Jewish Names

Use it, or lose it.

Comments (43)

(43) Miriam, May 1, 2013 4:26 PM

A Misunderstanding on my part

I don't understand. You said to use your Hebrew name, to have a strong Hebrew name that you won't replace with an English name. Then you say they're used for important events (bris, when receiving an aliyah). Do we stick with Hebrew or save them for only the events?

(42) Elisheva, November 9, 2011 5:03 PM

never too late!

Go for it, Liba Rochel! :-) Show the world-- you can do it!!

(41) Dorota, May 21, 2011 4:05 AM

yes, names are important

Lori Liba Rochel - it is never too late :)

(40) Rachel, May 15, 2011 7:49 PM

I did it, you can too!

I changed what I am called. I used to be called "Rachel" in English. I decided to be called Ruh as in Rum, Ch as in chesed, chel as in sell. (my hebrew name). Everyone already knew me as Rachel, but started calling me my hebrew name even after knowing me for 2 years of highschool. Now, mostly everyone in my school calls me by my hebrew name, and I am surprised to hear my english one. so dont think that just because evryone knows you already and its awkward that you cant do it. yes at first it might feel a little funny reminding people, but it is worth it in the long name has holiness, and i am constantly reminded to follow in the ways of Rachel Imeinu from the Torah, who i am named after, not embarrassing people (she gave over her husband in order not to embarrass her sister!) and crying out for her children, the Jewish people. instead of being american, i identify myself as being a Jew! loud and clear. you should all have much success...if i could do it, so could you! the sooner you do it, the easier it will be. :)

(39) sora, June 18, 2010 2:05 AM

I stumbled upon your video on Jewish names and couldnt beleive what you were saying. I too did not grow up in an observant/religious home. I decided after HS graduation to be introduced and called by my Hebrew name. Sora...I should be so lucky that I should emmulate sora emanu., an inspiration. it was with great conviction of belief (and needing to convince my husband ) that a Jewish has a Jewish neshamah and needs to be called by a Jewish name. Thus my son's name is mordechai. He always refers to himself as MORDECHAI and it is he that knows it was the biblical mordechai that helped to save the Jewish people in Megilat Roos. Yes, Leiba Rachel/Lori, strong Jewish names call upon the neshama of that Jewish child. This shall be the beggining for a strong people.

(38) Aviva Michal Shoshana-it's a mouthful, June 20, 2009 11:23 PM

Great topic to discuss

I have a cute story about Jewish names. When my younger daughter was born, we named her Tehilla Rivka. Rivka was my paternal grandmother OBM, and me and my husband always loved the name Tehilla. When I told my non-religious uncle her name, he asked me, What kind of name is Tequila? I quickly corrected him and pronounced Tehilla's name more clearly for him. Then I explained that Tehilla stems from the word Tehillim, which are the Psalms of David, giving praise to Hashem Yisborach. My uncle was very pleased with the name choice, but asked me if he could simply call her Rivkie, since that was easier for him to remember how to pronounce. I said that was fine. Until this day, about 7 years later, this story still make s me chuckle.

(37) Yaakov Levy, March 19, 2009 11:11 PM

last p.s, important: thank you!

lori liba rochel: thank you! for your video and the comments by readers here. it helped me significantly along my path.

