Why are Sidney, Ira, Irving, such common Jewish names?

Let’s not forget the 3 Jewish inventors of automobile air conditioning. Henry Ford was an antisemite who refused to put the names Finkelstein, Goldberg, and Cohen in his cars, but they didn’t allow him to use their invention without having their names on it. That’s why, to this day, many air conditioning systems are still proudly emblazoned with their first names: Norm, Hy, and Max.

Kevin’s friend on The Wonder Years was Jewish, and he was named Paul.

‘Manny’ is a Jewish name, isn’t it? And ‘Lonny’?

Mark, not Marcus, is a very popular name among Orthodox Jews. Paul isn’t unheard of either - I know 2 Orthodox Pauls myself.

My Jewish great uncles Emanuel and Moses became Manny and Maurice.

I’d hardly call Mark very popular among Orthodox Jews. Here’s a Jewish (mostly Orthodox) website used for engagement, wedding, and birth announcements. It has a useful search function which can provide some interesting anecdotal evidence here. First name includes Paul gives 53 Pauls, Paulas, Paulinas, etc. Conversely, first name David gives 1111 results. First name includes Mark gives 150 results, but a portion of those appear to be incorrectly entered last names. There are another 155 Marcs, including Marcus, Marcy, etc, while Moshe has 2156 results. 61 Matthews compared to 1976 Chaims. 2 people named Mary, 1587 named Miriam. You get the picture.

We had a Senator here in Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, who was Jewish. As was his opponent the first time he was elected. In fact, it became a campaign issue as to ‘who was the better Jew’.


Yeah, and then they hired Alec Baldwin to motivate the sales staff…

I had a Sefaradi coworker who was a Carlos and his sister a Paula; I know Carlos was observant. Mind you, my BFF is a very-Catholic Blanca Ester (“white” because she was so pale - still is, Ester because she was born on the feast of “St. Ester, queen” - so yeah, thereabouts of Purim) and my sister-in-law an observant, Catholic Judith (because her mother liked it). For me a Sefaradi Fernando would be more surprising, but Isabel happens to be a Jewish name.

(Overheard circa 1948)

  • So Florence, you hear that they’ve declared independence?
  • Really? What are they going to call the country?
  • They said it’s going to be called “Israel”.
  • Israel? I don’t know… why don’t they just call it Irving?

Off the topic a bit, but did you notice “Ashkenazi” is half-Jewish and half-Nazi? But so was Hitler.

I know you know that we know that this is a joke, but since this is GQ, and we don’t want to trip up casual readers, here’s the snopes link.

Lillian (Lily) has had a resurgence in the past 10 or so years, like old fashioned names like Emma, Rachel, Emily, Katy, Isabella, Sophie and Sophia, along those lines.

Top 10 Girls’ Names of 2010

[li]Sophia[/li][li]Isabella[/li][li]Olivia[/li][li]Emma[/li][li]Chloe[/li][li]Ava[/li][li]Lily[/li][li]Madison[/li][li]Addison[/li][li]Abigail [/li]
Top 10 Boys’ Names of 2010

See, to me Mark is a Jewish name because I know of 3. None are even remotely Orthodox though.

The most common names I see among Jewish people roughly my age (21-28) are David, Michael, and Sarah.

Good god, Caden, what an ugly name.

I’m Jewish. My great grandfather was named Paul. My mom is named Paula in his honor. I know several Pauls who are Jewish. My dad is Howard so there’s another name that takes from the Brits.

A century ago, Jewish parents may have been giving their kids names they associated with the WASP aristocracy. But today? Among the Jewish families I know, a lot of the kids now seem to have old-fashioned, Hebrew names or (this blows my mind) Irish names!

I have no idea where all the Jewish Seans, Aidans, Caitlins and Shannons came from!

My great grandparents: Saly +Selma
My great uncles :Erich and Rudolf
My grandfather: Fritz Jonas (who went by FJ or Fred)

My mother and her siblings: Judith Selma, Paul, Erica
My mother’s cousin: Peter Erich Saly

You definitely get the whole named-after-dead-relatives theme.
For my grandfather (who left Germany for South Africa in the 1930s and married my grandmother in 1944) it wasn’t about sounding less Jewish, it was about sounding lessGerman.

My little brother’s middle name is Sean. He’s David Sean Extremely Jewish last name. My mom said it was either Sean or Neil and she hated Neil so she talked my dad into Sean. His Hebrew name is the very Jewish Chaim Yankel. I think Irish names were simply popular in the 1970’s and Jews, like other parents, liked them. I know personally many Colleens, Meagans, Kellys, Erins, Dylans, Liams, Brians and Kevins. Most of the people in question were not of Irish ancestry.

Caitlin and Aiden are this generation’s Jennifer and Jason.

True Story: a branch of my family came to the US and they wanted to change their last name to something that “sounded less Jewish.”

They chose Steinberg. :smack:

Their original last name actually doesn’t sound Jewish at all to Americans. It sounds italian. (something like “Crispini”) :smack::smack:

I’ve never met a Jewish Paul, I’m amazed that someone knows three. And I live in New York City, we’re not exactly short on Jews (In my old neighborhood, I could walk to four different Yeshivas).

I think Marley has it right. My paternal grandfather was named Ira. He was born in the 1880’s in rural Arkansas. He was not Jewish and this was not a family name being passed on. I always wondered how he came by that name and the only way this makes sense would be if it was popular at the time.