The birth of a new baby is a particularly joyous event not only for the family but also for the Jewish people and our congregational community. There are a number of ceremonies and traditions that may be of assistance. Please contact the office, Rabbi or Cantor upon any new birth (see the Contact Us
page for details).
If the baby is a boy, it is an important tradition to have a Brit Milah, the Covenant of Circumcision, on the eight day (that is the same day of the following week that the child is born). The ceremony, once the province of the father, is now designated to a Mohel or Mohelet, a trained ritual circumciser. The office has a list of certified mohalim to do this ritual and to perform the surgical procedure. At that ceremony, usually held at home, the baby is given a Hebrew name. Our Rabbi and Cantor should be included but the mohalim are able to do the entire ceremony. This is traditionally a time of celebration with family and friends.
If the baby is a girl, the tradition has been to have a naming ceremony and blessing in the synagogue at a Shabbat Service. Contact the Rabbi and Cantor to arrange for a mutually acceptable time. In recent years, keeping with principles of gender equality, new ceremonies of welcoming a daughter into the covenant have been created. Some families choose to do this ceremony at their home. The Rabbi or Cantor will be glad to help you arrange such a ceremony.
We are taught that our ancestors in Egypt were worthy to be redeemed by God because they kept their Hebrew names. There are many customs in the Jewish world for the choosing of a name. Generally Ashkenazic Jews name the child after a deceased relative whom they want to honor. These names can be based on the exact name, using the same initials or the meaning of the name. Sephardic Jews often named after a living relative. Some people use names based on when the child was born in relation to the Hebrew calendar (i.e. Pesach if the boy was born during Passover). Some people use the meaning of words, historic events, or great Jewish heroes. The Rabbi or Cantor will be glad to assist you and share options with you.