Celebrities are known for giving some pretty unconventional names to their children. From Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter Apple, to singers Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz naming their son Bronx Mowgli, there are many fun and exotic names to choose from.
A recent phenomenon is taking place in Hollywood however, in which celebrities are giving their children Hebrew and Biblically inspired names.
Deborah Kolben, editor of the Jewish parenting website Kveller.com, explained in an interview with Jewish Week several years ago that many Americans are looking to give their children “interesting and different names.” Many parents “want their kids’ names to stand out and a lot of modern Israeli names seem a little different.”
According to Kolben, more traditional Biblical names like Sarah, Rachel and Rebecca will never “lose traction.”
Here are our picks of the top 10 celebrity baby names inspired by the Hebrew language and the Bible:
10: Robert Downey Jr. & Susan Downey – Their daughter Avri Roel’s name is Short for Abraham and their son Exion Elias is Latin for Elijah.
The Downeys, an actor and movie producer respectively, have two children with names that have roots in the Bible. While they have not commented on the inspiration of their children’s names, the double whammy of Hebrew names certainly qualifies them for our list.
9: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes – Daughter Suri’s name is a semi-popular Hebrew alternative to Sarah, which is widely publicized as being Hebrew for ‘princess’. While the word Sar in Hebrew means minister and is occasionally used to mean prince in the Bible, the word Suri is not used to mean princess in modern or Biblical Hebrew. The word princess in modern Hebrew is Nesicha and in Biblical Hebrew Sarah (plural Sarot) or the alternative Bat Melech (Hebrew for daughter of a king).
8: Natalie Portman & Benjamin Millepied – Son Aleph is named after the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Israeli born actress who speaks Hebrew, knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she named her son. The letter Aleph has many mystical overlays and meanings and often is attributed to new beginnings, fresh starts, and the omnipresent.
7: Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen – Son Benjamin Rein. The New England Patriots football star and Brazilian fashion model chose a name of one of the 12 Tribes for their firstborn son. While this isn’t a particularly strange name, it is an interesting one as the toddler now shares a name with the Israeli Prime Minister. You just know this little kid is going places. Go little Ben go.
6: Sinead O’Connor & Frank Bonadio – Son Yeshua Bonadio O’Connor. Believe it or not, Yeshua is a Hebrew name. Often used by Christians as an alternate name for Jesus, there are numerous Biblical characters named Yeshua, which is a stand alone name as well as a shortened form of Yehoshua. Both names mean savior or salvation.
5: Will Ferrell & Viveca Paulin – Son Matthias. Actor duo Will Ferrel and Viveca Paulin named their second child Matthias which is a shortened version of the Hebrew name Matitya or Matityahu. The name Matityahu appears in the Bible and became very popular following the Hasmonean revolt as the father of the Maccabean brothers and head of the Hasmonean dynasty during the Second Temple was named Matityahu. The name is also a popular Swedish name.
4: Will Arnett & Amy Poehler -Son Abel. The Canadian actor and the US comedian/actress chose the Biblical name Abel for their second child. Abel is the name of the son of Adam, the first man.
3: Ashly Costa & Mike Costa – Son Enoch Daniel. Former Dancing With the Stars professional dancer Ashly DelGrosso Costa and her husband, field producer Mike Costa, have two children with Biblical names. The younger of the two, having the more unusual name in Enoch, is listed here, but his older brother Ammon Michael certainly deserves honorable mention as well.
2: Ben Zobrist and Julianna Zobrist – Son Zion Benjamin Zobrist. Son of the Christian singer/songwriter and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball player, Zion is an alternate name for Jerusalem and Benjamin is the second son of Jacob and Rachel. The word Zion is first found in II Samuel 5:7.