• What Makes a Name Jewish? Is Victoria a Jewish Name?

    New question on AskTheRav.com: What makes a name Jewish? Is Victoria a Jewish name? My grandmother, who passed away recently was named Victoria . That was her only name. I would like to name my daughter after her but my husband says it’s not a Jewish name, I want to know what makes a name Jewish. See Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun‘s response Full Story

    Question: What makes a name Jewish? Is Victoria a Jewish name? My grandmother, who passed away recently was named Victoria . That was her only name. I would like to name my daughter after her but my husband says it’s not a Jewish name, I want to know what makes a name Jewish.

    Answer: Giving a name to your child should be with the agreement of both parents. You can honor your grandmother by giving a Hebrew name which is similar to Victoria, such as Malka, which means a queen, or Atara, which means a crown. You might also choose to retain the name Victoria for secular purposes.

    Reasoning: Jewish names are those mentioned or derived from the Tanach or Talmud, or associated with Judaism. Similarly, some names have assumed a Jewish identity, because they stem from Yiddish or Ladino and are considered Jewish names by way of custom.
    Names used by Jews but are of non Jewish origin are considered non Jewish names. (A classic exception would be the name Alexander, which became a legitimate Jewish name.)

    The name Victoria is Latin for the word “victory”. The name was adopted by some Jews (at least for two centuries) as it is recorded in Get Mesudar in the section Sheimos Nashim page 224 spelled as וויקטאריא for Ashkenazim. In Shem Chadash page 184 it is spelled as ויכטוריא for Sefardim. Although the name is not Jewish, if one chooses to honor a relative with such a name, they may do so. This matter is a dispute in the Poskim. Some Poskim hold that it is prohibited to give a secular name to a child, for this violates the Biblical prohibition of following in the ways of the nations. This is the view of the Maharam Shick (Y.d. 169); Maharshag 2:194; the Rogatchover Gaon (Teshuva 275). This is also the view of Kabalah. However Igros Moshe (Orach Chayim 4:66) did not see this is as a violation of following the ways of the nations.

    We saw often by the Lubavitcher Rebbe that when people wanted a Jewish name, he would give them a name with a similar meaning or sound as their current secular name.

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