Judith–Yehudit – What’s In A Name?

The name Judith is closely related to Jewish tradition, and choosing this name for a daughter indicates the parents’ faith.

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Hebrew Names
Painting of Heroine Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori 1613 - public domain

The literal meaning of the name Yehudit is a woman belonging to the Jewish people. “Jew” – Yehudi, is derived from the name Judah (Yehuda) son of Jacob, who became the leader of the tribes of Israel.

The name Judith originates from the Bible. Judith was one of Esau’s wives: “And Esau was forty years old, and he took as his wife Judith [Yehudit] the daughter of Bari the Hittite” (Genesis 26).

The word Yehudit also appears in the Book of Kings where it means the language of the Judeans/Jews: “And do not speak with us, ‘Jewish,’ [Yehudit] in the ears of the people who are on the wall.” (2 Kings 18:26)

A Great Heroine: Yehudit is also the name of a heroine during the Persian Empire, whose story is described in the Book of Judith (part of the Biblical apocrypha). The Book of Judith introduces us to a widowed Jewish woman known for her beauty and righteousness. She is very wealthy, yet leads a simple lifestyle. The days are the days of the Persian kingdom. The Assyrian army lays siege to the Jewish city of “Batulia” in Samaria, which refuses to surrender to him. When the siege starts having its effect, and hunger and thirst increase, the city leaders decide to surrender. At this point, Judith appears, rebukes them and decides to go to the enemy’s camp accompanied by her maid. There she meets Holophornes, head of the Assyrian army. With her great wisdom and excellent rhetorical ability, convinces him that she is running away from her Jewish brethren and that soon the city will fall to him. She stays four days in the enemy camp, and maintains her modesty and purity. On the fourth day, when Holophornes already believes her and desires her beauty, he falls asleep drinking wine. Judith takes his sword, removes his head and returns to the Israeli camp. Thus she saves the city. Judith becomes a hero, and a whole book is dedicated to her.

The name Judith is closely related to Jewish tradition, and choosing this name for a daughter indicates the parents’ faith. Parents who choose this name for their daughter often want to express their connection to the Jewish people and the importance they attach to this fact. The name symbolizes values of holiness, rootedness, continuity, faith, courage and leadership. And how surprising that this name is common among non-Jewish peoples.

Yehudit, Judith. Unlike many names in Hebrew that can be given to both boys and girls, the name Yehudit is uniquely for girls.

Famous women with this name:

Yehudit Ravitz is a famous singer in Israel.

Judy Nir-Moses is an Israeli media woman, TV host and journalist, who owns the well-known daily newspaper in Israel “Yediot Ahronoth”. Judy is named after her grandfather, the media man “Yehuda Moses

And right here at Israel Today, Judith Jeries has been working with us for many years and is the editor-in-chief of the German magazine.

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