Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sweet smelling babies

Yesterday we were at a brit; it bore a marked resemblance to any other brit I'd been to in the last 5 years - even the breakfast, whilst not Holy Bagel was still incredibly familiar. What struck me as being strange was the name of the baby; Mitchell or Mitch as he will no doubt be known, is a perfectly respectable albeit slightly old-fashioned (to my mind anyway) name to give a baby - but it's completely out of sync with the names that I have become used to.

Jeremy, Oliver, Steven, Richard, Robert, Peter and Neil. Louise and Victoria, Melanie, Sharon, Joanna and Amanda: these are the names of my generation. A Gidon was a rarity; the old stand bys of David, Daniel and Jonathan (but never Yonatan) were about as Jewish as it got. This was perhaps and era of conformity, of not wishing to stick out from the crowd - perhaps lacking in Jewish pride somewhat - odd for a group of children born post 6 day war but there you have it.

Mitch's generation has proved very different with a return to names which are not just Jewish, but often Israeli in their nature; Arieh, Noa, Yael, Tali, Atara and Keren have become far more common amongst my overseas friends, replacing the more conservative names of the past - in Israel the trend amongst Anglo Olim is stronger still - trying to be more Israeli than the Sabras perhaps.

Meanwhile, the native born Israelis have also changed their naming habits - they too have moved away from the traditional biblical and founders names and tend towards more international sounding names such as Gai, Ro'i and Gal. It has become impossible to tell by the name of a child whether it is a boy or girl - thank goodness that old style colour codes can still be relied on - Daniel in blue and Danielle in pink are pronounced exactly the same. But still, in general, the names maintain a certain intrinsic Israeliness no matter how MTV they try to be.

Little Mitch is therefore something of a curiosity amongst my friends in this day and age. A beautiful child with a name that points back to a different era - but then retro is always in.



Jeremy Freeman said...

"Jeremy, Oliver, Steven, Richard, Robert, Peter and Neil. Louise and Victoria, Melanie, Sharon, Joanna and Amanda"

Clearly you were thinking of our class mates at Yavneh and Sinai! Nice to reminiscence about our friends.

I'm still in touch with Oliver. What about you?

Gilly said...

The only ones who I still have regular contact with are Yael and yourself. I occasionally bump into David and Gidon.

Anonymous said...

A post about baby names...
Gilly, is there somthing you are trying to tell us?

Yellow Boy

Neil Gillman said...

....that my brother needs to think about baby names?

Anonymous said...

you trying to say that my name was 30 years ahead of its time?!?!