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The origin and meaning of some of the most common Jewish and Hebrew names for girls.
NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. Many Hebrew names have slight variations, and other less common names do not appear on this list at all.
See here for Jewish boys' names.
Ahuva means "beloved." The word appears in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 21:15 and Nechemia 13:26.
Aliza means "joy." In kabbalah, Aliza signifies the joyful ability to rise above nature.
Anat means "to sing." Anat appears in the Bible in the book of Judges 3:31.
Ariella means "lioness of God." The variant form "Ariel" is another name for Jerusalem, and specifically the altar in the Holy Temple (Ezekiel 43:15). (variations: Ariel, Arielle)
Atara means "crown." It is sometimes used for naming after a Kreindel, a Yiddish name of the same meaning.
Avigail means "father's joy." Avigail appears in the Bible as King David's wife (1-Samuel 25:42). (variations: Abigail, Avigayil)
Avishag means "father's joy." Avishag appears in the Bible as attending to King David in his old age (1-Kings 1:3).
Avital appears in the Bible as King David's wife (2-Samuel 3:4). Avital means "father of dew," referring to God as sustainer. In kabbalah, Tal signifies Divine nourishment in a hidden manner, just as dew descends unseen to water the plants.
Aviva means "springtime."
Ayala means "deer." The name is often associated with the biblical Naftali, who is compared to a swift deer (Genesis 49:21).
Ayelet means "musical instrument," as in Psalms 22:1.
Bat Sheva בת שבע
Bat Sheva means "daughter of seven." Bat Sheva appears in the Bible as King David's wife (2-Samuel 11:27), and the mother of King Solomon (2-Samuel 12:24). (variant spellings: Batsheva, Batsheba)
Batya means "daughter of God." Batya was the daughter of Pharaoh, who rescued baby Moses from the Nile River (Exodus 2:5). (variations: Batia, Basya)
Bat-Tziyon בת ציון
Bat-Tziyon means "daughter of Zion," or "daughter of excellence." (variant spellings: Bat-Tzion, Bat-zion)
Bayla ביילא or ביילה
Bayla means "beautiful." It may also be related to the name Bilhah, who was the mother of Dan and Naftali, two of the 12 tribes of Israel. (Genesis 29:29 and 30:3) (variant spelling: Baila)
Bina means "understanding, intelligence, wisdom."
Bracha means "blessing."
Bruriah means "clarity of God." Bruriah was a great Torah scholar during Talmudic times, the wife of Rabbi Meir.
Carmel means "vineyard, garden, orchard." (variations: Carmela, Carmelit, Carmiela, Carmit, Carmiya)
Chana means "grace." This name is associated with the ability to create beautiful prayers; Chana appears in the Bible as praying to God, and then giving birth to the prophet Samuel. (1-Samuel ch. 1) (variant spellings: Hana, Hannah)
Chava means "life." Chava appears in the Bible as the first woman (Genesis 3:20). (variations: Eve, Hava, Havi, Chavi)
Chagit means "festive, celebration." Chagit appears in the Bible as King David's wife (2-Samuel 3:4). (variant spelling: Hagit)
Chaviva means "beloved."
Chaya means "alive, living." Chaya is related to the name Chava, who appears in the Bible as the first woman. (Genesis 3:20)
Dafna means "laurel."
Dalia means "shoot" in Biblical Hebrew (e.g. Ezekiel 17:6, 31:7). In Modern Hebrew, as in other languages, it is the name of a flowering bush native to Mexico (spelled "Dahlia" in English). (variations: Dahlia, Dalya)
Dalit means "to draw water."
Daniella means "God is my judge."
Devorah means "to speak kind words." Devorah appears in the Bible as the great prophetess and judge who led a revolt against the Canaanite king (see Book of Judges). A different Devorah was the nurse of Rebecca (Genesis 35:8). (variations: Devora, Debra, Deborah)
Dinah means "judgment." Dinah appears in the Bible as the daughter of Jacob and Leah. (Genesis 30:21) (variant spellings: Dina, Deena)
Efrat means "honored, distinguished." Efrat appears in the Bible as the wife of Caleb (1-Chronicles 2:19). (variant spelling: Ephrat)
Eliana means "My God has answered me."
Elisheva means "God is my oath." Elisheva appears in the Bible as the wife of Aaron the High Priest (Exodus 6:23). (variations: Elisheba, Elizabeth)
Emunah means "faith." (variant spelling: Emuna)
Esther means "hidden" in Hebrew, and "star" in Persian. Esther saved the Jews in the Purim story from Haman's genocidal plot, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther. Esther was known to be a very beautiful woman (she was chosen to be queen), yet her "hidden" internal qualities were even more beautiful. (variant spelling: Ester)
Faige פייגא or פייגה
Faige means "bird" in Yiddish, and also is related to theYiddishword for the fruit "fig." (variations: Faigy, Faigel, Faiga)
Freida פריידא or פריידה
Freida means "joy" in Yiddish. (variations: Freda, Freeda, Freyde, Freydel)
Fruma פרומא or פרומה
Fruma means "pious" in Yiddish.
