Is Noam TOO Jewish?

(92 Posts)
Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 09:20:21

Ok, so DH and I both agreed on Noam for our DS1, due shortly. We both love the name, but as my due date is looming, I am feeling a bit wobbly about it.

So, when you hear Noam, do you

- immediately think of Noam Chomsky (I don't mind this association, and have nothing against Chomsky, but I wouldn't want people to think he was named specifically after him.

- immediately think of a religious Jewish family, which we are not. I am Jewish, DH isn't, and I always wanted a name that nodded to my heritage, but I was originally just thinking of Old Testament classics, which wouldn't stand out as much. As in, there are plenty of Josephs, Samuels, etc... who aren't Jewish. Whereas Noam is a modern Hebrew name, popular in Israel. Do you think this is a problem in the UK?

As an aside, I know some people don't like it because it sounds like 'gnome', but this aspect doesn't really bother me, and we are going to pronounce it No-am (which is how it is pronounced in Hebrew). Also I like gnomes.

Honest/blunt replies are welcome, though tbh I am less interested in whether you like the name as a name (because we love it) and more interested in what judgments you might make if you met a Noam.

Gwennan Fri 28-Sep-12 09:41:33

I thought of Noam Chomsky immediately.

It doesnt sound too Jewish to me,I have never heard it before.

But I fear the child will spend its life saying "no, not Noah, NoaMmm"

StellaNova Fri 28-Sep-12 09:46:51

I didn't think of Noam Chomsky when I saw the name by itself, and if you hadn't asked in the title my first thought would not have been "Jewish". My first thought actually was "ooh a bit like Noah".

claraschu Fri 28-Sep-12 09:51:12

Sounds too Jewish to me (I'm Jewish, and so is my husband), but I really don't like modern Israeli names in general. I know too many irritating, rude, aggressive Israelis. You did say to be blunt.

JellyMould Fri 28-Sep-12 10:00:43

I thought of Noam Chomsky. But I'm a linguist.

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 10:01:40

Thanks! All very helpful (but different) replies, which means I am none the wiser ;)

Seems like the Noam Chomsky link will always be there (we've already decided if Chomsky dies between now and the birth, not that there's any reason he will, we will have to have a rethink).

So maybe it's just too Jewish for Jewish people, if that makes sense? Because it's me having the doubts, not DH. And I have read it's quite popular among religious Jewish communities in US, and very popular in Israel in general.

clara so do you think of it as more of an Israeli name? I don't know many Israelis, and I know no Noams, so your perspective is very helpful.

And would DS stand out more as being Jewish if I called him, say, Abraham, or Solomon or something? It seems this might be the case if Noam is not that well known in UK. The aim wasn't to stand out, if you know what I mean, but pick a name we both like but that would reference my religious/cultural heritage, because DH (and the baby's) surname are very English.

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 10:04:16

wannabe and stella I love Noah too actually, but it just seems to be everywhere at the moment (I think it's in the top baby names in UK) and we wanted something a bit more unusual.

CachuHwch Fri 28-Sep-12 10:05:57

Oooh I love it. I didn't think of Chomsky.

claraschu Fri 28-Sep-12 10:12:27

That's just my perception, probably completely unreasonable. Biblical names have many connotations, not just specifically Jewish, but Noam seems too "in-your-face" Jewish for my taste. Again, that's just me and my silly point of view, not any kind of balanced perspective.

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 10:18:57

That's exactly what I'm looking for though, so thanks clara!

badtime Fri 28-Sep-12 10:26:18

I would assume that someone called Noam was either Israeli, or the son of lefty parents (and had brothers called Karl and Fidel).
(But then I had to read 'Manufacturing Consent' for about 5 different courses when I was at university...)

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 10:43:12

badtime thanks for making me laugh! I guess we do qualify as lefty, and thanks for giving me ideas for any future DCs' names ;)

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 28-Sep-12 10:46:18

I thought of Noam Chomsky - only Noam I know! I would assume you were Jewish tbf. Not sure itf that helps or not!

LaFataTurchina Fri 28-Sep-12 10:49:37

I would immediately think Chomsky, lefty parents.

Wouldn't actually immediately think Jewish name as I don't know many Jewish people so I don't know what names are popular for them.

