Israeli rabbis issue name blacklist

A group of Israeli rabbis has put together a list of names they say should be off-limits to Jewish children - including Ariel and Omri, the given names of Israel's prime minister and his eldest son.

    Ariel as in Ariel Sharon is problematic, say the rabbis

    Uttering the name Ariel is problematic because it could beckon an angel namesake instead, drawing down his wrath, they caution.


    Omri - the name of an evil biblical king - should be taboo because of the highly negative connotation.


    And naming children after dismantled Gaza settlements, like Katif, is another bad idea, they say, because of the controversy involved, they say. Jewish settlers, predominantly religious, unsuccessfully opposed the withdrawal.


    The rabbis' list, presented on an internet site, also offers preferred names.


    Shameful names


    Rabbis said they compiled the list in response to a flood of requests from parents concerned they may accidentally give their children names that could shame them for life.


    What other names raise rabbinical ire? All those that sound non-Jewish - such as Donna, Barr and Shirly. So do typically male names given to girls - such as Roni and Danielle. Names that include the suffix or prefix "el," which means God in Hebrew.


    But parents should be careful. Only those names with a very negative connotation, including Omri, should be changed so as not to risk traumatising the children.


    Concerned parents


    Names such as Bin Laden are 
    banned from registration

    Instead, parents can slightly alter the names to Hebraicise them, for example, changing Susie to Shoshi, which means Rosie.


    Concerned parents' questions appear on the website.


    "When my daughter was born, we called her Roni but I was never comfortable with the name," wrote a woman who gave her name only as Liat. "Afterward I had a dream that it was not good to call her Roni. What should I do?" "Change it," was the reply.


    According to Judaism, names are very important and each person's soul has a designated name, the website explains.


    The names follow people into their afterlife and, when waiting at the gates of heaven, people must give their names.


    Israel's Interior Ministry has barred the names God, Hitler and Bin Laden from being registered in its population files, said Sabine Haddad, a spokeswoman for the Census Bureau.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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