Baby Naming

infant with mother
Baby Naming

You can hold a baby naming ceremony wherever you like, such as in a synagogue, your home, or even a park. Since it doesn’t involve a medical procedure, there are no restrictions. You can hold the ceremony anytime you want, but some biblical time frames you can consider are after 14 days, when a mother’s ritual impurity ends after the birth of a daughter; when the baby turns 1 month old, following the ancient belief that a child was only viable after 30 days; and after 80 days, the length of time a woman had to wait in biblical times after birthing a girl to bring sacrifices to the Temple. But ultimately, you can choose any date or timeframe that feels significant to you.

You don’t have to keep your baby’s name a secret until the ceremony, but it’s up to you if you want to. If you need help choosing a Hebrew name, there are plenty of online resources available.

The first-known ceremony for a girl’s naming, welcoming, and covenant was published in 1973, and it emerged in the Reform movement and the Jewish feminism wave.

You can opt for a baby naming ceremony instead of a bris for medical or ideological reasons or if your baby has already been circumcised at the hospital. The baby naming ceremony is flexible and customizable, with prayers, blessings, a speech from the parents about the name’s significance, and rituals to symbolize the baby’s covenant with God. It can be held in a synagogue, your home, or any other venue you prefer.

When it comes to Jewish naming ceremonies for babies, the bris or brit milah, a circumcision ceremony held for baby boys on their eighth day, is the most common historical ritual. However, this traditional ceremony only applies to male babies. Many parents opt out of circumcision for their sons due to personal reasons or have already had it done in the hospital. So, what about the other 50% of babies and those who don’t want a bris? The solution is a baby naming ceremony. This Jewish ceremony is held after the baby’s birth and serves to welcome the baby into the Jewish community without involving circumcision. The ceremony typically involves different rituals, prayers, and songs, and its main purpose is to celebrate the birth of the child, reveal their name and meaning, and welcome them into the Jewish faith.

Baby naming ceremonies come in many forms, with most having gendered and denominational names. Some of the most popular ones for girls include Brit bat, Simchat bat, and Zeved Habat. For boys, the most common name is Brit ben. Some ceremonies, like Brit shalom, Brit hayim, and Brit tikkun, are non-gendered. If you don’t want to choose one of these names, you can simply call it a baby naming ceremony.

Baby naming
infant's family

“Rabbi Broden was very professional and friendly. He took the time to meet with us, provide us with sample ceremonies and was very easy to contact when we had questions. It was a pleasure to find someone who was willing to work with clergy of another faith and perform a beautiful ceremony. We were so pleased that we have asked Rabbi Broden to also co-officiate our baby naming ceremony as well!”

Jen Simon

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