Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew)

This page is an official guideline regarding the transliteration of Hebrew and Israeli names for Wikipedia articles. It serves both as a naming conventions guideline and a manual of style for Hebrew.


This guideline covers:

  • The conventions for naming an article or section based on a Hebrew word ("article naming").
  • The conventions for including a Hebrew word or phrase in an article ("in-line Hebrew").

The motivation behind having this romanization convention is that the ability to read Hebrew is not a prerequisite for use of the English Wikipedia.

This guideline does not cover transcription and pronunciation guides. For that, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation) and Help:IPA/Hebrew.


The following terms are used in this guideline:

  • "Vowel" – only the three letters alef, vav (ẖolam male and shuruk) and yud, without nikud. Not to be confused with "vowel sounds"
  • "Vowel sound" – a no-sound consonant (alef or ayin) with nikud

Use in articles[edit]

Article and section titles[edit]


Each article must have only a single title. Other plausible titles should redirect to this title.

Standard Anglicized name[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names)

If there is a standard Anglicized name for a topic (Moses, Haifa, Gaza, Torah, rabbi, rebbe, Netanyahu, Jerusalem, etc.), then that name should be used in the title and in in-line text, no matter how unlike the modern Hebrew that name is.

Some topics may have several common widely accepted English transliterations (e.g. the name Chaim vs. Haim vs. Hayim), and sometimes it is debated whether there is a standard English transliteration at all (Beersheba vs. Be'er Sheva). In these cases, the context of the article should be taken into account. For example, Beersheba may be used to describe the city in general, while Be'er Sheva may be used for the Be'er Sheva North Railway Station, which pertains only to modern Israel.

Official transliterations into English as used by primary sources should also take precedence in naming articles or sections over the correct transliteration, e.g. Ness Ziona. This does not apply to generic sources however, whose scope is greater than just the subject. For instance, in the case of Ness Ziona, the spelling used by the municipality of Ness Ziona will take precedence, but not the spelling used by the Israeli government, Ministry of the Interior, Central Bureau of Statistics, Hebrew Academy, etc.

In-line transliteration[edit]

The rules for article or section naming provided below apply only when there is no standard or official Anglicized name. However, the rules below apply to all cases of direct in-line transliterations which follow the Hebrew spelling, and may be radically different from the main Hebrew name (which could also be a translation), thus:

  • Jerusalem (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, Yerushalayim)
  • Israel Railways (Hebrew: רַכֶּבֶת יִשְרָאֵל‎, Rakevet Yisra'el)
  • Neve Tzedek (Hebrew: נְוֵה צֶדֶק, Neveh Tzedek)


Most Hebrew abbreviations are treated as regular words for all intents and purposes. Thus, they should not be all-uppercase like English abbreviations, and there should be no apostrophes or quotation marks for separation like in Hebrew (apostrophes are okay for displaying shva however, per below). This applies both to article/section naming, and in-line transliteration. Thus:

  • Zaka (Hebrew: זק"א), not ZAKA
  • Israel Border Police (Hebrew: מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל, Mishmar HaGvul, abbr. מג"ב, Magav), not MAGAV
  • Civil Guard (Hebrew: מִשְׁמָר אֶזְרָחִי, abbr. משא"ז, Mash'az)

Two exceptions to this rule are:

  • Abbreviations which have a different accepted English transliteration – should be written per above, e.g. z"l (ז"ל)
  • Abbreviations, mostly 2-letter ones, which are pronounced by letter (like in English) and not as a word, e.g. Lamed-He (ל"ה). These should be italicized, joined by a dash, with each letter transliterated separately.

When a topic pertains primarily to modern Israel[edit]

If a topic pertains primarily to modern Israel (e.g., a modern city that did not exist before, say, 1850), the article should be named according to modern Israeli Hebrew. Specifically, the title should be based on a practical modification of the Hebrew Academy's romanization scheme, provided below.

If unsure whether a topic pertains to modern Israel, and there is no standard romanization, the rules below should be used as well.

Consonant table[edit]

Consonant Table
Hebrew Letter Transliteration Comments
א Alef   Takes on attached nikud sound. For the vowel alef, see vowels section.
בּ/ב Bet/Vet b/v
ג Gimel g
ד Dalet d
ה He h See comments below
ו Vav v Often w in Arabic words commonly used in Hebrew. See comments below for vav as a vowel
ז Zayin z
ח H̱et h Usually h. Optionally ẖ, ẖ or ḥ in in-line Hebrew.
ט Tet t
י Yud y See comments below for yud as a vowel
כּ/כ Kaf/Khaf k/kh
ל Lamed l
מ Mem m
נ Nun n
ס Samekh s
ע Ayin   Takes on attached nikud sound
פּ/פ Pe/Fe p/f
צ Tzadik tz Avoid ts, z, s, ẓ, ṣ
ק Kuf k Avoid q
ר Reish r
שׁ/שׂ Shin/Sin sh/s
ת Tav t Avoid th