(36) Yaakov Levy, March 19, 2009 10:38 PM


bH, after almost 30 years of struggling with name issues i finally have returned to my o-rginal hebrew name. i used my middle name, an english version of hebrew for many years, but neither it nor it's hebrew form were right for me. thank G-d, after so much struggle, my first name in hebrew became more clear. it became clear that it really connected me to the torah, the torah within and to my ancestors. it's very interesting and illuminating to see the effects of using it. 6 years ago my torah teacher said to me that if i use my hebrew name it would give me 'inner shalom'. at that time, i couldn't do it. but now, finally, i see exactly what he means. "Yaakov" is my first name, and i love it. i love who Yaakov Avinu was and i love reading about him. "Levy" is actually my tribe. it connects me much better than the issues i had with my germanic name. but here's what i've done so far, bH: i started a 'dba' (doing brachas as) account at the bank with my hebrew name. that way, i can use both and avoid unnecessary stress with my family. if and hopefully when i make aliyah, it will just be the hebrew name. lori, i watched your video a few times and i have an observation. at the end when you say 'liba rochel' the feeling is very different than when you say 'lori, almost live'. i detected a sadness with 'lori' and a brimming kind of joy with 'liba'. maybe 'liba, really live' is better than 'lori, almost live'. i thought it was very interesting how you described how G-d sees you. our hebrew names certainly contain 'our sanctity and destiny'(this is in the siddur under 'giving of the name'). when it says that we merited liberation from egypt because we kept our names, language and distinctive dress... i have to wonder that even today, to liberate ourselves from whatever tsuris, bondage we may be in...connecting more meaningfully to the torah, the jewish community and our souls helps us to be truly 'liberated'. maybe you could experiment with your hebrew/jewish name, nu? let yourself be aware of how you respond, internally, to hearing it, when people call you. we all have our own processes...and far be it from me to tell someone else what is 'right' for them! someone said to me, re my hebrew name, "if that's who you really are and the name you want to evolve into". that's why i think of my process as a return to my soul name, my hebrew soul name. the name my dad gave me, named after my great grampa z'l. hey, it only took 30 years. whatever makes your neshama truly b'simcha, makes your soul truly happy!

(35) Susan, February 2, 2009 11:04 AM

Jewish Names

Thank you for your story Lori-Leba Rochel! I agree totally with Koby Liba #33. What ever harmonizes with your soul. At the age of 50 I changed my first name to the one my mother gave me at birth. She actually had my birth certificate changed! I never felt right growing up with what I was called. I had to change everything. EVERYTHING. I am still changing things, documents...But I do it with pleasure and love. It is not a burden what so ever. It is what is in my soul. Thank you!

(34) What is my real name?, January 4, 2009 3:18 PM

the beauty of having a hebrew name

Thank you for your inspiration. I was born Sephardic and it is a tradition to name after the living. I am named for my grandmother (my mother's mother), whom I love dearly. Amongst our Turkish Sephardic circles, most people have common biblical names such as Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov... Then there are some who have more cultured names such as mine. Being named for a Sephardic grandparent is the biggest honor you can give them. My grandmother always expresses her love for me more than any other grandchild because I am named for her. When I was born I was given a Sephardic name (for my grandmother) and a Hebrew name in the middle (for my grandmother's sister). Since my first name is so uncommon and has the potential to be mispronounced, my parents chose to give me an English name as well. (Ironically it is a Yiddish name, but my parents didn't know that when they named me, legally). For many years, I went by my English name exclusively, as to not be embarrassed by such an uncommon name. As I have gotten older I use my Jewish name more and associate myself with that name. I have taught myself to leave my emotions of embarrassment aside, and just see the beauty in being named for who I am. For the most part I do use my English name, but I always make a point of telling people what my Hebrew name is. I understand how you feel it to be an identity change after being called Lori all your life. Instead of doing away with your name Lori, try making a point of telling people your Hebrew name as well. People will learn to respect you and look up to you for making that change (or addition) to your name. They know it’s not easy because there are many people out there who are in the same situation. Hatzlacha!

(33) Anonymous, December 15, 2008 6:08 AM

Using our God given names

Shalom to you Leba Rochel, til 120,
Thank you for sharing who you are, always. I feel such gratitude that you give me Jewish Food For Thought...
Regarding Jewish Names:
I want to tell you that I don''t usually take the time to comment and maybe I should do more of it, as my voice counts, too. When I first became frum a Rabbi told me to use my hebrew name and not my yiddisha given name. I followed direction and especially his, as I had great admiration for his opinion and direction. I was in America at the time and did not know what was the best to do. I also liked the more cutsey sounding name of my hebrew name and all the nicknames surrounding it. Then I had the priviledge to move to the Holy Land. Soon, I heard a shiur of the importance of using our name that we are given at birth. The idea being that everytime our soul hears our God given name it wakes up a little more. I always need awakening and found this a very powerful truth. I am frum and I don''t chose to do my life just because it''s cute *or* to my liking *or* that I''d been doing it for a long time. I try to make my life decisions based on the emes (truth) and what is best for my soul and the next world. I am highly offended and insulted when my fellow yidden chose to do whatever they find "comfortable." My life is about stretching myself out of my comfort zone and to do what is the best in the eyes of God. When we were in mitzriyim the three things we did not change were our names, clothing and our language. No matter where God places me, please G-d, I should always be proud and true to hear my name at birth and awaken my soul further. I am always saddened when I hear yidden with their excuses, discomfort, reasoning to sound like a non-jew through their name whether in Israel and anywhere else in the world. Thanks for the opportunity to be able to express myself and for listening. By the way, Leiba Rochel is a beautiful name and it fits you like it was given to you at birth.

