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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions (12/12)
Section - Question 21.1.8: Entering the Covenant: What are our options for welcoming our new baby girl?

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions (12/12)
Previous Document: Question 21.1.7: Entering the Covenant: But circumcision is only required for boys. What about girls?
Next Document: Question 21.1.9: Entering the Covenant: Can we hold a welcoming ceremony on the 8th day for a girl?
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                                  Answer:
   
   A number of options are available. Traditionally, a baby girl is named
   the first time the father attends synagogue after the birth. In some
   communities, the mother recites a blessing of gratitude for her health
   and well-being after childbirth; and the father is called to the
   Torah. In other communities, there are more elaborate ceremonies. In
   the Sephardi communities of Turkey and the Balkans, infants are
   clothed in elaborate dress and jewelry. The ceremony has no fixed
   date, but is usually held sometime between seven and thirty days after
   birth, and is conducted by a rabbi, usually at home but sometimes in
   the synagogue. Several central Asian Jewish communities celebrate the
   first time an infant girl is laid in her cradle. In Bokhara, for
   example, small children are called to participate in snatching away
   the sweet treats that have been placed around the baby in the cradle.
   In the Bene Israel community in India, the naming ceremony usually
   takes place on the twelfth day after a girl is born. Held in the home,
   the ritual is intended primarily for the women and children of the
   family. A special new garment is sewn for the child, and her cradle,
   decorated with flowers and colored paper, is placed in the middle of
   the house. Cooked chickpeas, peeled pieces of coconut, and cookies are
   arranged along the inner edges of the cradle. In the Yishuv HaYashan
   (the community of Ashkenazic Jews who settled in Jerusalem beginning
   in 1811), the celebration took place on the eighth day, and the baby
   girl's ears were pierced. [Thanks to [5]http://www.mispacha.org/ for
   the information about ceremonies in other communities.]
   
   In liberal congregations, a number of new ceremonies have been
   developed to symbolically parallel the brit ceremony; these new
   ceremonies serve to welcome the infant into the convenant of Judaism.
   
   There are a number of approaches to these berit ceremonies. Some are
   based on the ceremonial washing of the infant's feet, based on Sarah
   washing the feet of Abraham. Others involve the use of seven
   blessings, paralleling the seven blessings of the wedding ceremony. A
   good source of ideas for such ceremonies is Anita Diamant's [6]The New
   Jewish Baby Book: Names, Ceremonies & Customs, A Guide For Today's
   Families; another is Zeved HaBat by Aryeh Cohen (ISBN 965-264-049-2).
   
   These ceremonies usually take place in the home, anywhere between 7
   days and 30 days after the birth of the daughter. In Israel, they are
   often held in a hall, as the whole family and most of the community is
   invited. There is often a public naming at the synagogue approximately
   30 days after the birth of the infant.
   
   In terms of other resources for such ceremonies, the following have
   been suggested. If you are aware of others to add to this list, please
   let the FAQ maintainer know.
     * The Women's League for Conservative Judaism puts out a whole
       package of information on the Simchat Bat ceremony. Contact them
       at: 48 E. 74th St., NY, NY 10021; 800/628-5083, 212/628-1600 or
       fax 212/772-3507. There is a charge for the package.
     * The ceremony the FAQ maintainer used for his daughter, Erin, is
       available through the autoretriever in PostScript format. To
       receive a uuencoded zip of the ceremony, send the command "send
       infofiles liturgy/britbat.uue" to [7]archives@mljewish.org. You
       can do this through the web by visiting
       [8]http://www.mljewish.org/bin/mrj.if-reqform.cgi.
     * Zeved HaBat, by Aryeh Cohen. ISBN 965-264-049-2.

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