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Who Gets to Choose?

The parents of the child are the ones to choose the infant’s name. The giving of the name should be by agreement of both parents. However, if the parents disagree on a name, a common solution is for the name to be chosen in an alternating order.

Naming After Someone

Some people name their child after a relative, such as a grandparent or great-grandparent, to perpetuate the deceased person’s memory. Some choose to name their child after a great Jewish leader or a Biblical figure. Still others choose a Hebrew name simply for its meaning, for example “Chaim” which means “life” or “Simcha” which means “happiness.”

Customs vary concerning naming a child after a relative who is still living. Sephardim (Jews of Spanish or Middle Eastern decent) readily name their children after living relatives, whereas Ashkenazim (Jews of Polish, Russian, or German decent) name their children only after someone who has passed away.

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