Gefilte Fish Out of Water

What’s in a name?
March 22, 2009, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences


I’ve been curious about the names of all the Israelis i’ve been meeting.  Liron, Yoav, Eyal, Yaron, Gal, Dorit, Noam, Or, Dolev, Ziv…  They all sound so….Israeli.

What I mean is: if Israel didn’t become a state until 1948, and the Ashkenazi Jews who came over from Europe had all European names (e.g. Lawrence, William, Rose, Beth, Harvey, etc.), and the Sephardim came not just from Spain and Portugal but really all of Asia and Africa and should have, I dunno, Asian and African sounding names…and modern Israeli Hebrew didn’t really come into it’s own until the middle of the 20th century – then why aren’t there more Western sounding or Eastern sounding or African sounding names?  Why does everyone’s name here sound so…uniquely Israeli?  What gives?  (Am I asking this right?  Do you get what I’m saying?  Heilit, Ivri, Roi, Ronen, Avi – they just don’t sound like names back home.  You kinda know one when you hear one, that it’s an Israeli name.)

Anyway, I asked this question to friends at last night’s barbeque, and I got a really simple answer.  B/c Israeli names all mean something.  Liron means “happiness for me,” Or means “light,” Ziv means “brightness,” Noam means “pleasantness.”  You see, so the reason they all these names sound similar to me…is because they are all hebrew words.  Modern Israeli names mix up & combine Hebrew words into pleasant sounds that mean nice things, and that’s how they get names here.  Cool, right?

[Liron Ofir co-authored this post.]


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and we really loved getting to know you better, Scott….glad you enjoyed the afternoon…doron and I (not Yuron) my BF also had a great time….see ya soon, buddie!!!

Comment by barbara

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