"Plan A is to name him after my husbands late father, Schmuel. It’s a Hebrew name for Samuel. I like the namesake, without exactly copying the name. I personally don’t like the hard “Sch” sound at the beginning of the Hebrew name and “Sam” is too common.
Plan B is to name him after my husband, Ari. Which means lion in Hebrew. I love the name Lionel, little lion, but can’t think of a good nick name. I also love the name Leonel and the nickname Leo, however this also is rather common.
For the middle name, we like Aaron which is my father’s middle name.
Lastly, my husband came up with a name he liked yesterday- Ellington, “Eli” for short. Although this name doesn’t have a namesake we both like it a lot."
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Plan A: Schmuel:
Names containing a short form of Samuel/Schmuel:
Samson/Sampson – An Old Testament name borne by the famous Israelite judge and warrior. Samson is also an ancient Welsh name (there was a Welsh saint of the name who travelled to Normandy), the meaning of which is obscure.
Samper/Samter – The surname Samper/Samber derives from Saint-Pierre-de-Semilly in France, while Samter is a variant of the surname Santer.
Salinger – Sal has long been used as a short form for Samuel, which is echoed here in cool surname Salinger. The surname itself derives from Saint-Léger-aux-Bois in France (or de Sancto Leodegario in Latin). Leger was written as Leodegar in English. Both were forms of the Old German name Luitgar meaning "spear of the people," but the Leo start has long been connected to the Latin leo "lion."
Names beginning with S and ending with L:
Saul – The legendary first king of Israel whose name has a cool modern style.
Sol – The Roman personification of the sun which remains rare but accessible. You could even use Sunny as a nickname.
Sorrell – Sorrel is a medicinal herb as well of the name of a reddish-brown colour. Sorrell is a surname variant.
Abijah – Abijah is a Biblical name which was borne by many Biblical figures, including the son of Samuel.
...And here's my flash of inspiration:
Ellington "Eli" – According to the Old Testament both Samuel and Eli were the last two Israelite judges. In fact, Eli raised and trained Samuel, so the two are very closely connected. This close connection could be the perfect way to use Ellington “Eli” as a way to honour Schmuel.
Plan B: Ari:
Leander / Leandro – Leander is the Anglicised form of the Ancient Greek name Leandros meaning "lion of men"who was a hero of Greek legend. Leandro is the Spanish and Italian form. Leo, Leon and Anders could be used as nicknames.
Leonidas – Like Leander, Leonidas also derives from the Greek leon "lion." The name was borne by the famous Spartan king which gives it a heroic edge.
Lev – Lev means "heart" in Hebrew, but in Russian it means "lion". Author Leo Tolstoy's real name was Lev. While Lev is undeniably cool, if it's too brief, it could be used as a short form for:
Levin – A surname derived from the Old English name Leofwine "beloved friend."
Leveson – A surname from the Old English name Leofsunu "beloved son."
Levingstone/Livingston – A place / surname meaning "Leving's farm."
Leverton – A place name meaning "farmstead where the rushes grow."
Llewyn – Llew is the Welsh word for "lion," which was once used as a short form of Llewelyn, but is now also used independently. Llewyn is a rare variant that was brought to wider attention by the film Inside Llewyn Davis in 2013.
Leib – A name derived from the Yiddish word leyb "lion."
Luan – An Albanian name meaning "lion" as well as a Portuguese name meaning "moon."
Sher – A Persian name meaning lion, similar to the Punjabi/Urdu Shir/Shere (famous from the Jungle Book's Shere Khan - literally "Lion King").
Griffin – Griffin was not an uncommon name in medieval Britain; it derived from the Welsh royal name Gruffudd meaning "strong lord." However, the griffin is also the name of the legendary creature which was half eagle-half lion.
Zev – Zev or Zeev are Hebrew names meaning "wolf." While it isn't specifically connected to Ari, I like the parity of the notion of the lion and the wolf together, as well as the symbolism behind A(ri) to Z(ev) in the English alphabet.
I hope this has been of use. Best wishes for finding the perfect name.