Is the name Malachi common in Israel?

Just what the title says.


The only Malachi I can think of is veteran radio newscaster Malachi Hizkiya. Other than him, I’ve never encountered anyone with that name.

I remember

  1. An American character actor named Malachi Throne (Robert Wagner’s boss on “It Takes a Thief”). I have no idea if he was Jewish.

  2. Irish drunken raconteur Malachy McCourt (his brother wrote “Angela’s Ashes”). He definitely wasn’t Jewish.

Those are the only Malachis I’ve ever heard of.

The reason I ask is because as with Malachy McCourt it seems to be popular in Irish catholic families and I wondered if it still was for Jewish folk. I imagine it’s popularity here comes from St. Malachy.

Malachi is best known for the tithing instruction.

The New International Version (1984)

My Israeli friends tell me that biblical names are only really popular with the very orthodox crowd, so probably not.

How do you define a biblical name? Any name found in the bible? Only those names of actual prophets?

It depends. The “normal” biblical names - David, Daniel, Amnon, Tamar, Barak, Avraham, Rachel, etc. - are still fairly popular. It’s the longer, more obscure names that are limited to those of a more religious background.

Aren’t Malachi and Malachy pronounced differently (kye and key, respectively)? And named after different people? One was a Jewish prophet, date uncertain, and the other is a 12th century Irish saint? Granted, the root is the same, but I imagine most people with the “Malachy” spelling are named after the latter.
Malachi was also the sidekick of the main bad guy in Children of the Corn.

Like. . . Eutychus??? (Eh, that’s New Testamament. It doesn’t count.)

It’s not used among Hebrew-naming Orthodox people in America, either, or at least I’ve never heard of one. A few of the minor prophet names get used - I’ve known guys named Yoel (aka Joel), Ovadia (Obadiah), Yonah (Jonah), Micha (Micah), and Nachum (Nahum).

In Hebrew, for what it’s worth, the ending is neither -kye nor -key, but involves a gutteral ‘ch’ like the one at the end of Bach. (It rhymes with ‘key,’ though.)

AFAIK there are people with both variations but the second pronunciation, here in Ireland at least.

I’d say that obscure Biblical names are more common amongst “dati” Orthodox Jewish Israelis than amongst “charedi” ones. Charedi names tend to stick to recent relatives or well-known rabbis from within the last three centuries.

Then again, I (an American Orthodox Jew) named my own firstborn Mishael, so there are no doubt plenty of exceptions.