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My last name is Cohen. I say go for it. In America today it's no different than naming your kid McKenzie or Taylor or Levi (another Jewish name that means a priest's assistant or deacon. I don't meet too many kids with the first name Cohen, but when I do, I'm honored. Of course, my dog's name is Chang— he came with the name, so consider the source.)
We named our son Cohen in 2007, solely after Leonard Cohen. I was a senior at UT-Austin and had discovered him a few years before. I have never had to explain his name to anyone, but I do tell people who he’s named after. I know plenty of Jews and not one has ever said anything about his name. Honestly, reading the comments here is the first time I have heard that his name could be offensive.
My conclusion based on these comments: If you insist on naming your child after an utterly Jewish surname, be prepared to explain yourself a thousand times. Regarding Cohen as a first name, there is apparently nothing else to comment on besides the fact that it's controversial. I'm curious to see a comment from an adult Cohen who actually lived with the name.
Also, I find it a bit ironic that people who name their kids after surnames of people in pop culture, and clearly don't care about meaning, would come to this site to complain about people talking about a name's meaning.
The things we as Americans become offended about. Too sensitive to say the very least. I know no one named Cohen but have seen so many ridiculous posts about cultural appropriation on Babycenter. Com.
Where are all of these so called Jewish people who seem to be so highly offended? All I see are people willing to jump on the train of cultural appropriation and go against the usage of this name. I guess though since I'm not Christian it would be wrong for me to name my child a biblical name?
Cultural appropriation is a joke in and of itself. With this logic, considering I'm African American, corn rows seem to predominantly be found on an African American's head but does that mean a person of another origin may not use it simply because it's so called "stealing from a culture?"
I end in: The sensitivity is ridiculous. Name your kid as you please.
― Anonymous User
Puleeze, those commenting on how offensive this name is to Jews. Get over yourselves. You do not have a lock on these five letters in this order. My beautiful grandson is named Cohen and we could give a flying flip what anyone thinks of his name. We did not get the memo before he was named and now that he is named, we are happy with both him and his name. If you would judge a human being by his name, you are not really a decent human being.
Cohen is a great name! Has no religious meaning to me at all. I am not Jewish, I don't know any Jews... in fact, I know more Cohen's than Jews.
― Anonymous User
I named my beautiful son Cohen in October of 1998 because my childhood sweetheart had a dog named Cohen, the dog was named after everyone drew names out of a hat, his aunt Deb had a sweetheart that had the last name Cohen, so I just thought the cycle of love would continue with me naming my baby Cohen Wesley and if anyone is offended at any child being named this well, you are also a child!
We chose the name Cohen for our beautiful son born on lucky Friday 13th 2014. We chose the name due to its Gaelic heritage and him being a fine Irish boy. To us it is a beautiful name and nothing more... I wouldn't like for it to be linked to the fabricated of state of Israel in any way shape or form.
Wow, I named my son Cohen because there was simply no other name that came to me for him. Knowing that names are important in the Bible, I asked God what I should name my son and Cohen is the name I felt He chose. I know it is deeply connected to the Biblical priesthood and I thought it was a great honor for my son to bear that name. I never thought twice about Jewish people being offended or confused by it. I was proud and I still am. Our Messiah, Jesus, is described as our high priest in the Bible so again, I am proud for my son to carry the priestly name, whether he is of Hebrew descent or not.
I'm encouraged that there are several other people who have chosen to name their sons Cohen. It's a beautiful name with a rich history.
Some people are unbelievable. To say people would be offended. What right do they have to decide.
I named my son Cohen because I liked the name. If I wanted to call him priest or jesus or john I would've.
I also named my other son a popular Spanish name. I have no idea what religion people might be with that name nor do I care. It's not something I look into.
I have always liked surnames for first names and that is why I named him Cohen. Plus I loved Leonard Cohen. And there was an NBA player listed on some sports websites who wasn't a Jew.
I couldn't imagine my son being anything else.
If I have offended any Jew then I am deeply sorry.