(32) koby, November 19, 2008 12:27 AM


i have read these comments to your piece several times. the more i think about it, the more i feel that you should use a name that harmonizes your soul. whatever name makes you feel more connected to the torah and centered within yourself. kol tuv

(31) Rochel, October 23, 2008 12:58 AM


Dear Leba Rochel, I have the exact same experience as you described. I appreciate your honesty. I also haven't had the nerve to ask people to call me by my Hebrew name. I think that my "English" name brands me as the baalas tshuva that I am and that is ok and meaningful--for now. I named my children one Hebrew name, not the confusing dual two names that I have. Thanks for sharing your story. -Rochel Bas Leba

(30) Lisa (Leah), October 22, 2008 8:20 PM

I wish I had ...

I wish I had given my three daughters strong Jewish names instead of an "English" name and a "Hebrew" name. It really does make sense from a Jewish perspective.

(29) Dottie, October 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Jewish name

Is there a book that helps one determine their Jewish name?

(28) Leah, October 21, 2008 3:26 PM

it isn't all or nothing

Not sure why the "too late for me" emphasis - first, in Judaism it's never too late, second, you can still serve as an example for incorporating your Jewish name into your life so that it doesn't only show up at 120, third, you talk perhaps most importantly about children's names since that's an open opportunity. I never got around to making a switch either, and sometimes I think maybe I could have, but in any case our kids have the names that some relatives can't pronounce :-)

(27) Yishai, October 20, 2008 2:16 PM

You can do it...

Lori...I mean Leiba Rochel. At 33 I went from plain ole Todd to Yishai Menachem. I made an anouncement at work and I asked all of my friends and family to call me by my Hebrew name. Within 3 months everyone calls me Yishai. There are still a few stragglers out there but, it only takes a second to correct them. If I can do it you, in all of your amazing wisdom, can definitely do it. Chag Semeach! Yishai Menachem

(26) Hannah Tovah, October 20, 2008 6:08 AM

Ahavah Rachel, You have the same problem I had. My "Jewish" name was recorded in synagogue in Yiddish. I never knew until my aliyah that my name wasn't accepted in Israel without translation. For Ashkenazim this is an outdated problem and I would suggest that you try translating your name to see if it doesn't sound agreeable to you. Hag sameach Ahavah Rachel, from Hannah Tovah.

(25) Miriam I., October 19, 2008 11:14 PM

Miriam I.

When I got married four years ago, I had to change my last name. And I thought since I'm changing my last name, I might as well change my first to a Jewish name. So now I am Miriam instead of Marianna with a married name. My entire name transformed!!! Dear Rebbetzin Leba Rochel, your statement regarding changing to a Jewish name would be much stronger if you show us by example, by doing it yourself!!! THe LO-to Leba and the RI- To Rochel!! At first it will sound awkward, but eventually it will become part of you. JUST DO IT as this year's resolution. Your name is beautiful!! Gut Yom TOv!

(24) Estair, October 19, 2008 11:20 AM

There is also Leeba Live.Our wonderful friend ,mime artist and teacher from Moshav Matityahu.

(23) SusanE, October 18, 2008 9:40 AM

Three Tiny Letters ---- Mean So Much

Lori to Liba = Three little letters that make such a beautiful connection!! ................

(22) Lisa Moad, October 17, 2008 4:21 PM


Love it Go with with it its better then Lori

(21) camille, October 16, 2008 6:01 PM

too late

if you tell us its too late for yourself but not for us, we will say its too late for me as well. if your video was to tell everyone that your name is is from now on Liba rachel and its really hard for you to change it but you realized how chashuv it is and that your taking the plunge anyway imagine how many people would say hey if she did it so can i. thank you so much Rebbetzen Liba Rachel palatnik because from you not changing your name i realized how important it is that i do :) chaya ps-yes you didnt want to change your name because you didnt want to loose your self but thats who Hashem intended on you to be, so use it well.

