B’rit Milah/Baby Naming

The welcoming of a new life into the world is amongst the greatest of miracles, one marked with special Jewish rituals.

Brit Milah

A boy is entered into the Jewish community through brit milah, or the covenant of circumcision. The ritual of brit milah dates back to Abraham, the first Jew, and is, as the Torah prescribes (Genesis 17:12), held on the child’s eighth day of life, with the child’s day of birth counting as the first day.

The brit milah ceremony includes two main components, the ritual circumcision, as well as the Hebrew naming of the infant boy. The ceremony, which lasts only a few minutes, is traditionally held in the home and is often followed by a light meal. A mohel, or Jewish doctor with special training in the ritual aspects of brit milah, usually officiates, though it is not uncommon for a rabbi to co-officiate. For information on local mohelim, please contact Rabbi Lobel or Rabbi Aron.

Baby Naming

Baby girls, and boys who for a variety of reasons did not have a brit milah, are welcomed into the Jewish community through a naming ritual. The baby naming, which consists of special prayers and readings, often takes place in the synagogue and is included as part of a Shabbat service. The naming ritual is traditionally held around the child’s one month birthday. Congregation Shir Hadash welcomes the naming of both the children of members and non-members.

Amongst Ashkenazic Jews (Jews with European ancestry) it is customary to name in memory of a deceased loved one. Sephardic Jews (Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East) traditionally name after living relatives. Rabbis Aron and Lobel are available to help with the selection of a Hebrew name.