RillaBlythe Fri 28-Sep-12 11:17:27

I would think of Chomsky but not overwhelmingly so. I'd probably think Jewish too but again not overwhelmingly so. I like the name. LOVE Solomon though, which I think doesn't necessarily read as Jewish at all actually.

kalidasa Fri 28-Sep-12 11:24:05

I would assume he was Jewish/Israeli, but not necessarily religious etc. I would think vaguely of Chomsky too. But if you like it I think it's fine.

PropositionJoe Fri 28-Sep-12 11:35:46

Well, it couldn't be MORE Jewish, I don't think. It's right up there with Joel and Solomon

Gwennan Fri 28-Sep-12 11:36:40

I'm not sure I see the problem with him being identified as Jewish from his name. For one thing, what's wrong with being Jewish? For another, I have a French name but I'm not French so names can be misleading.

For me, naming your child Noam is akin, in some ways, to naming your child Rihanna or Madonna or Cher or something because there is only one person in the public eye with that name.

According to the Internet, Noam is also a place-name in south Israel, where it is sometime used for girls.

There are plenty of names that might tick your boxes such as Abraham, David, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, Elijah, Adam, Isaac, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, Amos, Benjamin, Cyrus, Eli, Ezra, Gideon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesse, Joel, Malachi, Micah, Nathan, and Reuben if you decide against Noam.

campergirls Fri 28-Sep-12 11:43:34

I thought of Chomsky first, but that's not a bad association in my mind!

However I would be wondering about the political assumptions people might make on the basis of a modern Israeli name. If you're pro-Israel/Zionist, or happy to be thought so, not a problem. But maybe something to take into consideration.

breadandbutterfly Fri 28-Sep-12 11:48:08

I might wonder if it could be a girls' name too?

RTchoke Fri 28-Sep-12 11:48:26

I think Chomsky then I think Isreali (rather than simply Jewish) and probably Zionist.

Jdub Fri 28-Sep-12 11:50:01

If I met a 'Noam' I'd think what a lovely name. I really like it.

SoupDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 11:51:15

If I heard Noam I would probably think I'd misheard Noah or, like I thought when I read the thread title, that it was a typo.

Viviennemary Fri 28-Sep-12 11:52:02

I've not heard this name before. Can't say that it sounds a particularly attractive name but there is nothing wrong with it. Think of a few other names you like if you are not sure about this name.

Alameda Fri 28-Sep-12 11:52:06

what in case it upsets the anti-semites campergirl?

if I was Jewish I would like a child called Aryeh which I THINK is lion

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 11:56:19

gwennan no problem with being identified as Jewish of course, but just don't want it to be a big statement, if that makes sense?

camper and RT I hadn't thought of the Zionist thing per se - and definitely don't want to be taking a political stance with my son's name, it was more about finding a Jewish name we liked.

Love lots of the other names suggested, especially Amos, which was also on our list. DH has vetoed lots of the more traditional biblical names, not sure why!

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 11:57:57

And thanks to everyone who said they liked it. I really love the name, but now just a bit worried about people thinking we're making some massive statement with it!

MrsBodger Fri 28-Sep-12 11:58:18

I seem to be in the minority here. I don't think I'd assume Jewishness in a little Noam, I think because I know so many little Noahs, Joshuas, Zacs, Judes etc who aren't Jewish.

Emsiero Fri 28-Sep-12 12:00:51

Have to go now, but thanks so much everyone for all your help and honesty. Am probably just getting generally jittery about everything as I approach due date!

NimChimpsky Fri 28-Sep-12 12:04:27


Lovely name. I think linguist but that's no bad thing.

campergirls Fri 28-Sep-12 12:14:01

No Alameda: because not all Jews in the diaspora are Zionists or endorse the state of Israel's actions, and many would not want to give their child a name that could be read as signalling such a position/endorsement.

I don't tbh think it's a huge risk, but I thought I'd mention it in case the OP found it helpful.

YouMayLogOut Fri 28-Sep-12 12:25:02

Quite a nice name, although I expect a lot of people will mishear it as Noah.

I thought "Chomsky" as well, because I've never heard of anyone else called Noam.

I didn't know it was a Jewish name.

Feckbox Fri 28-Sep-12 12:37:14

too much like, Moam, those chewy sweets

CheeseAndJamSandwich Fri 28-Sep-12 12:59:22

I would definitely assume Jewish ancestry, which you have, so no worries there. It's a lovely name.