(20) HANA, October 16, 2008 5:16 AM

never to late

i love your name leiba Leiba Racheal sounds soo good

(19) ya'akov, October 16, 2008 1:24 AM

i like 'liba'

i really like the name liba. it has roots to it and it's a lovely name. and look at what it means! you would be not only honoring your ancestors with this name, and honoring would be honoring and returning to your own unique soul. i like liba. liba or rochel or both. or rachel. maybe one of the reasons you made this video is to help yourself move into your hebrew soul name, nu? if you sincerely feel that it's not for you to do, that is okay. but it's worth experimenting with.

(18) S Ehrlich, October 15, 2008 9:27 PM

"Cant change too late"

Online you are known as Lori But at home and between friends Im sure its Liba Rachel.

(17) Aviel, October 15, 2008 7:40 PM

You've a beautiful Hebrew name!!!

Being Jew by choice, I had a Spanish name. Now, and some time ago, with my going deeper into Judaism, I felt my name didn't suit me. I was not that "name" anymore. Of course one can choose a name and be called that way. Today I can tell you I'm pleased that almost nobody knows me by my old name (still on the ID), and I have a strong Jewish name ,) I started already the legal change of my Spanish name to the Jewish one. There won't be a name on the Ketubah and another one on the ID. No! Only AVIEL everywhere, everytime, to remind me and to make me feel who I feel. Khag sukkot sameakh to you all. Regards from Sefarad.

(16) Erin, October 15, 2008 9:44 AM

what G-d sees

I don't believe that G-d sees a name when he looks down to us. I believe he sees us as a human being, as His creation and I don't think he needs us to use our Hebrew names to be noticed! I know what my Hebrew name is and I will share it with anyone who asks just as they might my English name. But to say that G-d sees Esther Chaya instead of Erin, or the person I am... I simply don't agree.

(15) Chana Zelasko, October 14, 2008 12:33 PM

I did it for me

I changed both my first and last names when I got married almost 30 years ago. I figured it was a good time to do it and I'm really glad I did it then. Well, from now on I'll think of you as Liba Rochel. Moedim l'simcha!

(14) Annette, October 13, 2008 10:18 PM

no, we were not all given Jewish names

We were not given Jewish names My parents didn't have Jewish names Hope you will address the baal t'shuva Jewish name issue in a future issue A convert gets a name PLUS 'bat Sarah' or 'bar Abraham' What do ball t'shuvas get?? Why and how do we get one? how do we pick one? or do we? Your Jewish name is just fine, very fine! and meaningful What does 'Lori' mean?

(13) Anonymous, October 13, 2008 2:02 PM

A reality lesson!

My initial thought was frustration=how can you ask others to change when you yourself haven't? But then, a second, more charitable thought followed in its wake--that you are not just preaching, but sharing the reality with us each of us have real feelings, and our unique strengths and weaknesses. May we each find the courage to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.

(12) Beth, October 13, 2008 8:42 AM

YES! Lieba Rochel Almost Live!

It's never too late to be who you really are! Think of what you would tell one of your viewers who came to you with this issue. You would, of course, encourage them to be Yoni instead of Johnny, Shoshannah instead of Susan. As you say, that is how G-d views them. Let your true self shine through - it is beautiful.

(11) Anonymous, October 13, 2008 1:49 AM

Rosh Hashanah message...

It is never too late!

(10) zahava, October 13, 2008 1:48 AM

jewish names

no, it's not too late to change to using ur jewish name. there's a reason we are given jewish names. they're from where we draw our strength. when i made aliya, i had my jewish name put in my teudat zehut and it is my legal name here in israel. there is power and strength in a jewish name.

(9) Anonymous, October 12, 2008 3:32 PM

I love your short shiurim! Please come lecture in south africa!!

