Jewish Mystery 1 - the name Steve

Isn’t Steve/Stephen/etc., a Christian name? Why are they so many Jews named Steve?


Your premise seems a little fishy. Do you have any data backing up your assertion? Or do you just know a few Jews who happen to have the name Steve or Stephen.

I know several Vietnamese and Chinese folks with the name Steven but I’ve never thought of it as a demographic trend.

I think the idea of using ethnic names has fallen out of favor (or has merely become uninteresting) in the melting pot of modern white society. No one really cares where the name comes from, just if it sounds good.

Makes sense. I know a guy whose name is Paul. Both of his parents are Jewish (although non-observant).


Dunno. My ex was named Stephen and he was Cajun, not Jewish.

On the other hand, my half-Jewish cousins are Tony and Spencer.

** Moo the Magic Cow**'s quote is interesting. There are/were a lot of Jewish people in Poland, right? Name a few kids after the king and you start a trend.

“my half-Jewish cousins are Tony and Spencer”

I guess that proves the OP’s point. Duh.
Perhaps there should be a law that says that all Jews should be named either Abraham, Isaac or Moses. :slight_smile:

  • PW

My mom’s boss is a Jewish guy named Steve. Gasp!

Leaving aside Geoduck’s quite valid question of what set of data you’re working from, there’re probably nearly as many explanations as there are Jews named Steve (if not more). A lot of Jewish immigrant parents in the last century were extremely eager to assimilate and for their kids to be seen as Americans, rather than Jews. They picked names for their kids that they thought sounded American (Bernard being a common example) instead of names that would immediately tag them as being Jewish (Chaim, Shmuel, Itzakh, etc.). In other cases, and in later generations when parents were more or less completely assimilated, families just picked names they liked or named their kids after celebrities or friends without much regard for the history or meaning of the name (hence the occasional Jew named Christopher or Christina, or Paul, which is more common than one might expect).

In short, like the red hair question, there’s nothing much to see here, unless you try to manufacture something.

Well, while we’re on the topic, what’s with the common (in the early twentieth century, anyway) Jewish first name of “Isidor”? Both my paternal great-grandfather and maternal grandfather had this name, as well as a few far-off cousins.

My first name is the female varient (Isadora, I was named after my late grandfather) but all the baby-name books say this is Egyptian in origin (Gift of Isis). Why name lots of little Jewish babies after an Egyptian god? Could it trace back to the Jews that lived in Egypt – probably a stretch, I know – or is there some other reason?

Anyway, back to the whole “Steve” business – most of the (unorthodox, not particularly religious) Jews I know and am related to either name their kids after relatives who have passed away or just use common American baby names. But even then they don’t use obviously Christian names, like, say, Christopher.

And I managed to post that without reading Rackensack’s reply – there are, I’m sure, some Jewish people named Christopher. For the most part it hasn’t been a popular choice among the people I’ve met who are Jewish. I do have a cousin named “Matthew” though – that’s pretty New Testament-ish ;j

And of course my knowledge of Jewish names comes only from my personal experience among people I’ve met in New York. I have no idea about naming customs among Jews in other parts of the world.