I have Albanian relative called Noam and they Muslim so not Jewish at all to me!

delilah88 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:06:13

What does it mean?

ashleyscott Fri 28-Sep-12 13:18:38

No, I don't think it sounds Jewish, it's a lovely name and if you both like it that's the most important thing. It's not easy to find a name that you will both agree on...

dizzyday07 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:30:12

Perhaps it would come down to the circles you move in. I have never heard of Noam Chomsky [insert unworldy emoticom]

I have a Hebrew name (Leah) and have never been asked if it reflects my religion/heritage but then again I come from a line of red haired Scots!

tryingtoleave Fri 28-Sep-12 13:34:04

No more than Levi, or Seth, or Isaac, which all seem to have become generally popular. There were twin boys at my post natal exercise class called Reuben and Solomon, and they weren't even Jewish.

NimChimpsky Fri 28-Sep-12 13:34:59

It's not much like maoam.

Feckbox Fri 28-Sep-12 14:59:45

well it is to me if it's the very first word that popped into my head!

Feckbox Fri 28-Sep-12 15:00:26

and the second was gnome

Sorry just thought would read answers on this thread and thought what an idiot I am, relatives algerian.

They are quite vocal about the issues in Palestine and Isreal so I woudln't think they would have given their child a jewish name! But looks as though they have - means beautiful or good looking too.

LarkinSky Fri 28-Sep-12 19:27:27

I can't hear 'Noam' without my mind immediately adding 'Chomsky', but that's the only reference I have for the name.

whatinthewhatnow Fri 28-Sep-12 19:36:58

gnome. sorry. and then chomsky.

but not 'too jewish', no. so many jewish names are around, because often old testament names are beautiful. In fact I spent a quiet evening when pregnant looking through an old testament and writing all the names I saw down because I knew i wanted a good solid name for my boy.

Well, my first thought is my cousin who is called Noam! He is Jewish grin I think it's lovely, and I actually called my own ds Noah. So yes, I would think it was a Jewish name, but only because the only person I know with it is!

I think it's lovely.

Fiveweeksandcounting Sat 29-Sep-12 07:43:20

I would definitely consider it Jewish and would imagine the parents to be either Israeli or modern orthodox. I do like it though.

MummyOnTheLoose Sat 29-Sep-12 07:54:23

I thought of Chomsky- but apart from that, I think it's a lovely name. I'm Jewish, I came from Israel in fact, but DH isn't and my kids aren't, and I was a bit too afraid to name my kids names like this. I've got a Shoshannah, and I've got ordinary old testament names like Joshua. If I have another child, I'd love to give them a name liza Tzrafira or something.

OwedToAutumn Sat 29-Sep-12 07:59:05

I thought of Chomsky (but wouldn't necessarily think you were naming your son for him).

It does sound Jewish, but no more than loads of Old Testament names which are very popular ATM. (So not "too" Jewish.)

I didn't realise it was a Zionist name, although I'm guessing lots of Jewish people would.

It's a strong name, and I like it.

But if you have a problem with the Zionist aspect (ie, people thinking you are a Zionist, when you are not) then I can understand that that would be a deal breaker.

Emsiero Sat 29-Sep-12 09:01:49

mumyontheloose I love the name Shoshanah - it's one of my favourites girls' names. Were you afraid of giving more obviously Israeli/Jewish names because of fear of discrimination? I'm not sure exactly what's holding me back, or even why I want a Jewish name (neither me or my siblings or my parents have 'Jewish' names as their first name).

*autumn I don't think anyone was saying it actually is a Zionist name (if such a thing exists!) but it's just that it's a modern Israeli name, and apparently some people might interpret that as being a political statement.

Badgerina Sat 29-Sep-12 12:55:02

I really like it. I do think "Jewish" or "Jewish Heritage" but that's not a problem (since the latter is true).

Do you like Yotam?

whatinthewhatnow Sat 29-Sep-12 13:56:01

I love Natan and Oran too.

cynner Sat 29-Sep-12 14:13:48

I am Jewish,and a Zionist. Unfortunately, my thought bubble with Noam does not fly immediately to Chomsky, but to those evil little garden decos. If you love the name, use it. It would never occur to me to think of a name as being TOO Jewish before using it. Levi, Saul, Adam, Yoel, Duvid are some of my faves..

chaya5738 Sat 29-Sep-12 14:21:56

I really like it. It is also a girl's name.

