Celebration of New Life

Today I was privileged to officiate at my first baby naming. Unlike a Brit Milah for a baby boy, a baby naming for a girl can be done at any time. Traditionally it is done the first time we read Torah after the birth, with the father (and in egalitarian communities also the mother) getting an aliyah to the Torah and receiving a special blessing featuring the name. However, more and more people are doing special Simhat Bat ceremonies one month or more after the birth, where the baby girl is brought in, given a name and then celebrated. Some people do a ceremony with water, as water is traditionally a symbol of life. Others do ceremonies with candles, as the new girl brings light into the world. The ceremony that we did featured special readings done by the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, welcoming this new addition to their family into the world.

I love the fact that new traditions have developed in how to meaningfully do a naming for a baby girl and enter her into the covenant of the Jewish people. This enables the family to have flexibility in choosing a ceremony that is most meaningful for them to celebrate this life-cycle event. As every family is different, there is no cookie-cutter approach as to how to celebrate new life.

After the ceremony we gave the girl a onesy which says I Was Named at the Jericho Jewish Center. It was a touching moment to a beautiful event.

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