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Help for boys name please!

(28 Posts)

Right so even before I got pg me and DH decided on Cohen for a boy. Since then FIL informed us that this can be seen as insulting to orthodox jews as it is traditionally a surname. So we re-thought it and decided to change the spelling to Cohan. Which from my research is no longer insulting. Well MIL keeps going on at DH that it could cause problems, blah, blah, blah. So DH asked today if I would've happy with Coen. Which sounds the same but is the Dutch version of Conrad (I believe). But I can't help feeling this is yet another compromise and I would prefer to change the whole name. (sorry I didn't mean this to get this long)

So today we've come up with a short list of:

Johan (DH is half Swedish so this is a good option I think)

And I would like to know what you all think of these (and the Cohen debacle) please.

and please be gentle I'm 35 wks pregnant grin

amazingmumof6 Fri 09-Nov-12 15:53:44

relax. breathe in, breathe out. have a hot chocolate. all better?

go for Cohen if you both like it, its your baby! in-laws should butt out, they sound like right old interfering busybodies, so nip it in the bud or they will end up breastfeeding baby , choosing his/her school and friends. sorry, if I'm harsh, but they should respect your opinion!

I actually love Cohen! I love Jewish/Hebrew names and their beautiful meanings and all our kids have bible names! I can not see how any Jewish people would be offended - how many Davids are there? I haven't seen anyone protesting about the popularity of the name of the little boy come hero come king! end of that debate!

if too much stress you could choose it for a second name

Thank you. I would love to still use Cohen but have a feeling DH is really against it now sad I did tell him that it's none of their business but they've done enough by sowing the seeds of doubt in his mind I think.

Middle name will be my DHs name and can't do 2 as we have a long double barrelled surname so the poor thing would never learn all it's names.

Thanks again, I am much calmer about it now.

amazingmumof6 Fri 09-Nov-12 16:35:04

you are welcome.

another tactic is to drop the subject now and bring it up as you are in labour and make him swear you can have any name you want.
probably won't work, but worth are try?

or save it for 2nd son... or if it's a girl name it

I love it so much, seriously, it's just brilliant!

Love Ethan best out of others. Could try Jonah?

Gwennan Fri 09-Nov-12 16:39:24

Do NOT name your son Cohen.

Read this blog post and the ensuing comments:

It also has some great suggestions:


HelenHey Fri 09-Nov-12 16:44:02




gwennan I can't see that link as on phone.

amazing there will be no more babies lol

amazingmumof6 Fri 09-Nov-12 17:16:37

I read some comments on the blog you suggested - not convinced!

I liked the sound of Jezabel, not being English I knew nothing about it, I thought it was a version of Isabel!
Mentioned my idea to MIL who nearly fainted and made feel really bad telling me off how I could even think of such an awful name!

I was baffled, I thought it sounded pretty. Then she explained that in the Bible there were 2 Jezabels mentioned, one's a witch and one's a whore and it is common knowledge that the name became to mean a mixture of the 2 and referring to someone as a Jezabel means that she is evil, immoral, nasty etc.

Of course I didn't choose it, and you don't want to offend either, my question is who says it's offensive?

Are Jewish babies allowed to be named Cohen?

I know Christians named Ali (nickname or otherwise) is that offensive to followers of the Islam? (I think it's Persian or Arabic)

No one would name their kid Adolf, but Mussolini's first name was Benito and that didn't die out!

I want to know who says Cohen is offensive and why.

VintageRainBoots Fri 09-Nov-12 17:18:43

I would definitely avoid Cohen, Kohen, Cohn, Cohan, etc.

Johan is quite nice, though. I like it a lot.

borisjohnsonshair Fri 09-Nov-12 17:19:06



amazing from what FIL said orthodox Jews believe it should never be used as a first name. But I never looked into it personally (and can't access the link) so I'm not sure.

boris those names really aren't my thing, but thanks for the suggestions!

hatebeak Fri 09-Nov-12 17:29:26

I think your inlaws have been annoying and should probably keep out of it, but I do think that Cohen could potentially be seen as an insensitive act of cultural appropriation and is best avoided. Also, I know lots of surnames are used as first names and that's fine, changing usages etc, but I think I'm right in saying no Jewish child would be called Cohen. It just looks a bit odd.
Coen, if it's a short Dutch form of Conrad, seems like a reasonable compromise to me. I can see why you might want a fresh start, though - I like Ethan best from your list, then Johan. Or how about Arlo or Rowan?

Although from what DH worked out it was only with the spelling COHEN, the others were fine.

amazingmumof6 Fri 09-Nov-12 17:57:41

I'd never name my child Jesus, but my oldest is Joshua which is another word for Jesus.
And Spanish speakers use it all over the world.

Equally Jewish people would never name a son after his father who is alive (I think it may also be extended to close relatives also, not sure), but how many families do you know where there are 3 generations on Peter or John or Andy together?

There are so many stupid names around, although not actually offensive, they should be banned.

Are there any other names that are forbidden/offensive in any way, Jewish or otherwise?
Is there book of "Offensive Baby Names - do not try this at home!"?

Maybe best avoided then altogether, baby should have a happy name!
Name him Isaac it means laughter!

Fluffyfish Fri 09-Nov-12 18:02:35

As a non orthodox Jew I wouldn't be offended but I would think it weird.

fluffy why would it be weird? completely dense over here, but I haven't yet worked out why it's offensive/weird

VintageRainBoots Fri 09-Nov-12 18:24:19

I'm Jewish, and it's weird to me, too. A "cohen" serves a special place as priests in Jewish tradition. It's something you inherit from your father; you inherit his blood, his surname (in this case, Cohen), and for these special priests, you inherit a certain religious birthright. For these reasons, Cohen is much more than a name. It's also symbolic.

To give a boy whose father is not a Cohen the name Cohen is plain weird.

It's like calling your child "Oxbridge Graduate" or "Doctor" or "Nobel Laureate" except that there's no possible way for the kid to ever grow up and become these things. For example, if you named your son "HRH the Prince of Wales" and he wasn't royalty (and could never become royalty)'s weird.

vintage thank you for explaining that, now I understand it a bit better smile

amazingmumof6 Fri 09-Nov-12 18:55:11

vintage thanks for explaining it. that makes sense! so it's not offensive as such, but just unreasonable.

Another question, just out of interest are Cohens (priests) come from the line/tribe of Levi (Jacob's son, high priest), is that where the tradition come from?

Allalonenow Fri 09-Nov-12 19:13:36

I would choose Johan, it is interesting, and unusual in UK so there will not be two or three others in his class, but it is not contrived as I feel Riley to be.

Fluffyfish Fri 09-Nov-12 19:19:06

Phew so pleased vintage explained it better than I would.

But also to me it would be like having no Irish roots but calling your child Saiorse.

Ah fluffy you were let off the hook! smile

I do like Johan. smile

doctordwt Fri 09-Nov-12 20:02:36

Johan is lovely OP. I'd go for that

PrunellaDeVille Fri 09-Nov-12 21:03:51

stacey love Johan especially as you're DH has the regional connection.

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