Jewish names on-trend for Dutch non-Jews

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Jewish names on-trend for Dutch non-Jews

Among the most common Dutch boys’ names of recent years have been Levi and Ezra, Simon and David

Sociologists in Holland say they are stumped as to why so many Dutch parents without Jewish heritage are opting for Jewish names.

The prevalence has been linked to the Netherlands’ strong Protestant Christian tradition, with some suggesting that Biblical references may play a part, but others feel it boils down to phonetics – how the name sounds.

Among the most common Dutch boys’ names of recent years have been Levi and Ezra, with thousands registered, but alongside the more universally common such as Simon, David, Ruth and Esther, a non-Jewish parent who spoke to JTA said his children were called Yoaz, Shilon, Netanya, Yael, Lael, Yair and Odelia.

Other names more frequently heard in the Netherlands beyond the country’s 30,000-strong Jewish community are religious names such as Elisheva, Yehuda, Moshe, Baruch, Aron, Boaz
and Thirza.

Utrecht University sociologist Gerrit Bloothooft said there was no data on why distinctly Jewish names are relatively popular in the Netherlands.

“I suspect parents don’t think too much about the Jewish origins of
these names, not more than in names like David, Sarah or Judith,” Bloothooft said. “People simply think these are
pretty names.”

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