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Natalie Portman just announced her baby's name: It's Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets. She and fiancé Benjamin Millepied welcomed their son three weeks ago, but kept his name under wraps. The choice reflects Portman’s Israeli heritage: "Aleph" also means the number "one" in Hebrew and represents the "oneness of God" and the element of air, according to an iVillage report.
While Portman isn't commenting on why she picked this distinctive name, it's probably not the start of an alphabet naming trend, according to Linda Rosenkrantz, co-founder of NameBerry. "This is a uniquely individual choice rather than a reflection of trends," she explains. "Natalie Portman has said she feels Israel is more her spiritual home than the U.S. She has strong ties to Jewish history, with close relatives who were victims of the Holocaust."
There does seem to be a trend of baby names that start with the letter A (think Ava or Aiden), as well as names reflecting cultural backgrounds, regardless of whether the parents have ties to it. (Think of Halle Berry naming her daughter Nahla, a traditional Arabic name used often in the Middle East).
Old Testament names for boys are also trendy right now. It’s all about the lesser-known ones this year: Abel rather than John, for example. "Biblical names convey strength of character," says naming expert Bruce Lansky. "These parents are trying to say their boys can make good decisions." Like the name Gideon? Neil Patrick Harris gave one of his twins this Old Testament name. And Amy Poehler and Will Arnett named their son Abel James. Others to think about: Caleb, Elijah, and Eli. Need inspiration for naming your baby-to-be? Check out our BabyNamer for more ideas.