Welcoming Jewish Daughters

Long before the creation of contemporary welcoming ceremonies for girls, Jewish communities around the world have had special ways of welcoming their new baby daughters.

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There is also a longstanding practice among Ashkenazic Jews (those descended from Jews of Germany and eastern Europe) of the father having an aliyah on the Shabbat following the birth of his daughter, followed by a prayer in which his daughter's name is announced and a blessing of healing for the mother who has just given birth. This is still practiced today in most Orthodox communities, as well as in many non-Orthodox communities (in the latter, often with the participation of the mother as well), and may take place before, rather than instead of, a larger ceremony at home or in the synagogue.  In Reform synagogues, it is often common for parents to bring their new daughter to synagogue services on Friday night or Shabbat morning for a very brief baby naming ceremony.

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Debra Nussbaum Cohen

Debra Nussbaum Cohen is a staff writer for The Jewish Week.