Gavriella means "God is my strength." (variation: Gabriella)
Geula means "redemption."
Gila means "joy." In kabbalah, Gila means "to reveal God," which is a great source of joy.
Golda גאלדא ,גולדא or גולדה
Golda means "gold" in Yiddish. (variation: Goldie)
Hadassah is the Hebrew name of Esther, who saved the Jews in the Purim story from Haman's genocidal plot, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther. Hadassah means "myrtle tree." (variations: Hadas, Hadasa, Dassa, Dassi)
Hadar means "splendid, ornamented, beautiful."
Hinda is Yiddish for "deer." The name is often associated with the biblical Naftali, who is compared to a swift deer (Genesis 49:21).
Hodaya means "praise God."
Idit means "choicest." (variation: Edith)
Ilana means "tree." In kabbalah, the numeric value of Ilana (96) equals the "throne of God." (variations: Elana, Ilanit)
Irit means "asphodel," a flowering perennial, several species of which are native to the Holy Land.
Keila קיילא or קיילה
Keila is a Yiddish name derived from the Hebrew word "Keli," which means "vessel." A talented person is often referred to as "Keli" – a complete vessel, capable of performing great things.
Keren means "ray [of sunlight]." (variation: Karen)
Kinneret is another name for the Sea of Galilee, or Lake Tiberias.
Leah means "to be tired." Leah appears in the Bible as the wife of Jacob, the mother of six of the 12 tribes of Israel. (Genesis 30:19)
Leeba means "beloved" in Yiddish.
Levana means "white" or "moon."
Levona means "frankincense," a spice used in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (Exodus 30:34).
Lila means "night." (variations: Leila, Leilah)
Liora means "I have light." (variation: Lior)
Machla means "affliction." Machla appears in the Bible as one of the five daughters of Tzelofchad. (Numbers 26:33)
Malka means "queen."
Maya means "water" in Aramaic (Talmud - Brachot 25b).
Mayan מעין or מעיין
Mayan means "spring, oasis."
Mazal means "constellation" or "luck."
Meira means "one who gives light." A variant form, Mira, is a nickname for Miriam.
Meirav means "to maximize." Meirav appears in the Bible as the daughter of King Saul (1-Samuel 14:49).
Menucha means "tranquility" in Hebrew.
Michal means "Who is like God?" Michal appears in the Bible as King Saul's daughter (1-Samuel 14:49), and the first wife of King David (1-Samuel 18:27).
Milka appears in the Bible as one of the five daughters of Tzelofchad. (Numbers 26:33)
Miriam appears in the Bible as a prophet and the sister of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 15:20). Miriam means "bitter sea," because she was born at a time when the Egyptians embittered the lives of the Jews. Miriam, however, remained sweet despite the hardships around her, giving Jews courage in those difficult times. (Midrash Yalkut Shimoni - Exodus 165) (variations: Mirel, Mirele, Mimi)
Moriah means "God teaches." Mount Moriah is the site of the binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (2-Chronicles 3:1).
Naama means "pleasant."
Naomi means "pleasant." Naomi appears in the Bible as the mother-in-law and inspiration for Ruth, as recorded in the Book of Ruth. In kabbalah, the numeric value of Naomi (170) represents goodness ("tov") on all levels.
Netanya means "gift of God." It is related to the name Natan, which appears in the Bible as a prophet and contemporary of King David (2-Samuel 5:15).
Nava means "beautiful." The word appears in the Bible, in Song of Songs 2:14.
Nechama means "comfort."
Noa means "vigorous motion," as in Isaiah 7:2 and Psalms 107:27. Noa appears in the Bible as one of the daughters of Tzelofchad. (Numbers 26:33)
Nurit is a flower, the buttercup.
Ora means "light." (variation: Orit)
Orli means "I have light." (variation: Orly)
Orna is related to the word meaning "pine tree."
Osnat is an Egyptian name meaning "belonging to God." Osnat appears in the Bible as the wife of Joseph, and mother of Ephraim and Menashe (Genesis 41:45). (variations: Asnat, Asnas, Osnas)
Penina means "pearl." Penina appears in the Bible as Elkanah's wife (1-Samuel 1:2). In kabbalah, Penina is related to the word penimi, meaning "inner," alluding to inner depth and purity – just as a pure pearl is produced internally. (variations: Perle, Perel)
Rachel means a "female sheep," a symbol of purity. Rachel appears in the Bible as one of the four matriarchs – the wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph (Genesis 29:16). Rachel was buried in Bethlehem so that her soul could pray for the Jews who in the future would be led into exile.