Nikud Table (alef used as example letter)
Hebrew Name Transliteration Comments
אַ Pataẖ a Short vowel
אָ Kamatz a Long vowel. Can be o in rare cases.
אֶ Segol e Short vowel
אֵ Tzeire e, sometimes ei Long vowel, see vowels and shva below
אִ H̱irik i  
אָ Kamatz katan o Short vowel
אֹ H̱olam ẖaser o Long vowel
וֹ H̱olam male o Long vowel
אֻ Kubutz u Short vowel
וּ Shuruk u Long vowel
אֲ H̱ataf pataẖ a
אֱ H̱ataf segol e
אְ Shva No sound, sometimes e See comments below
אֳ H̱ataf kamatz o, sometimes a  

Vowels and shva[edit]

Vowels (matres lectionis) (Hebrew: אִמּוֹת קְרִיאָה, imot kri'a) (alef, vav and yud without nikud), as well as ayin without nikud, will be omitted, with one exception: a yud vowel after a tzeire will be rendered as i. Thus:

  • kara (קָרָא)
  • kara (קָרַע)
  • Galil (גָּלִיל)
  • Tavor (תָּבוֹר)
  • yadekha (יָדֶיךָ)


  • Beit She'an (בֵּית שְׁאָן)
  • tzeireh (צֵירֶה)

A shva will be transliterated as e if both of the following conditions apply:

  • It is a shva na at the beginning of a word
  • It is actually pronounced in Hebrew


  • be'er (בְּאֵר)
  • Rehovot (רְחוֹבוֹת‎)

but psak (פּסק)

Note that some words' pronunciations may change when he haydi'a or one of the letters bakhlam (בכל"מ) is appended, and sometimes the pronunciation of a shva is dialect-dependent. In cases such as these, consensus should be reached for individual article and section naming, and it is not possible to introduce a clear guideline.

Between a shva and a vowel sound or between nikud and a vowel sound, an apostrophe will be used to indicate a short stop. Thus:

  • mal'akh (מַלְאָךְ)
  • be'er (בְּאֵר)

He (ה) at the ends of words[edit]

The letter he at the ends of words is not pronounced in Hebrew (in modern Hebrew, even with a mapik), and will be omitted in most cases. Due to practical reasons however, he will be written at the ends of words when it succeeds an e sound (tzeire or segol). Thus:

  • kita (כִּתָּה)
  • Tverya (טְבֶרְיָה)
  • Shilo (modern settlement) (שִׁילֹה)
  • moneh (מוֹנֶה)
  • mateh (מַטֶּה)

It should be noted that most well-known Hebrew words with a final he are from the ancient period and already have a common Anglicized name (Torah, Mishnah, Hanukkah, etc.) These will keep their common transliteration in accordance with the first part of the guideline and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names).

Formative letters[edit]

In Hebrew, "formative letters" (אותיות השימוש, Otiyot HaShimush) are 11 letters which are prepended to regular words to introduce a new meaning. This section details the transliteration of those formative letters used as prefixes mainly for nouns (he haydi'a, bakhal letters, vav hahibur, shin and mem)

In all capitalized words, he hayedi'a (ha, he) will be capitalized, as well as the word after it. If the word is not capitalized, neither the he nor the word after it will have a capital letter. For transliterations directly after in-line Hebrew text, all words will generally be capitalized. The rules in the previous section apply. Thus:

  • he hayedi'a (הֵא הַיְּדִיעָה)
  • beit ha'avot (בֵּית הָאָבוֹת)
  • The Elders' Home (בֵּית הָאָבוֹת, Beit HaAvot)
  • Beit HaKerem (בֵּית הַכֶּרֶם)

The same rules apply for the other utility letters, with the following additions:

  • In a bakhal (בכ"ל) or vav hahibur (וו החיבור) letter with a shva, the shva will always be transliterated as e.
  • The word will only be capitalized once for bakhal or vav hahibur letters with a hirik preceding a yud (originally with a shva).


  • BeDimona (בְּדִימוֹנָה), not BDimona
  • Lirushalayim (לִירוּשָׁלַיִם), not LiRushalayim or LIrushalayim

It is important to remember that the utility letters can obtain almost any nikud, depending on the word after them: va'ani (וַאֲנִי), UTverya (וּטְבֶרְיָה), BiTverya (בִּטְבֶרְיָה), etc.

Dagesh and mapik[edit]

Dagesh (both types) and mapik will be ignored, except where applicable per above (e.g. Knesset). The letter he at the ends of words will be written in certain cases, regardless of mapik (see He at the ends of words).

When a topic pertains primarily to a certain subset of diaspora Jewry[edit]

When the topic of an article pertains primarily to Eastern European Jewry (e.g., a rebbe from the 1700s), and there is no standard romanization, its title should reflect Ashkenazic pronunciation and tradition. Similarly, if its topic pertains primarily to Oriental Jews (e.g., a Bukharan food), its title should reflect Oriental Sephardic pronunciation and tradition, and so on. Below are the main differences between the modern Israeli transliteration and the transliteration in question. Note that pronunciations in practice may vary greatly, but are not covered in this guideline (see: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)).