I also like Natan and Nitai.

What about Nahum?

chaya5738 Sat 29-Sep-12 14:22:42

Also, I don't automatically think of Chomsky but that is because I know a lot of Noams anyway.

Emsiero Sat 29-Sep-12 17:36:35

Love some of the other suggestions here too - hope I have another DS one day so I can use them!
Okay, so Yotam - love it. The only one I knew of was Ottolenghi, and then the other day on the train, there was a Franco-Israeli family with four children and one of them was called Yotam, but I think actually it was one of the girls.
Nitai is lovely too, as is Oran.

Startailoforangeandgold Sat 29-Sep-12 18:04:11

Never heard of it and would, being a bit deaf, would turn it in to Noah.

Especially as the last cute baby I met was called that. In church, which was kind of appropriate.

whogivesaduck1 Sat 29-Sep-12 18:13:19

i have never hear of Noam Chomsky, or in fact the name Noam. i had absolutly no idea it was jewish, you could have said it was an arab name and i would have been none the wizer.

if i heard the name i would think that perhaps you liked noah, but spelt it wrong, or wanted noah but slightly different!

DilysPrice Sat 29-Sep-12 18:51:13

I think of Noam Chomsky - which makes any assumed association with Zionism very funny.

On an episode of Pointless recently they had a round of "What is the first name of that philosopher" and the contestants guessed that "N. Chomsky" was either Nigel or Nathaniel grin. AFAIK less than ten percent of the people polled could give the answer Noam. However, for people who have heard of him, his political views are extremely marmite, and you might well be assumed to have very strong anarcho-socialist anti-American views.

HecateHarshPants Sat 29-Sep-12 18:53:45

Never heard of it and no idea of it's origins. It's lovely, isn't it?

HecateHarshPants Sat 29-Sep-12 18:54:42

Oh, and never heard of this Chomsky person either, so no associations there either

BikeRunSki Sat 29-Sep-12 18:57:17

Did immediately think of Noam Chomsky,, don't think it is too Jewish, do think he will spend his whole life correcting people that it it's not Noah, whoever you pronounce it.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Sat 29-Sep-12 19:04:40

My English, non religious son has a very Jewish sounding first name and a very Irish sounding surname, I think they cancel each other out.

nkf Sat 29-Sep-12 19:06:18

I don't know about too Jewish but certainly totally Jewish. I know a Noam and I do think Chomsky. Might be interesting with an English surname. Sorry for utterly useless post. Congratulations.

PropositionJoe Sun 30-Sep-12 11:35:46

Is it Solomon Grundy??

EmmyFlavs Wed 08-May-13 16:59:23

Nothing remotely Jewish about Naom Chomsky, he is an anti zionist and you only have to see the association between himself and Prof Norman Finkelstein to see that!!

I love Naom, and I believe if we met, he would love me too!!

Emma 4 Naom 4 ever

Incidentally ''The Holocaust Industry' By Finkelstein is a good read, it was the thesis for his PHD that he couldnt get signed off for 12 years, until he got a call from Chomsky at MIT who said ' I have read your Thesis, and its sounds about right to me'' A real eye opener of a book. Finkelstein is the son of Holocaust survivors, and yet still the zionists call him anti semitic!!!

Caladria Wed 08-May-13 17:07:23

Love the name.

EmmyFlavs Wed 08-May-13 17:09:15

Incidentally Naom is of Jewish descent, which is why we could never be together, sadly!!! He is an anti zionist Jew, who should have fathered my children.

ZZZenagain Wed 08-May-13 17:19:12

If you hadn't put the word Jewish in your title, I wouldn't even have thought of it being a Jewish name tbh. If you had just asked, "what do you think of when you hear the name Noam", I wouldn't have made any connection with Judaism, Israel or Zionism.

I like it - pronounced as you plan to pronounce it with two syllables (no-am).

slhilly Wed 08-May-13 17:23:41

EmmyFlavs, you're writing in a light-hearted style but you're saying some things that look pretty inflammatory, to put it mildly. And one of them appears (*appears*) to be racist: "Incidentally Naom is of Jewish descent, which is why we could never be together, sadly!!!"

Why would someone's religion mean you could never be together with them? Is there a non-racist explanation for this? I'm struggling to think what it could be.

