Jewish and Israeli Identity According to the Personal Names of Certain Communities in Samaria by Ofra Malka Birnboim
The study focuses on the factors that determine the choice of names by parents in the religious-nationalistic communities in Samaria. The purpose of the study is to examine what the name signiﬁes and what is its attributed value in this society...Parents from religious-nationalistic
towns in Samaria were asked to give reasons for choosing the names of about 1000 children born between 1982 and 2002. The reasons were classiﬁed into ﬁve groups that are not mutually exclusive:
(a) event-oriented names, e.g. holidays, national or private events, etc.;
(b) person-oriented names, e.g. names after relatives, after biblical personalities, after modern national or religious ﬁgures;
(c)religiously-oriented names, e.g. words from the Bible or the prayers, theophoric names;
(d)positive features and names from nature;
(e) names that sound pleasant.
Contrary to some claims made by sociologists that the modern Israeli tendencies in name choices in Israel override the Jewish identity, this study shows that these religious communities maintain the traditional approach to name assignment, yet are inﬂuenced by current Israeli trends as well. In this fashion, they shape contemporary society with a new Jewish and Israeli identity. Many of the names are shared with the secular Israeli society, but the meaning attributed to them by the parents interviewed in this study is religiously oriented. Hence, the traditional Jewish identity is kept intact, but with it there are strong ties to contemporary fashions in naming children.