|Girls named Yentl||Boys named Avigdor|
Because both were featured in the 1983 musical film Yentl, which starred Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin as students (Yentl and Avigdor) at a Jewish religious school in Poland in the early 1900s. Only males could attend the school, so Yentl had to dress and live as a young man, “Anshel,” in order to receive an education.
The film was based on a 1975 play which was, in turn, based on the short story “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy” (1963) by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
What do these names mean?
Yentl is a diminutive of Yente, which comes from the Yentille, the Yiddish version of the French name Gentille, meaning “noble, aristocratic.”
Avigdor is a Hebrew name derived from the expression avi Gedor, meaning “Gedor’s father.” The name Gedor means “wall.” (Avigdor was one of the by-names of Moses in the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism.)
And Anshel, the name Yentl used while disguised as a male, is the Yiddish form of Anselm, a Germanic name made up of elements meaning “god” and “helmet, protection.”
What are your thoughts on these names?