Consonant Table
Hebrew Letter Transliteration Difference
ח Hes ch, rarely h or ẖ Never kh
תּ/ת Tav/Sav t/s (optionally th) Tav without dagesh is transliterated as s, never t but sometimes th
אָ/אֳ Kamatz/H̱ataf Kamatz o (rarely a) Kamatz is transliterated o in Ashkenazi Hebrew

Sephardi and Yemenite[edit]

Consonant Table
Hebrew Letter Transliteration Difference
ח Het h or ẖ or ḥ Never ch or kh
צ Tsade/Ṣade Ṣ/ṣ Preferable to ts and tz

When a topic originates before the Diaspora[edit]

When the topic of an article predates the Diaspora, and there is no standard romanization, the title should reflect ancient pronunciation by using a form of the general-purpose, diacritic-less transliteration scheme described by the Society of Biblical Literature's SBL Handbook of Style. This scheme is flexible, however.

When unsure of the Jewish subset/time period the subject pertains to[edit]

When unsure of what subset of the Jewish diaspora, or what time period the subject pertains to, and there is no widely accepted Anglicized version, attempt to find this out by asking other editors first (esp. in Wikipedia:Notice board for Israel-related topics, Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism, Wikipedia:WikiProject Jewish history and Wikipedia:WikiProject Israel), in order to avoid unnecessary moves.

If there is no consensus, refer to When a topic pertains primarily to modern Israel.

Arabic in Hebrew[edit]

Many Arabic words are used daily in Hebrew speech and writing, and Arabic location names in Israel are often written in Hebrew. The following guiding rules apply:

  • For words and place names which are common in Hebrew, but not in English, a similar guideline to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) should be used, only for Hebrew: if there is a common Hebrew way of writing the word, it should be transliterated into English from the accepted Hebrew writing, ignoring the Arabic version. An Arabic script would still be warranted, but not as the basis for the transliteration.
  • For words which are common in both Hebrew and English (e.g. Kefiyyeh), Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) will apply.
  • For Israeli place names not common in either Hebrew or English, even if they have official Hebrew transliterations, Arabic transliteration rules will still apply, per Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Arabic).

Note that especially for place names, the words are often written in Hebrew and Arabic side by side, which eliminates the need for a Hebrew transliteration, unless radically different from the Arabic.

General in-line rules[edit]

Note: None of the following sections apply to article or section namings.

When to use italics[edit]

In in-line Hebrew the word should be italicized, per Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Foreign terms if the following conditions are met:

  1. It is not a proper noun (unique place or a person's name).
  2. Is not an English word taken from Hebrew. That is, it is not in an English dictionary (words such as rabbi, bris, etc...).


  1. Proper names in in-line transliterations coming directly after Hebrew text will be italicized.
Examples Comment
beit ha'avot (Hebrew: בֵּית הָאָבוֹת, lit: 'home of the patriarchs') Italicized because the first two conditions were met (i.e., it is not a proper noun or found in an English dictionary).
Carmel City (Hebrew: עִיר הַכַּרְמֶל, Ir HaKarmel) "Carmel City" is not italicized because it is the standard English name for the city. The word, "Ir HaKarmel" is italicized because it is an in-line transliteration coming directly after Hebrew text.
menorah (Hebrew: מְנוֹרָה, menora) The word "menorah" is not italicized because it is in the English dictionary. The word, "menora" is italicized because it is an in-line transliteration coming directly after Hebrew text.


Certain diacritics may be used for regular in-line transliterations which should not be used with article or section names. Notably, the underlined h (ẖ) for ẖet. Note that this usage is discouraged, unless there is a clear need to differentiate between he, ẖet and khaf.


For Hebrew transliterations including nikud, a 125%-sized font will be used. There are two templates for this purpose: {{Hebrew}} for regular in-line Hebrew text and {{lang-he-n}} for text with the prefix, Hebrew:, before the Hebrew word.

No special font will be used for regular Hebrew text that does not contain nikud.

Input Output
{} Hebrew: בֵּית הֶאָבוֹת
{} בֵּית הֶאָבוֹת


For IPA, use the template {{IPA-he}}, (ex. Hebrew pronunciation: [ktiv xaˈsaʁ niˈkud], written as {}), so as to link to Help:IPA/Hebrew. The introductory wording can be shortened with various switches:

{} for: Hebrew: [ktiv xaˈsaʁ niˈkud],
{} for: pronounced [ktiv xaˈsaʁ niˈkud],
{} for: IPA: [ktiv xaˈsaʁ niˈkud],
{} for: [ktiv xaˈsaʁ niˈkud].

There is also space for a sound file. (See documentation at {{IPA-he}}.)

See also[edit]