But I have no idea when I will know someone is a Jew or not. Because in my eyes, we are all the same and should be treated the same. No matter what our skin colour or name is.
I have a friend that is muslim and I was going to name my son after him, now do you think my friend would have been offended or honoured?
― Anonymous User
I have come to a conclusion... as a second name Cohen means priest in Jewish.
But as a first name it means... amazing child.
― Anonymous User
I named my son Cohen in 2008.
I fell in love with the name after the popular show called 'the O.C'.
I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks of it. Or any other religion. Some of these comments make me laugh. I love my little Cohen and couldn't imagine him being called anything else.
Anyone who is offended by a name is a ridiculous human being! I named my son Cohen due to the fact my favourite song was written by Leonard Cohen and also due to the fact I like the name! As an atheist I do not worry myself with offending religious people regardless of their faith and If I liked the name I would have had no problem with calling my child Mohammed! If a religious person is offended by my son's name then that is unfortunately their problem. Offense is 'taken' and not 'given' especially if it is not intended to offend anyone! It is therefore the problem of the person who is offended to worry about! Each to their own in my opinion and if anyone says to my son that his name is offensive then I will tell him to treat it with the complete lack of concern it deserves!
I believe that those who have protested against this name's use have a point: it's not only weird, it can be taken as offensive. Seeing as people take offense at anything these days, why would one bestow this on their child? Even if you think you could deal with it, there's no way to know how your son will cope with potential harassment. Yes, it has a nice sound, I agree- but is it really worth it?
― Anonymous User
I really like this name, I think it has kind of a bad ass sound to it, I would consider using it.
Was aware that Cohen was a Jewish surname before we chose it as our sons name. We decided on Cohen because we both love Leonard Cohens music. As I'm agnostic, I could care less about the religious meaning of the name.
It's a name people, it belongs to nobody so build a bridge and get over it. Just because a religion has a priest associated to the name doesn't make it forbidden. What is a Jew? Who is a Jew? Anything or anybody who practices that religion.
I've noticed Cohen's rising popularity and as a given name. Originally, I was weirded out by this. Why would people want to name their kids a common Jewish surname? Then I realized that not only did it appear in pop-culture, but it has this "unique", trendy appeal: It's a firm, 2-syllable name with a long vowel as the first syllable, and ending in "-en". Similar names of this manner would be Caden, Coltan, Logan, Brayden, and Mason. Also, it's something... different. Ok, I get it. I'm not offended.
While the meaning is merely "high priest of ancient Israel", it's also understandable why many people would not be turned away by its meaning. However, understand that the meaning is much deeper than this to the Jewish community, as the Messiah is believed to be a descendant of the Kohenim lineage. If this deeper meaning seems "cool" to you, then understand that the offense to using this name would be like a non-Muslim baby being named Mohammad just because of the way it "sounds", or an Atheist naming their child Jesus.
If you name your child Cohen, Jews will know you're not Jewish because Jews would not use this name (as it is a title, not a given name). Even secular Jews wouldn't use it since it's such a common surname. I understand if you live in an area with no Jewish community in sight, then why should you worry? Well, many people may be very confused by this. Your child may even experience anti-Semitism, even though he isn't Jewish.
I also don't recommend common surnames as being used as first names in general (unless it is also a common given name). Overall, this name will lead to much confusion (and some offense). An alternative is the Dutch name Koen, which has a different meaning all together.
Among Jews, this name would be rather sacrilegious to use, especially if you are not a Cohen and most of all if you are not Jewish. I cannot believe how ignorant some people are who use this name.
― Anonymous User
I agree. Jews DO NOT use this name. Cohen is incredibly offensive, tacky, and ridiculous. Since it's associated with Kohanim Jews, it's like naming your child Priest. Cohen is yet another name that popular culture has influenced parents to use, although it's not a good association. I'd rather see Bronx Mowgli or Egypt Dean. That is why Cohen is a bad name. There are plenty of other names out there.
Oh, wow. You don't ever want to try to justify this name on a non-Jewish child to some people. Such a contentious issue.
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