH and BRING BACK MY JAPS…


    CK – it is indeed a fine line between funny and unhinged. I never claimed to be funny!

    DON’T YOU GUYS GET IT???? I AM JSIRPICCO!!!! Kneel Before Me! (no no no not YOU, ESTher…. take OFF those kneepads…and Chuztpah…yikes! no no no…I didn’t mean that!)

    Ahh….it’s good to be the king!

  • Michael–am completely with you on the crazed baalei tshuvah. I consider the J’lem Anglo community to be one of the key reasons I am moving to Tel Aviv once my lease ends. If I have to spend another year listening to these pious jackasses tell me that I MUST continue to believe that G-d will send me a husband, b/c OF COURSE G-d gives us everything we want, I will go insane and start strangling people. And that would be really bad for my career.

    The T”A datiim appear to be far more normal.

    My personal favorite type of J’lem Anglo? Not so connected to religion, actually. I would have to say the ones who come, spend shitloads of time (years) drifting from study program to study program (generally in those hot career tracks, high-demand/low supply fields of either Jewish studies or English lit), may or may not bother to learn Hebrew…and then when they run out of programs, and they realize that the game is up, and it is time to face the reality of a humdrum job as an admin assistant, run back to the States b/c it is so hard to make it here.

    Career planning, anyone?

    Why do these people bother making aliyah? Who are they kidding? Why don’t they come, do their year program, and go home? They make the rest of us look bad.

  • leave michael alone and my liberal jews…..Ortho’s, just keep it kosher…..Please, isnt aliyah too much money for one trip…..


  • Do guys and gals think, pashtuns of afghans are the lost tribes of israelites?

  • Of course TA dati’im are more normal. They’re Israeli. The Jerusalem crazy baalei teshuvah are 99.9 percent American, Canadian, British and Australian. There’s something about Jerusalem that draws Anglo kids like a magnet, as if there were no other place in the entire country (except of course some learning programs in Tzfat). And I guess it works for a lot of them, but there’s always going to be some people who are alienated by the huge Jerusalem kiruv machinery that takes spiritually-seeking Anglo kids and spits out wave after wave of the J’lem Kavanah Penguins. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Orthodoxy or becoming religious, but why does it have to mean that your individuality becomes compromised? Why do you HAVE to wear only black on white? Why do you HAVE to speak just like everyone else? Why do you HAVE to get married at 21 and immediately start popping out children or else spend the rest of your life feeling like, or being treated like, something is wrong with you? Why do you HAVE to spend all your time at kollel mooching off your rich parents back in the US instead of getting a job and helping the Israeli economy? Why do you HAVE to surround yourself with only other Anglos and refuse to learn Hebrew? I mean, I guess if it makes them happy, great, but sometimes it feels like there’s a lot of people in Jerusalem who are pretending to be Israeli, but really for all intents and purposes live in the US, only with better hummus.

    I don’t know. That’s why I’ve decided that when I move to Israel, I can’t live in Jerusalem. I figure, why not at least make a go at becoming an Israeli, even if you’ll probably never quite make it? Better to at least try to absorb into Israeli culture instead of surrounding yourself with a neo-frum Jewish variant of American culture. I guess.

  • To be honest i have trouble with ashkanazis jews specially American jews…Some of them dont really know much about yemenite jews, beside the scholars…My family are mostly heavy hebrew speakers and less ashkanazis thang….Allright, i admit us yemenite have arab influence…But, still its my concern some jews think iam arab or somewhat ali baba…..


  • I’m mean?

    But, seriously, jsirpicco, please stay off your meds. It’s very entertaining.

    Speaking as a BT, I get creeped out by the excesses I see and I’ve done everything I can to prevent myself from falling into that trap. I’ve met too many people who only last week were living in an ashram and handing out meditation literature in the airport, and now that they have met their rebbe and seen the light, have tzitzit down to their knees and are lecturing people on how important it is to have kosher l’Pesach toliet paper. Thanks but no thanks.

    But, then, I’m a mitnagid. (I play one on TV, anyway.)

  • Ephraim – if you’re going by the name Ephraim, then you’re alreday too flaming BT’d out, duh!

    Why do you have a cool name, like CK?

  • Well, it actually is my (Hebrew) name. I didn’t bother to make up a screen name like, say, you or Muffti.

  • My name is David and I think it’s hella-cool. ck is indeed just a relatively meaningless screen name. If you care about it’s provenance you can use the search feature of Jewlicious or look up some of the early posts and comments.

  • Michael sez:
    I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Orthodoxy or becoming religious, but why does it have to mean that your individuality becomes compromised?
    That’s part of the whole “joining the Collective” package. It makes people feel good. Why do most teenagers want to dress alike? Why did the Red Chinese all wear Mao jackets?
    I am not a BT, but if I were in one’s shoes, I’d imagine that it takes psychic break to totally reject a lifestyle and start over. I’d imagine these people are not looking to express their individualism, they are looking for fellow cothinkers, a support group of sorts.

  • Jus’ havin’ fun. The original Jane article about Charney is up again. In it, he is quoted using the word cock but they cover it up by writing c__k.

  • I want to know where Menachem-Mendel, Chaya-Mushka and their variants came in on the list (Menucha Mindel, for those wanting a feminine version of Menachem Mendel – etc)

  • “poor Esther”? “Kneepads”? Surely you’re not implying…

    Since when is this post about me, anyway?
    Just wait until my first artificial insemination child, Topanga Herzog Kustanowitz is born. Then you can make fun of me.

  • Aha haha haha haha ha ha hah; oh yes, now this is jewlicious in full beautiful form! Where else can I go to a site to feel connected with happy -as well as disgruntled–as well as unhinged– Jews from all over, slightly guilty about not using my Hebrew name as my secular-identifier, guiltier for being American, even guiltier for not being Sephardic/Yemenite/Israeli, and finally, supremely guilty for laughing hysterically at all of it? (had some BTs at my shul once—in the middle of the midwest states, they were slightly out of place—-despite the fact it is an old joke, some of the area non-Jewish folk thought they were Amish because we do have an Amish population in the area). I’m also laughing at the BT abbreviation (which is not new to me, but —-> I have a student in the high school where I teach who goes by a nickname she got at her church: “BT”—for “Bible Thumper” (ie not Torah Thumper)…..I may have to inform her of the alternate meaning….

  • i read the entire strand, yes i need a life
    but names r something that interst me how the posts melted ionto complaining about ba’alei tshuvah has me scratching my head
    regardless, there was a pos near the start about old names, and i just wanted to draw everyone who cares (all 2 of u, jk) the reality of that stuation, the minhag (custom) among ashkenaz is to name for a family member who as already died, so it makes sense that old anems are reused. the sepharadi custom is to name fo someone ho may still be alive. also playing with names and the confusion of identity go by my english ame but i wear a necklace with my hebrew name on my neck. tangentially i plan on doing work on jewish canadian identity or canadian jewish identity. f any one has any insights they can email me, fang38@graffiti.net

  • unknown….nope, sorry—–just guilty 😉 about not being a Yemenite (and sometimes guilty about not being Canadian…..)

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