For Jewish-Jewish and interfaith families
There is probably no greater joy than the birth of a child – a joy that unites the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual, a joy that holds awe and love and tenderness and responsibility.
A Jewish baby naming ceremony is actually three ceremonies in one:
1. Welcoming the baby to his/her new embodied life.
2. Bringing the baby into what Jews call the brit or covenant, a sense of being connected to the past and of participating in something whole and sacred.
3. Giving the child a Jewish name.
Rabbi Field is delighted to help you craft a ceremony that reflects your own values and goals as a parent, to help you select a Jewish name for your child, and to officiate the ceremony. For more information please contact Rabbi Brian Field at 303-320-6185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Circumcision/Brit Milah for Boys
For baby boys, ceremonies are traditionally conducted when the baby is 8 days old. Some families wait longer before having the celebration, perhaps choosing a date on which the maximum number of family members and friends can attend.
For boys, the traditional ritual covenantal ritual is known as milah in Hebrew or circumcision. A person specially trained to perform circumcisions in accordance with this covenantal ritual is known as a mohel. Local certified mohels/mohalim include:
Please note that each mohel operates according to his/her own understanding of Jewish law and practice. If you are an interfaith couple, please confirm with the mohel that she or he is able to perform this Jewish covenantal ritual for your child.
Some pediatricians are willing to perform this operation as well.
Covenantal Rituals for Girls
In response to traditional Judaism’s lack of a parallel covenantal ceremony for baby girls, several ceremonies have been created over the past few decades. Timing for these ceremonies is somewhat looser – ranging from 2 weeks after birth to 1 month. And some families choose to have them later as well. These ceremonies are also available for boys. Rabbi Field will be happy to describe them to you and work with you to determine which ceremony is best for your family.
Parents who are adopting a child born to non-Jewish parents may wish to formally convert the child to Judaism. Rabbi Field will discuss with you the procedures and options.
While there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a Jewish name for your child, there are many customs and options:
Some parents will wish to name a child after a relative. The Ashkenazic custom is to name a child after a deceased relative. The Sephardic custom is to name a child after a living relative. In either case, the child’s name could be the same name as the relative or it could begin with the same letter as the relative’s name.
Some people elect to give the child a Jewish name that in some way corresponds to their English name.
Some people will name a child after a relative who does not have a Jewish name by either giving them a Jewish name that begins with the same letter or giving them a name that has the same meaning as the relative’s name.
A favorite source of names and information about names is Alfred Kolatch’s The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names, published by Jonathan David.
What People Say About Baby Naming with JYW
"Our baby naming was truly wonderful. It was so beautiful and inclusive. Everyone was a participant – no observers. A very spiritual experience for our family."
"Rabbi Brian performed the naming ceremony for our girl-boy twins, creating a meaningful, interfaith way to honor the start of their earthly journeys while including our family and closest friends Jewish, Christian and Buddhist, in the ceremony."
"Rabbi Field and Judaism Your Way provide inclusive, progressive, and essential services to an expanding constituency, and do so with care and compassion."