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Birth, Bris, and Baby Naming Information

If you are expecting a child, whether through birth or adoption, the clergy can assist you with ritual and pastoral needs.

Welcoming a Son

Eight days after the birth of a son (barring any medical need), parents enter their sons into the Covenant (Brit) between the Jewish people and God through the ritual of brit milah, a religious circumcision. This practice began with our forefather Abraham.

The brit milah is a positive commandment of the Torah, and is carried out even if the eighth day falls on Shabbat, a Festival, or even Yom Kippur. The brit milah (also known as a bris), is performed by a mohel (religious specialist in circumcision) in the home or the synagogue. The ceremony consists of a blessing recited by the mohel upon performing the milah, blessings recited by a parent or parents, and a blessing by the rabbi in which the boy is given his Hebrew name. The ceremony is followed by a festive meal.

Following the brit milah, it is customary to invite the family to the synagogue for an aliyah to be called to the Torah), during which time the baby is introduced to the greater community and offered a blessing.

We recommend you to contact us as early as possible so we can assist you in finding a mohel and planning the brit milah.

Mohelim
Dr. Sheldon Ciner, (303) 722-3900
Dr. Sarah Grope, (720) 529-1926
Rabbi Aver Jacobs, (720) 608-8432
Dr. Ken Katz, (303) 741-1616

Welcoming a Daughter

Traditionally, in Ashkenazi communities, daughters were welcomed into the community at the synagogue. A father was honored with an aliyah, a prayer was said for the health of the mother and daughter, and the girl was named. Many families choose to name their girls in this fashion. As an egalitarian synagogue, we invite either parent to have an aliyah.

Today, there are also covenant and naming ceremonies (sometimes called Simchat Bat or Brit Bat) that may be performed in the synagogue or the home that the clergy can assist you with. We encourage families to draw on the wealth of innovative ritual and liturgy available in designing a ceremony that is personally meaningful. There is no prescribed time for holding a covenant ceremony for a daughter; many families choose a time that is most convenient to gather relatives and friends. We suggest that you not wait too long, for this ritual is intended to both name the child and welcome her into the covenant of the Jewish people.

Hebrew Names

aleph-bet-puzzleA person's Hebrew name is an important connection to our ancestors and our community. We call people up to the Torah by their Hebrew names. The Hebrew name is used for marriage documents and for blessings for healing. The first time a Jew is called by his or her Hebrew name is during a naming blessing. Parents often choose a Hebrew name in order to honor a deceased relative (in Ashkenazi custom) or a living relative (in Sephardic custom). Some names are chosen for their meaning. It is customary during both the brit milah and the brit bat/simcha bat (covenant ceremonies for daughters) for parents to explain their reasons for choosing their child's name. Our rabbis can help you choose a Hebrew name and provide you with name dictionaries to assist you.

We're Here to Help

>>Contact Joyce Perlmutter, Assistant to Rabbis Dollin and Gruenwald for more information or call (720) 390-4422
>> Contact Neal Price, Executive Director for information on the Social Hall and Building Facilities

Helpful Links

The New Jewish Baby Book, by Anita Diamant: A complete guide to customs and rituals for welcoming your new baby and getting you started in creating your Jewish family.

Shalom Baby: Shalom Baby is a project of the Denver Jewish Community Center offering prenatal classes, and other programs for families with young children.

Mazel Tot: MazelTot provides parents-to-be and families with young children with information and discounts on hundreds of activities in greater Denver and Boulder.

 

Hebrew Educational Alliance | 3600 S Ivanhoe St., Denver, CO 80237