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How do you have a meaningful Jewish baby naming ceremony?

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Quick Answer

A meaningful Jewish baby naming ceremony, known as a Simchat Bat, includes prayers for the child, the naming of the child and Torah readings. A celebratory meal is often held after a Simchat Bat, with friends and family gathering to celebrate the birth.

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Full Answer

While a bris, the circumcision ceremony for a Jewish baby boy, has a set ritual and pattern already in place, the Simchat Bat often held for a baby girl is more informal. Because it is not an official religious ceremony, parents often feel more comfortable adding elements not prescribed by any ritual. A Simchat Bat, which means "celebration for a daughter," does not need to be held on the eighth day after birth, as a bris does, and it can be held at a synagogue or home. Parents should give careful thought to the actual name being chosen; a Simchat Bat typically bestows the child's Hebrew name on her, but it can also be an announcement of the English name as well.

Parents can focus on the new daughter's place in the family or choose traditional prayers and blessings. Those who want to celebrate their daughter's part in Jewish tradition may choose to wrap her in a prayer shawl for the ceremony or bring out their own wedding canopy for the occasion. Many families include candle lighting and challah as part of the celebration. Some parents get the extended family involved in the planning for a Simchat Bat, asking siblings and cousins to decorate the house or draw welcome signs.

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