Raizel is a Yiddish variant of "Rose." (variations: Rose, Raisal, Raisa, Risa)
Rina means "joy." The letters of Rina can be rearranged to spell "the candle of God." (variation: Rinat)
Rivka means "to tie." Rivka appears in the Bible as one of the four matriarchs, the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob. Rivka was known for her great kindness, e.g. when she drew well-water for Abraham's servant and all his camels. (see Genesis ch. 24) (variations: Rifka, Rebecca)
Ruth means "sweet and pleasant." Ruth appears in the Bible as a righteous convert, and ancestor of King David, as recorded in the Book of Ruth. (variations: Rut, Rus)
Sarah means "princess." Sarah appears in the Bible as a great prophet, the first of the matriarchs – wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. (Genesis 17:15) (variations: Sari, Sarit, Sarita)
Sarai means "my princess." Sarai appears in the Bible as the original name of Sarah – wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac (Genesis 11:29).
Serach means "free of restraint." Serach appears in the Bible as the granddaughter of Jacob (Genesis 46:17).
Sharon is a region in Israel, known for being especially plentiful and nourishing (see Metzudot Tzion, Isaiah 33:9). (variations: Sharona, Sharonit)
Shayna שיינא or שיינה
Shayna means "beautiful" in Yiddish. (variations: Sheina, Shaindel)
Shifra means "improved." Shifra appears in the Bible as a Hebrew midwife who disobeyed Pharaoh's orders to kill Jewish babies. (Exodus 1:15)
Shiloh was an important Biblical city in Ephraim's territory which for a time housed the Tabernacle. According to the Midrash, when used as a person's name, Shiloh means "a present to him" and is a reference to the Messiah, who will receive tribute from the nations. This name is used both for boys and girls. (variant spelling: Shilo)
Shira means "song" in Hebrew.
Shoshana is the Hebrew word for "rose." Shoshana appears in the Bible in Song of Songs 2:2, as "standing out like a rose amongst the thorns." In kabbalah, Shoshana has the same numeric value (661) as Esther, the hero of the Purim story who lived in the city of Shushan (related to "Shoshana"). (variation: Shani)
Shlomit means "peaceful." Shlomit appears in the Bible in Leviticus 24:11.
Shulamit means "peaceful." Shulamit appears in the Bible in Song of Songs 7:1.
Sigal, Sigalit סיגל, סיגלית
Sigal means "treasure" (see Deuteronomy 26:18). Sigalit also means "violet."
Simcha means "joy."
Tal means "dew." In kabbalah, Tal signifies Divine nourishment in a hidden manner, just as dew descends unseen to water the plants.
Talia means "dew from God." In kabbalah, Tal signifies Divine nourishment in a hidden manner, like dew that descends unseen to water the plants.
Tamar means "palm tree," denoting righteousness. Tamar appears in the Bible as the wife of Judah, and the ancestor of King David. (Genesis 38:6)
Techiya means "revival."
Tehilla means "song of praise."
Tikva means "hope."
Tirtzah means "agreeable." Tirtzah appears in the Bible as one of the daughters of Tzelofchad. (Numbers 26:33)
Tova means "God's goodness." (variations: Tovat, Tovit, Tovah)
Tzipporah means "bird." Tzipporah appears in the Bible as the wife of Moses (Exodus 2:21). In kabbalah, Tzipporah has the same numeric value (376) as Shalom, peace. (variation: Tzipora)
Tziona means "excellent."
Tzivia means "assembly of God." Tzivia appears in the Bible as the mother of a Jewish king (2-Kings 12:2).
Tzofiya means "guardian."
Tzviya means "deer, gazelle." The name is often associated with the biblical Naftali, who is compared to a swift deer (Genesis 49:21).
Uriella means "light of God."
Vered means "rose" in Aramaic, the language of the Talmud. (variations: Varda, Vardit)
Yael means "to ascend" and "mountain goat." Yael appears in the Bible as the hero who saved the Jewish people by bravely killing the enemy general. (Judges ch. 4) (variations: Jael, Yaela)
Yaffa means "beautiful." In kabbalah, Yaffa has the same numeric value (95) as Malka, queen. (variation: Jaffa)
Yakova is the feminine form of Yaakov (Jacob), meaning "held by the heel." Yaakov was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 25:26). (variation: Jacoba)
Yardena means "to flow down," in reference to the Jordan (Yarden) River. (variation: Jordana)
Yehudit means "praise" (Genesis 26:34, 29:35), and is the female version of Yehudah. Yehudit appears as a hero of the Chanukah story who bravely killed the enemy general. (variation: Judith)
Yiskah means "to gaze." Yiskah appears in the Bible as the niece of Abraham (Genesis 11:29). Tradition says that Yiskah was another name for Sarah, so called because she "gazed" with prophetic inspiration, and because others "gazed" at her beauty.
Yocheved means "God's honor." Yocheved appears in the Bible as the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. (Exodus 6:20)
Zahava means "gold." (variation: Zahavit, Zehava)
Zissel means "sweet" in Yiddish. (variations: Sissel, Cecilia)