Here’s one fact that maybe you didn’t know about aliyah: it’s an incredibly popular baby name in the U.S.
Since this blog is dedicated to covering All Things Aliyah, I thought I’d explore this phenomenon. Maybe I’ll inspire someone to choose the name for their baby!
In the year 2011, “Aliyah” was actually the 133rd most popular name in the U.S. It beat out far more common and predictable names, like – um – Jennifer. And also classics like Mckenzie, Haley, Michelle and Stephanie.
Here’s the name Aliyah in Hebrew letters:
When writing it without vowels, people often include two lettter “yuds,” like this:
The Hebrew meaning of the name is absolutely beautiful. It means “going up,” “ascent” or “rising” (though here in Israel, this could refer to a spiritual ascent or just gas prices!).
The main meaning of the word, for Jews all over the world is the “going up” involved in moving to the Land of Israel. Which is, in fact, what this blog is all about. A secondary meaning is “going up” for an honour in the synagogue, such as when people are called to read from the Torah.
But mainly, those are not the reason that people are giving the name Aliyah and related names to their babies in record numbers.
Most people are still naming their babies in tribute to the dead superstar singer Aaliyah Dana Houghton, better known just as Aaliyah (with two A’s at the beginning).
But now that it has been a few years since her death, many more people are picking the name simply for its beautiful sound or meaning.
This is a name with quite a few variants. Some other common variations are Aliya, without the H on the end, Aleah, and the Hawaiian Alia, who apparently was a princess, and which means “great joy.”