Baby Naming and Brit Shalom in New York City
BABY NAMING CEREMONY
Now that your baby has arrived, it's time to welcome him or her to the Jewish Community!
I will happily come to your home or other location to officiate at a Baby Naming ceremony for your daughter or son.
Your entire family will participate in a meaningful ritual in which the child's Jewish name will be given. I will consult with you first so you will understand what name would be most appropriate to name your child, based on your family history.
Often baby boys are circumcised in Hospital without Jewish ritual and therefore it is appropriate to give a Jewish name to your son at a later celebration. In this scenario, families sometimes choose to have the naming ceremony on the eighth day after birth to coincide with the day a traditional Brit Milah ceremony would occur.
In the traditional Ashkenazi community, name giving ceremonies for newborn girls were not widespread and often limited to the father announcing the baby's name in the synagogue on the Shabbat, Monday, Thursday or other occasion when the Torah would be read following the birth. Although, there is no explicit source in the Mishnah or Talmud specifying when girls should be named.
In the 20th century, interest in naming ceremonies for welcoming baby girls evolved. These ceremonies are often known under the newly coined terms Simchat Bat or a Brit Bat. The Simchat Bat ("Celebration of the daughter") or Brit Bat (loosely, welcoming the new daughter into the covenant) are now very common and the celebration consists of a communal welcoming, a naming done over a cup of wine with the quotation of appropriate Biblical verses, and traditional blessings.
"Hi Rabbi Steve,Many apologies for the delayed response. Not sure where this week has gone! My family and I were absolutely thrilled with the naming -- it was exactly what we wanted. I would be delighted to leave feedback on your blog!! I'll do so this wknd. I should also get some pics/video soon and will try to send or post those as well.Thank you again for sharing such a special day with us!!"
"Hi Rabbi Blane: Thank you for everything! You exceeded our expectations in all regards. Truly, everyone was very pleased; you found just the right tone for making the baby naming ceremony a very special occasion for my darling granddaughter. I look forward to seeing you again at a ceremony for her baby brother." Warmest regards, Naomi
BRIT SHALOM (NON-CIRCUMCISION COVENENT OF PEACE CEREMONY)
Although most Jews circumcise their children as they are under tremendous pressure to conform to religious norms, it is important to remember that today for non-traditional Jews, non-circumcision is an option.
Parents who question the ritual of Jewish circumcision (Bris or Brit Milah) based on the fear that it is cruel and extremely painful for the child (which it almost certainly is), a circumcision need not be performed if they choose a symbolic ceremony known as a "Brit Shalom." This ceremony combines the "Baby Naming Ceremony" with the symbolic "Bris" or "Brit Milah" to create a "Brit Shalom” ("Covenant of Peace"). In this ceremony, all of the rituals are covered, except for the actual circumcision.
I will be happy to conduct a Brit Shalom ceremony that is joyful, spiritual and devoid of the stress and pain of circumcision.
"I wanted to thank you for the beautiful Bris Shalom ceremony you performed for my son, Brandon. We invisioned having an intimate ceremony with our family to welcome him to the world and to Judaism, that incorporated the spiritual aspects of the ritual, without a circumcision. What you delivered was that and so much more. Your ceremony was educational, touching, meaningful, and an overall delight. It was important to me to include an explanation of Bris Shalom, so our guests could have a better understanding of our decision to go that route, and your words on the subject were just right. The folks in the room that day weren't all Jewish, and you went out of your way to be inclusive, so that everyone not only understood what was going on, but could participate in the proceedings. I liked how you asked everyone in the room to offer a few words on how they would participate in our son's spiritual upbringing, and I also liked how you incorporated time for us to say a few words about the people Brandon was named after. We were especially grateful that you paused and asked my husband to translate for his mother who doesn't speak English. And bringing your guitar to lead us in a few songs brought a festive musical element that we thoroughly enjoyed! My husband and I aren't particularly religious, but between the beautiful ceremony you prepared, your generally lovely demeanor, and the music, our Bris Shalom was a very beautiful and meaningful occasion that we and my family will always remember. Thank you!" Julian & Jamie
For more information on Jewish Circumcision, here are some excellent sites:
Dr. MarK Reiss, M.D.