aired May 16, 2015 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/p8xmxxCuBnY
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of May 17, 2015.
By the time I am old enough to enjoy Social Security, there probably won’t BE Social Security, so I’m going to enjoy it now. Last week, the Social Security Administration released its annual statistics on the most popular baby names in America. What, pray tell, are mamas and papas naming their spawn? If they’re celebrities, they’re naming them Apple, and Moon Unit and Ol’ Dirty Bastard III, for all I know. But the rest of us are picking pretty standard monikers for their toddlers.
For example, girls’ names in the Top 10 include Olivia, Charlotte and Abigail. I presume that Olivia comes from “Law and Order – Special Victims Unit” running on every cable channel, every hour of every day. And since no one can spell Mariska, let alone pronounce it, they went with Olivia. There’s also Emily, which could be named for that hot actress in “Bones.” Obviously, you can’t name a girl “Bones,” unless you want her to be a little too popular on prom night.
Also on the ladies’ list at number five: Ava, a name I haven’t heard since Frank Sinatra was cheating on her, and Madison, which I guess is better than naming your daughter Jefferson or Roosevelt. Or, for that matter, Bush.
On the penile side of things, name number 10 is Daniel, nice Jewish biblical name. Daniel was a man of apocalyptic visions and good deeds — so good that an angel saved him from a den of lions, which, let me tell you, was much scarier than their living room.
Speaking of the Old Testament–which, being a Rabbi, I am wont to do–only one woman’s name, the aforementioned Abigail, originally comes from the Bible. Abigail was a hottie handmaiden who ended up marrying King David. Never underestimate the appeal of a good handmaiden job.
Meanwhile, unlike the women, half the names on the men’s list have Hebrew or biblical ties. There’s Michael, the archangel, and the goyische James. At number eight you have Ethan, or Eitan, which is Hebrew for strong, firm and safe. Good description for Ethan Allen furniture, though for Etan Patz, not so much.
At number four on the list, there’s Jacob, who went down a rung on the ladder from last year. While, as he did in 2013, flooding the top spot is Noah. I guess people Noah good name when they hear one. Heh heh. I apologize.
Other hot names the past two years include Liam, Alexander and Mason, which could be a tribute to the Freemasons, or those heavy glass jars, or, my guess: former child actor Mason Reese. William is on the list, of course, because William’s always on the list. Alas, there’s no Solomon. Perfectly good name if you ask me.
And as far as the men are concerned, I’ve gotta say, biblical though it may be, it’s a boring roster. Roll through the top 20, and you see Benjamin and David and Joseph and Matthew. Where’s the Yerachmiel? Where’s the Chuchelmaimen? Where’s Teufenvogel and Zazu and Willebold and Mbutu? How about showing some initiative people. How are your children going to get famous and rock one name like Cher, or Moby or Beyonce if they’re all named Elizabeth, or Andrew or John?
At least in the Arab countries you get some variety. The top name is Mohammed. But you also have Muhammed, and Muhammad, and Mohammed, and Mohammad, and Marmaduke.
I’m not thoroughly convinced that a baby name is all that telling about what a person will grow up to be. Nobody names their kid “Adolf” anymore, but that’s no reflection on Adolphe Menjou and Adolph Green. And maybe Harvey Fierstein and Harvey Milk could have compared notes, but if you can find a connection between Don King and Don Knotts, you’re just trying too hard.
So if you’re having a baby this year, remember that 2015 offers all sorts of opportunities to supplant Emma and Noah as the names of choice for American infants. Pinchas and Gittel, your chariot awaits.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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