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Baby Naming 101

Mother holding siddur with baby in sling
TRADITION

In Jewish tradition, a baby boy is circumcised on the eighth day of his life, in a ceremony known as the brit milah. In this ritual the baby is given his Hebrew name and enters the covenant (brit) between God and the Jewish people. Some parents choose to do a brit milah in the hospital and later do a baby naming ceremony with their community. A brit milah is often performed in the home of the parents.

INNOVATION

Modeled on the brit milah ceremony, a brit bat or simkhat bat welcomes a baby girl into the covenant of the Jewish people. The baby naming ceremony might also take place on the eighth day of the baby's life or any time after that. Some parents might choose not to have baby boys circumcised, but still hold a baby naming ceremony.

ELEMENTS OF A BABY NAMING

There are many ways to design a covenant or baby naming ceremony that can be based on a traditional brit milah or created from scratch or a little bit of both. The ceremony may include the following elements:

1) Words of welcome

2) Covenant Blessing
a) Statement by parents on fulfilling the mitzvah of circumcision (or alternative)
b) Invocation of Eliyahu Ha'Navi (Elijah the Prophet) by grandparents
c) Traditional blessing by mohel, the person performing the circumcision (or alternative)

3) If the ceremony is a brit milah, the circumcision takes place now.

4) Naming Blessing

5) Blessings by parents

6) Blessing on wine

7) Blessing and naming of the child

8) Priestly blessing for child

9) Shehekheyanu blessing

SAMPLE TRADITIONAL CEREMONY
SAMPLE INNOVATIVE CEREMONIES
SAMPLE ADDITIONS TO BABY NAMING CEREMONY
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CEREMONY

Make this ritual your own by choosing poems, prayers, and other ritual components to add to the ceremony. Start at Covenant & Naming Rituals and search by clicking the arrow on the dropdown menu: "Filter by Type." Search by "poem," "prayer," "reading," etc., and discover new texts to design the perfect ritual for you. Already have a ritual component or ceremony to share? Submit your original work to Ritualwell!

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