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Baby Namings

A new child is a blessing not only to your family but to the entire community!  We wish to celebrate this simchah with you and welcome your child into the covenant of a proud tradition of deep moral purpose and celebration.  There are many ways to celebrate a birth.

For a daughter we can do a celebration at a service as well of welcome into the covenant.  For girls, there is typically a "Baby Naming" or "Simchat Bat" ("celebration of a daughter!").  Some choose to do this during a Saturday morning service at the synagogue at the Torah.  In this case, the parents bring the baby up with them for an aliyah, explain why they chose the name, and the rabbi reads the naming blessing.  Often the family will sponsor a kiddush in honor of this event (thus following in the pattern laid out in the Torah for Gratitude banquets), and relatives can take service honors.

Another option is to have the naming during a Friday Kabbalat Shabbat service where elements of the home ceremony can be integrated into an entrance of the baby into the service and the community, often with a traditional candlelighting.

For boys, there is a bris ceremony, a celebration of covenant with circumcision, that takes place 8 days after the birth and is usually a family event celebrated in a home, a medical facility, or sometimes the synagogue.  For boys who are to be circumcised medically without any ceremony, please contact Rav Nadav for simple instructions for a parent to say in halakhic language that the circumcision is meant for the purpose of bringing the child into the covenant, whether or not the event is happening on the eighth day.  (The simple formula is recited by a parent before the circumcision is performed even without a rabbi or others there.)  In this case, you should still do an official baby naming ceremony, a Simchat Ben, whether a home ceremony  --an example of which can be viewed here-- or coming to a Friday night or Saturday morning service and celebrating from the bimah, during which you explain the name and the rabbi blesses the child.

We're here to help you make this celebration what you want it to be.  We can tailor language and readings to your values --including gender language-- and invite family to participate with honor.  Just reach out and talk with Rabbi Caine.

A Sample Simchat Bat Ceremony to Celebrate a Daughter

(To download the below for a boy, click here.  To download the below for a girl, click here.)

Rabbi Caine:
Bruchah ha-ba-ah b’shem Adonai.
May she who enters be blessed in the name of the Lord.

[Optional: If the parents choose to wrap her in a tallit (prayer shawl), each of the four corners is folded around her. ]

[If at a Friday Kabbalat Shabbat service, congregation stands, singing Hinei Mah Tov, as parents bring their daughter up the aisle to the front, meeting the rabbi at a Shabbat table with grandparent(s), and ceremony is done from this Shabbat table on the bimah.]

How precious is Your constant love, O God, you shelter us under your wings. (Ps.36:8) May God cover you, and you will find shelter under God’s wings.

As the fringes of the prayer shawl intertwine each other, knotting together the values of the mitzvot, so too these two extended families are now tied together. Their family's values, their ancestor's values, coming together to endow their future generations with the protection and foundation of their best attributes, hopes, and commitments. As this baby is endowed with the blessing of covenant, of a relationship across time and generations that change each partner into their best possible selves, so too may these two extended families find their best possible selves emerge from their intertwining across generations through this little one.

Our God and God of our forefathers and foremothers, we thank you for the gift of this child whom we welcome into God’s covenant today. May she grow to maturity embraced by God’s love and the love of all who know her. May the Shekhinah, God’s sheltering presence, be with her always. May the words of Torah surround her. Clothed in majesty and honor, may she always look to the future with joy.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav. V'tzivanu l’hach-nisah biv-ri-to shel Avraham avinu v’Sarah imeinu.
God, whose presence fills the universe, has brought us holiness by bringing our daughter into the covenant of Abraham our father and Sarah our mother.

Parent(s) explain the names.

Optional Prompt:
Our daughter’s names were chosen both for their meaning and in loving memory of … [include any remarks you wish at this time]
Her secular name is ____________________________ meaning... We hope that she embodies...
Her Hebrew name is ____________________________ … We hope...

Rabbi Caine:
Our God and God of our ancestors, sustain this child for her parents. Let her be called among Israel:
____________________________, daughter of ____________________________ and ____________________________

May her parents rejoice in this soul in their care. Let them give thanks to God; for love is constant. May this little one, ____________________________ flourish. As she has entered into the covenant, so may she enter into a life of Torah [goodness and education], of loving partnership, and of good deeds.
Let us say Amen.


(The Shehecheyanu:) "Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech ha Olam, shehechiyanu, v'kee-amanu, v'hee-gee-anu lazman hazeh."
Blessed be our God, whose presence fills time and space, who has given us life, sustained our lives, and has allowed us to reach this day (of a new beginning).

Additional Optional Readings for Grandparents (or others) or use their own words.
Optional Grandparent Reading 1:
We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, sweet and beautiful grandchild. We pray that your life is filled with continued health and joyfulness. May you find strength in knowing how much you are loved, and by so many people.

Optional Grandparent Reading 2:
We are thankful for the blessing You have bestowed upon us in our lives. Now we have been granted a new grandchild to love, the opening a new page in our family's chronicle. May she grow up in health and happiness. May we be granted the joy of seeing her develop all of her gifts, and the gratification of helping her to fulfill the best that is in her. Then our prayer should have found its answer: the days and years to come shall be for us times of peace, honor, and happiness. Amen.

Optional Reading 3:
[Baby's name], we wish for you a life of family, community, education and mitzvot. And we promise, as you make your way in the world, we will always be there for you. We love you, now and forever.

Optional Reading 4 [From an anonymous 1786 mother's prayer]:
May it be your will, Adonai our God, and God of our ancestors, that just as this newborn child is pleasing to You now, so may she always be welcome in Your presence.

May she have the gift of good health, and so be able to do Your bidding. May she always be aware of God. May neither her intention nor her desire be diverted from the study of your Torah or from doing your mitzvot.

Provide her with a livelihood from Your kind and generous, open and bountiful hand. Grant our child the blessings of a full life, well-lived; spare her from sufferings both large and small. May her acts be those that better this world.

May she live to see her sons and daughters happily married, dedicated to Torah and mitzvot. May You make her desires match Your own.

At this unique moment of beginnings, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Optional Reading 5 (adapted from the Talmud):
May you live to see your world fulfilled. May your destiny be for worlds still to come. And may you trust in generations past and yet to be.

May your heart be filled with intuition and your words be filled with insight. May songs of praise ever be upon your tongue and your vision be on a straight path before you.

May your eyes shine with the light of holy words and your face reflect the brightness of the heavens.

May your lips speak wisdom and your fulfillment be in righteousness even as you ever yearn to hear the words of the Divine.

Optional Reading 6:
In every birth, blessed is the wonder.
In every creation, blessed is the new beginning.
In every child, blessed is life.
In every hope, blessed is the potential.
In every transition, blessed is the beginning.
In every existence, blessed are the possibilities.
In every love, blessed are the tears.
In every life, blessed is the love.
There are three names by which a person is called:
One which her father and mother call her,
And one which people call her,
And one which she earns for herself.
May today be the beginning of honor accruing to all three.

Optional Reading 7, from a passage by Martin Buber:
Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. It is the duty of every person in Israel to know and consider that she is unique in the world in her particular character, and that there has never been someone like her before. For if there had been someone like her before, there would be no need for her to be in the world. Every single person is a new thing in the world and is called upon to fulfill their particular mission in the world.

The Priestly Blessing:
May God bless you and protect you.
May God’s face shine toward you and show you favor.
May God turn directly toward you, and grant you peace.

Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784