Emma and Jacob: Baby Names and Our Jewish Roots

May 14, 2009

By Rabbi Jill Maderer

What do you think of the current trends for baby names, and in particular, Jewish baby names?  My passion for Jewish community naturally leads me to wonder: Why do so many new and recent babies (and we are blessed with lots of them at RS!) have the same names as my grandparents and great-grandparents?  Are new parents in my generation simply influenced by a character on the popular television show, “Friends,” who named her daughter, Emma?  Perhaps.  Or maybe there’s more to it.  Much of my generation is characterized by a challenge to create true connections with friends and neighbors.  We don’t necessarily live near where we grew up, and we are likely to hold several jobs throughout our careers and live in several different neighborhoods, if not cities, throughout our adult lives.  Our communities, our routines, even our identities, are in flux.  Sometimes, the complicated opportunities of modern life are exciting, but sometimes they are unsettling.  Many of us yearn to feel grounded, and to be a part of a greater, consistent whole. Read the rest of this entry »