I was reading a post by Orthomom when I got this idea because frankly I didn’t agree with most of her post.
To continue with the theme of judging people in ridiculous ways I have decided to give people a guide on how to judge folks based on their first names or the way they pronounce and spell them.
Pretty much all Chasidim add a LA or an EL to end of names so one may come up with names such as Yankela, Chayala, Chavala, Avramel, Yankel, Yeedel, Hershela, Frumela, Sprintala or Sprintzel, Devorala, Mittel, Rivkala, Raizel, Nechamala, Duvidal. Basically if you find any of those names you can be sure that you will not be out of line to set up a sit in and get married in 3 days. Other chasidish names that tend to cross over with the right wing yeshivish black hat crowd will tend to end in an EE sound or an A and will be uncommon to you unless you have spent time in Boro-Park, Monsey or Lakewood. These common names that tend to get the crossover are Shimmie, Lipa, Blimi, Frumi, Devory, Yitty, Motty, Zalmy, Heshy, Rifky, Sheindy, Breindy, Leiby, Yanky, Sprintza, Deeni, Chesky, Fruma, Chumy, Blima, Duvi.
Once you get to the normal yeshiva crowd it becomes much simpler. Basically the right wing yeshivish crowd will use some of the names above, primarily if they are the types to wear peyos behind their ears, the extra shiny black velvet yarmulkes or the women wear those mid length black suits and jackets all the time. The normal Yeshiva crowd as I was saying will use two names or sometimes even three. For some reason they have never gotten clever with the names and therefore I can list many of the more trendy name combinations including: Devorah Leah, Chaim Eliezer, Chana Leah, Adena Leah, Rivka Leah, Rochel Leah- boy they love that name Leah right in the middle I guess cause she sucker punched Yaakov with the whole Rochel deal. Shmuel Shlomo, Shlomo Zalman, Yaakov Yosef, Yitzchok Yosef, Avraham Tzvi, Yisroel Mayer, Yechezkel Aaron, Chana Deena, Chaim Dovid, Chaim Mordichai, Levi Yitzchok, Zehava Bracha, Sarah Bracha. I am sure many more but those are ones that come to mind instantly based on the fact that everyone has them.
As you go down the list the names get shorter and easier to pronounce which makes it easier to judge people based on their names. You see someone with a name like Josh surely cannot be as frum as someone with a name like Breindel. Its simple math, you see the frummer people are the more isolated from society they want to be and the more afraid they are of assimilation so they have to give their kids the weirdest sounding names possible. Kind of like black people, the more ghetto they be, the weirder the name. Like Latoya aint as ghetto as say Uneek or Cash-Money(two names always copying the Jews). So you see names are perfect for judging peoples character. If you were really frum you would have a name that Jews could only understand, since you wouldn’t G-d forbid have to interact with the goyim GASP.
So as you go down the line in frumkeit because after all frumkeit is hierarchical. You come to the yeshivish people that do not represent their people and only go by one fairly easy to pronounce name. Esther, Sarah, Aaron, Dovid, Kalman, Ari, Shayna, Shoshana, Mendel. Obviously they cant be as frum because they have chosen to become one step closer to the goyim by letting them understand their names and in some cases even use them. After all Madonna is Esther now, what a hoshanda.
In the realm of Modern Orthodoxy the name theory gets thrashed around like the spin cycle of laundry. It doesn’t match up to all the theories since the latest craze in the world of the kippa sruga, YU and blogging has been to name your kids with woerd sounding Israeli names, so Ayelet, Surit, Ariel, Omry, Matanatya and anything else that has more then three syllables is becoming the mainstay in this group. Kind of like Madison was one of the more popular names for rich white people who go to country clubs that don’t let blacks or Jews become members. So now we must revisit the fact that the pronounciation of names leads to frumkeit, because how can someone who wears a knit yarmulke and goes to movies be as frum as a streimel wearing chossid, exactly, it cant be. Or maybe we will just have the rule that since it sounds Israeli it is like they are assimilating into secular Israeli ideas which may be as bad or worse then assimilating in with American culture and ideals. But within the modern community there also exist people with normal names that are similar to those of the more frum crowds. It is not uncommon to find a Yechiel, Tzvi or Chaya in a modern setting, making it problematic for those who base all their judging on what someone’s name is. It gets so problematic that they start to actually judge by other aspects such as peyos length, yarmulke style and how brown their tzitzis is to see if they are daily wearers.
Then of course you have those who have English names a big no-no in many frummy families. Usually frummies will pick for business purposes a secular name to be used for deals such as Chaim converts to Charlie or Yehoshua to Josh. Bt many of the fine folks who have English names do use them on a regular basis making it way easier for those who need to judge them. Whether it is approving someone for a mortgage or making a shidduch for them, one can tell immediately of the persons character based on the fact they even have a secular name. Of course there are secular names that are sort of Jewish which will prove to make the judgment favorable. Some of these names may include, Josh, David, Sarah, Jessica, Mike, you know nothing too fancy. But then if someone has name like John, Paul, Ringo, George, Peter, Heather, Michelle, Chrissie, Patty, Jennifer, well then that may be problematic. The judging party may wonder why in fact you have been named a Christian name or are named after a saint. I actually have a name that was saint if you must know.
Then in the even less frum circles you have people that go only by their English names and only use their Hebrew names when called up to the Torah. Hmm the judger may say, I wonder if that person is religious since they never use their Hebrew name? And the judging continues on down the line until you get to folks who literally go into the book of names for whatever year that may be and pick out the most popular. So Madison Rabinowitz may be some girls name and oy vey that means she will never find a shidduch and people may thing she was a BT and that doesn’t look good on her resume and oy vey we must convince everyone to use the frummest names of Blimi, Fruma, Yankele and Chumi.
On a side note one of my best friends has a sister that named her son Maccabee-Montana.