Fertility, Pregnancy & Adoption

The longing for children shaped the lives of our matriarchs, and it continues to bring joy and sorrow to the lives of many people today. Medical advances have helped with infertility. However, those undergoing treatment often suffer during the process and crave a spiritual element to counterbalance the arduous clinical procedures. Miscarriages bring their own kind of loss and sorrow. On the other hand, the experience of pregnancy, the drama of giving birth, and the miracle of adoption are occasions for joy and wonder. We offer prayers for those who want to conceive, prayers for childbirth, rituals for parents preparing to adopt, mourning ceremonies for miscarriages and much more.


Celebrating Pregnancy

By Michelle Klein
Describes the customs of Sephardic Jews who celebrated a woman's first pregnancy by cutting the swaddling clothes at a festive gathering of women   more
Ritual Component

Tags: Sephardi


By Rabbi Jane Litman
It is customary for pregnant women and women seeking to become pregnant to offer prayers to Rachel, Judaism's mater dolorosa. Specifically, women visit Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem, wrap a red cord around the tomb, then cut it into smaller pieces which they tie around their own wrists. This ritual for a pregnant woman is based on this custom.   more
Complete Ceremony

Tags: red thread


By Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l
A poem that likens the womb's circles to other circles within Judaism   more

Chayei Sarah

Shana Roskies
The author brings to life the Genesis tale of Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar by locating Sarah and Abraham's infertility as the central factor motivating the characters' behavior.   more

Tags: Hayei Sarah

Barren (Uri)

By Rahel Bluwstein
Contemporary Israeli prayer expressing desire for a child   more