Zipitydooda Wed 08-May-13 17:29:10

I would think Israeli family rather than Jewish specifically.

Do you know that there is a Jewish Youth Movement called Noam?Round my way people would think he was named after a youth club.

Lovely name - like the sound and the look of it.

EmmyFlavs Wed 08-May-13 19:34:47

we could never be together 'sadly' because my Mother is Catholic and wouldn't approve...Dont bring the racist card to me please, I am a HUGE fan of Chomsky, and you read wayyyyy too much into my 'lighthearted' post...I mean with respect, the fact that I read not only Chomsky's work particularly regarding his activism against zionism, but I also read the work of his proteges !!

thermalsinapril Wed 08-May-13 19:41:57

Thread is from last year so baby will be named by now. Wonder what OP decided smile

Shallishanti Wed 08-May-13 19:44:19

I would think Chomsky, primarily for the language stuff, it would take me a while to get to 'jewish' and I certainly wouldn't think Zionist. Depending on your background, it's an unusual name so I would think you were admirers of him and hence his politics. Unless you were obviously Jewish and then I would think ''s a jewish name' but then I am a bit slow with those kinds of things!

KittenofDoom Wed 08-May-13 19:50:30

Who's Naom? I thought the name under discussion was Noam.

lovemybabyboy Wed 08-May-13 20:33:25

I never heard the name before so wouldn't have thought its very Jewish from hearing the name....I like it, if you both like it just go for it.

slhilly Wed 08-May-13 20:51:49

I wrote appear deliberately. It's a public forum and you stated something pretty shocking in a lighthearted way. I wasn't going to let it just hang out there, without pushing to get more context. Without that context, it reads extremely uncomfortably.

Reading, or even approving of, the work of Chomsky and his proteges does not make a person incapable of prejudice. We are all capable of prejudice. Creating groups and lumping everyone in together within those groups and treating them as if they act as one.

EmmyFlavs Thu 09-May-13 00:17:37

Oh for gods sake, stop trying to create a racist when there isnt one....Its pathetic.

burberryqueen Thu 09-May-13 00:33:28

if i heard this name i would think the family were Israeli or intellectuals or both. Also could you bear to have a son called 'gnome' - wouldnt that really get on your nerves after a while, having to correct people all the time?

raisah Thu 09-May-13 01:27:18

How Zakariah nn Zak, its a very well known old testament name which has become mainstream. Lots of people from different cultural/religious backgrounds use the name so its not seen as too Jewish.

LittleMissLucy Thu 09-May-13 03:25:59

There is no such thing as being too Jewish a name, as far as I can see.
Its a lovely name.
Be prepared for people to stumble and mis-prounounce it "Noah" frequently though.
I think if you like it, go for it.
My DH wanted to name our DS1 Cael (pronounced cale) and where we live, the vegetable, KALE is a big salad option so I'm glad we didn't, but if it had been a name we both loved I'd have done it.

piprabbit Thu 09-May-13 03:38:56

First thought Chomsky.

Second thought - child will be know as Garden Noam at school.

Littlehousesomewhere Thu 09-May-13 09:19:46

I have never heard if Noam before. And if I heard it I would think that the parents were from a different culture. It does sound very similar to Noah the way I imagine it pronounced, so maybe Noah is less Jewish sounding?

KittenofDoom Thu 09-May-13 12:01:50

Zombie thread

Scruffey Thu 09-May-13 12:11:43

Never heard of it and would think it was a typo for Noah if I saw it written down. Would not even have made a Jewish connection!

Shallishanti Thu 09-May-13 18:13:48

Noah less Jewish???

specialmagiclady Fri 10-May-13 09:58:48

I think it's a beautiful name. Cousin Il married an Israeli and has 4 boys with Israeli names - one is Naom and I like it best of them all. But I can see why you don't want to holler JEWISH if you are (as my husband says, quoting a comedian) "only Jew-ish" And married pitWe are a Scottish/Jewish couple and we didn't want a Jock or a Moishe.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 10:06:02

It definitely sounds "Jewish statement" to me. Our Jewish DC have neutral names as they are atheist and assimilated but we know plenty of families who want to proclaim their heritage and/or their faith by giving their DC Jewish names - Ariel, Zachary, Eden, Tsiporah, etc

everlong Fri 10-May-13 10:34:51

Did think of Chomsky but I like it. A lot.

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