(8) rivka ( leslie ), October 12, 2008 1:17 PM

jewish names

Lori - I LOVE your Jewish name. i am later in life... mid life... i am 53, and this year, i hope to make aliyah. With Hashem's help and blessings. as I meet new people, in israel, i introduce myself as Rivka, though i have been called anything but that up until this time in my evolution. its never too late to be called by who you are you CAN do it... just as your children are doing it GO FOR IT, BE AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL, WE LOVE YOU

(7) DovBer, October 12, 2008 12:35 PM

Never Too Late

I started using my Jewish name in my Shul community 5 years ago. Two years ago at age 60 I celebrated by birthday by using my Jewish name full time. Changing it legally. Saying it's too late for "Lori" is doing an injustice to your message. Is becoming Baal Tshuva only for young people, too late for anyone over 30 or 40. DovBer

(6) Anonymous, October 12, 2008 11:33 AM

If you become Libba...I'll become Chaiyah.

I would love to be called by my Hebrew name, Chaiyah Tova. In Hebrew school I was always known an Tova. Now as a grandmother, I'm only known as Gayle or Nana. You have given me a lot to think about. Todah!

(5) Rona, October 12, 2008 10:47 AM

It's never too late

Apparently American Jews over the last 100 years have been trying to blend into society and purposely named their children English names as well as Hebrew. I followed suit even though I am Orthodox. I named my son Solomon in English and Shlomo in Hebrew after his paternal grandfather. Last year at age 27 after moving to Israel he filed for a legal name cahnge to Shlomo. When my husband and I are able to make Aliyah we plan to introduce ourselves to all our new friends with our Hebrew names. We may leave them as English on documets and accounts because we are much older than you or our son so we feel it may cause problems with bank accounts etc. I do understand how you feel spending so many years as Lori and then you're not Lori any more. Especially since you are a semi famous person. Who knows maybe some day you'll feel differently. I'm glad you named your children only Hebrew names. I'm glad my grandchildren have only Hebrew names. I also love your short videos.

(4) Mordechai, October 12, 2008 8:35 AM

What's your "Real" Name?

Like yourself, Lori, I come from a non-religious background, and as I child, I went by my English name, Mark. When I attended Yeshiva University, my teacher, the famous Rabbi Shlomo (formerly Steven) Riskin, previous rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue, and now chief rabbi of Efrat, Israel, asked me what my name was. When I responded "Mark," he replied, "No, what's your 'real' name?" I didn't understand what he meant, until he explained that my real name is my Jewish name. I've been Mordechai ever since, and never looked back. Mordechai for me has so much more meaning than Mark, being the name of the hero of the story of Purim, who wouldn't bow down to Haman, at the risk of his life. I, too, have taken positions which are unpopular, but which I'm sure my namesake Mordechai would be proud of. Lori, you mentioned that if you don't use it (your Jewish name), you lose it. Liba Rochel is a beautiful Jewish name. It means 'beloved Rachel,' and Chazal, our rabbis, tell us that Moshiach will come in the merit of Rachel who gave signs to her sister Leah to avoid her from being embarressed. If you don't like the Yiddish word Liba, you can just take to calling yourself by your middle name, Rochel, which many religious Jews do (taking their middle name).

(3) Sam, October 12, 2008 6:46 AM

Lori has the greatest impact on all of us by far

While I perfectly understand that we can relate better to Lori. I must say though that if there's anybody who could pull this one off it's YOU Lori! Let's face it: You've got the power like no one else to set an example and have a profound impact on all of us as you did numerous times in the past…, Thank you!

(2) Rosen, October 12, 2008 5:08 AM

Jewish and Anglocized names

Some Jewish names like Rosen are derived from Germany. I understand my first and middle Jewish names, Nachum Moshe, but is there a Jewish/Hebrew translation for Rosen? Based on experience, I have realized that it is not appropriate to ask someone if he/she has a Jewish name after knowing that they are Jewish. It's only because many Jewish names get Anglocized such as when our ancestors immigrated to the USA, among other places. At least if asked whether one's name is Jewish, one doesn't have to be so defensive about it if it appears Anglocized. Perhaps the problem may be the confusion with adaptation...G-d willing, by the time I'm older, all of us Jews will use our Jewish names and be in Israel. We just have to work around our (secular) obligations upon reaching our full Jewish potential, which will always be energized by our Jewish soul (neshema) that is always with us.

(1) suzy, October 12, 2008 3:36 AM

it's funny you mention suzan, that's my name. Sometimes I use my hebrew name. But I usually go by my english. It's funny because I like my hebrew one more which is Sharona By the way, I don't think it's too late for you to go by yours. Maybe start slowly until you get use to it


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