Naming your baby in your home offers a special significance where they will learn about Judaism along with its customs/rituals.
Judaism places great importance on naming your baby for each new child joining your family. It is believed that the name of a person is closely related to its essence.
When a parent gives a child a name, the parent is giving the child a connection to previous generations. The Hebrew name is always said aloud or written along with the parent’s Hebrew names.
Hershel bar Yosef ve Rifka.
Bar means son of and ve means and.
Hershel, son of Yosep and Rifka.
It is customary for Jewish parents to give their children two names; a secular name and a Hebrew name. The Hebrew name is the custom of the Jewish faith. Those purpose is providing an identity to their faith. The naming your baby ceremonies is the first formal Jewish Ceremony it is announced. Providing on the plan for a child’s Jewish education, it may involve the Hebrew School, the Bar Mitzvah, the Hebrew High Confirmation, and most certainly, the Jewish Wedding. When called to the Torah for an aliyah, the Rabbi recites the full Hebrew name aloud.
The Ashkenazi Jewish custom is to name a new baby after a relative that has passed away. This keeps the name and memory alive while they grow. In a metaphysical way, it forms a bond between the soul of the baby and the soul or spirit of the relative that passed. In Sephardic communities, the Jewish custom is to name children after a living relative.
Naming Your Baby – the Ceremony for Sons
On the eighth day of a baby boy’s life, he will not only receive his Hebrew name, but his parents will bring their child into the divine covenant (binding agreement) between God and the Jewish people with a Berit Mila (in Hebrew). It is known as the Covenant of Circumcision; also known as the Bris.
“And G-d spoke to Abraham saying… This is my covenant which you shall keep between me and you and thy offspring after you; Every male child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis. 17:12)
A Guide to understanding the Custom
The Bris, Berit Mila is to take place for an infant boy at eight days of age. The reasoning behind waiting for the eighth day is that everything was created in seven days. When a child is eight days old, the child has surpassed the physical world and entered a world far more spiritual. Mila is a sacred religious rite and not merely a hygienic practice. Jewish parents accept this as a normal part of life.
Traditionally, a Berit Mila or Brit Milah ceremony is to take place during the daylight hours of the eighth day and as early as possible during that day. When a child is born at dusk, the eighth day is counted from the following day. The Jewish calendar days in the Hebrew months change at sundown.
Most Berit Mila Brit Milah ceremonies take place at home. The Jewish home offers a special significance since it is the home where the child will first learn about Judaism and its customs/rituals. Naming your baby in their first home becomes one of many memorable Jewish life cycles. It is not a requirement to have this ceremony in the home. It can take place in the home of the new grandparents, or a location where celebrations take place.
The Officiant For A Berit Mila
Judaism encourages a Berit Mila or Brit Milah. To have it done by a qualified person, a Mohel (Jewish practitioner of circumcision). A pious, observant Jew educated in the relevant ritual of the Bris.
- If the choice is to not a Bris, about the Brit Shalom Naming Ceremony here
Should a Rabbi be present with the Mohel?
A Mohel could in fact be a Rabbi as well as trained to be a Jewish practitioner of Circumcision. It’s best to speak to the Mohel. They are trained to answer this type of question as well.
When to Contact a Mohel?
It is good practice, before giving birth, to call the Mohel and make an inquiry. Most Mohel’s have web sites with instructions and guidance. Remember, this Mohel is performing a ritual on your newborn son and you want to feel as comfortable with your choice.
One important question to add to your conversation. Who is the Mohel’s backup if they are out of town when you give birth? Why is this question important? It is so the Mohel does not move the 8th day to the 9th day or days following until they return.
What to expect or may use for a Bris
- The baby boy’s outfit in white
- A baby size Yarmulke
- An honored person or family member is called the Sandek. They hold the baby on the pillow.
- The Elijah chair; (Elijah is a significant prophet in Judaism).
- A festive meal follows the ceremony (don’t forget the Challah bread for the Motzi blessing)
This Rabbi will be honored to assist all parents for their sons to be blessed and given a Hebrew name with blessings.
It is permissible to have a baby naming ceremony in place of a Bris. It will be similar to the ceremony for our daughters.
- The baby naming ceremony for our sons takes place in the home. During Pandemic 2020, now offering Zoom Mitzvahs online.
- Blessings, grandparents, family, rituals, traditions, and customs are all covered
- For health and goodness. That his life is enriched by the blessings of Torah (study), Chuppah (a good marriage), and Maasim Tovim (good deeds).
- Baby Naming Certificate with your son’s Hebrew Name.
This new life is celebrated and wished all the health and happiness in life. The birth of a child is truly a miracle and should be rejoiced.
Be an Informed Parent When Circumcising Your Baby Boy
The following results of studies published in OB/GYN News, a monthly publication for OB/GYN practitioners.
The studies conducted regarding the pain inflicted on the baby during this procedure have concluded that they may suffer less and have less stress if circumcised by a Mohel (Jewish practitioner of circumcision). The Mohel uses a Mogen clamp and the physician uses a Gomco clamp. Many babies didn’t cry when the Mogen clamp was used. Over 60% cried when a Gomco clamp was used. The oxygen levels were higher with a Mogen clamp was used. This indicates that stress levels were low.
The Molded Body Board
Some Mohels are using this bodyboard today. The baby is placed in it and it separates the child’s legs. They are strapped in it.
An experienced Mohel will not use this bodyboard. Add this to your list of questions.