Baby's name is offensive?!

Krista - posted on 05/10/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I have a six month old named Cohen. I like the sound of surnames as first names, found it on a baby names site, and loved it. I was just doing a search online to see if the popularity of the name has increased, since I keep seeing it show up in the baby announcements in the newspaper. As I was searching, I came across some discussions on baby name forums in which Jewish people were claiming that it is offensive to their religion to name a child Cohen, because a 'Cohen' is a highly respected biblical figure. I knew that Cohen was a Jewish surname, but had no idea that it would be offensive to anyone! I still love the name and don't regret using it, but does anyone share the views that the name is in poor taste?

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Gabrielle - posted on 05/13/2009

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I'm Jewish, though not very practicing, but I think I can tell you why *some* Jews may find it offensive. It's not a first name, like Noah, but a last name (as you said), indicating that a person belongs to the Cohen lineage, from the Levite tribe of Israelites. The reason a Cohen would be a respected figure dates from the time when the Hebrews had priests, and those priests were Cohens. Even today, there are still some rituals that require a Cohen. So, some people might think you were trivializing the name/lineage/rituals, especially since this is different than a Catholic naming their child Jesus - you're not Jewish. But most Jews will likely not have a problem. I certainly don't and I think it makes a very nice first name.

Joanne - posted on 05/26/2011

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Yes, this name indicates that a person belongs to the Cohen lineage - when it is a surname! Can people come up with anything else to be offended about. There are real problems in the world that all this effort should be used to resolve. I say stop looking for problems where there are none. It's a lovely name. Enjoy it!

Jeanne - posted on 05/16/2009

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I don't deem it offensive but if you search long and hard enough there is always someone who will have something negative to say about any name you may chose for your child. I gave my dauther a Native American name to celebrate my Metis heritage and my employers at the time (Italians from the old country) told me I was crazy and that I was giving her a boy's name....well I stuck to my guns and gave her the name I fell in love with Natane (pronounced Nah-Tah-Neh which is Arapaho and means daughter) and I figured she could shorten it to Nat if she so choses as she gets older. If you like the name I wouldn't worry about it to much.

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Doesn't bother me one bit ;-) But like someone else noted above, it's a last name. For me, it's just unusual as a first name. But I'm not offended in the least. Cohen is the Jewish equivalent to Smith in a lot of cities with a large Jewish population! I think we had 5-6 pages of Cohen

Alecia - posted on 05/26/2011

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my 20 mnth old daughter's name is Riley and the other day an older man came up and said she was beautiful. we said thanks and told him her name and he said "what a beautiful boy's name" my hubby said "well she's a girl". eh, ppl can say/think what they want cuz u cant please everyone. in my opinion Riley (or Rylee) makes a better girls name than a boys, and i think Cohen makes a nice first name. its ur baby and i wouldnt worry about offending anyone

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/26/2011

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Mexicans are known to use Jesus (pronounced "hey seus/zeus") as names. I hate it, but they use it. My BIL middle name is Jesus. Different cultures, different names. Tolerance is the key. You are not going to make everyone happy. Tough titties.

JuLeah - posted on 05/26/2011

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Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed to be of direct descent of Aaron.

I am not offended you wish to use the name for your child.

And, more to your issue, do you really think you are going to pick a name that doesn't offend anyone?

QuShanta - posted on 05/26/2011

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U have up until the first birthday to change his name if u like but I wouldn't its ur child he is going to continue to get the love from u this world n what others think don't count how u feel does

QuShanta - posted on 05/26/2011

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U have up until the first birthday to change his name if u like but I wouldn't its ur child he is going to continue to get the love from u this world n what others think don't count how u feel does

Karen - posted on 05/17/2009

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Hi Krista, You should just ignore what those people say. If you like that name you might say that you want him to be a highly respected figure also and that you would be pleased if he turned out to be a good man. People name their kids hoping what they will become.

Krista - posted on 05/15/2009

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Thanks for your comments! I love the name, I think it suits my little man perfectly, and even if it offends the odd person, I'm not going to feel badly about it! I was curious, though, how many people might find it offensive. Thanks for rationalizing things for me!

Karen - posted on 05/13/2009

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I like the name Cohen. I have a nephew named Gabriel. As Keisha said, there are many Marys and Ruths- Mohammeds, Elijahs, Noahs etc. So, I wouldn't worry about what other people think. It's your baby and if you're happy with the name you chose then that's all that matters. By the way Krista, your baby is adorable! ;o)

?? - posted on 05/13/2009

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People take some things too personally. I don't mean you Krista, I mean those people being offended by something that is completely irrelivent to their lives such as the name of a child of someone that they don't know.



Naming your child God or Satan, would be pretty out there, but there are many Jesus' out there. My sons name is Gabriel, the most prominent angel name in the Bible, and "the messenger of God" by any definitions. I didn't name him for that reason exactly, we chose that name for our own variation of that meaning of his name. There are many Gabriels, Daniels, Lukes, Michaels, Raphaels... not to mention the thousands of names that are used in all sorts of cultures that are saints, angels, gods, godesses, etc etc etc.......



It's definitely not in bad taste to name your child a name that you like, if people have a personal/religious reason for not liking a name then they don't have to name their children that. And if they are going to go as far as to be offended by a childs name, they need to address their own issues and that certainly isn't on your shoulders.

Laureen - posted on 05/13/2009

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That's an adorable name! As long as your happy with it, don't worry about it. If everyone NEVER chose a biblical name (or any religious name) then everyone would go around well probably being called hey you. So many names have some religious names used without any thinking anything about it. Don't worry yourself. Its a very cute name for what looks to be an adorable baby boy.

Teri - posted on 05/13/2009

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Don't let others opinions or advise steer you away from what you want to do. Some people will find offense in the smallest of things. Cohen, I love it too! It is in no way poor taste.

Keisha - posted on 05/13/2009

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No that's not in poor taste. I'm not Jewish, but I wouldnt worry about that if I were you. There are plenty of men named Jesus, Joseph, Noah, Elijah, Mohammed and women named Mary, Ruth, etc.....I wouldnt even worry about it...I like the name Cohen.

Inga - posted on 05/10/2009

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He's cute... everyone has an opinion and some are easily offended. Your intentions were not purposely offensive. Don't worry about it. I have a harder time w/ the family that named their child Eamnon which is No Name spelled backwards because they couldn't come up with a name!

Dawn - posted on 05/10/2009

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No! I'm not Jewish though. I really wouldn't worry too much about it. Seriously. I mean, I have used primarily Biblical names for my kids--Josiah & Lydia...Ayla isn't biblical, but it is of Hebrew origin. Does that mean that I am being offensive to Hindus or Muslims? I don't know...it wasn't my intent. Just love your little one and don't worry about it! After all, isn't it NICE to name someone after something good?

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