Mazel tov on becoming a parent!

To schedule a conversation with one of our clergy to discuss ritual opportunities for your new child, please contact Audrey Okaneko in the Temple office, 805-964-7869 x13 or

Jewish tradition provides rituals that both reflect and respond to our lives.

When a baby boy or girl is born, or adopted into a family, we celebrate their arrival with ritual related to bringing them into the covenant of the Jewish community.


For a boy, the ceremonial welcoming, the brit milah, covenant of circumcision, is a mitzvah, a good and holy deed, and a commandment described in the Torah.

Gd tells Abraham,  “You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days.” Genesis 17:11-12.

This commandment was first carried out by Avram, who circumcised himself at age 90 and thus was given the name Avraham by Gd, as a sign of his covenant, his brit, with Gd.  This ritual, just as much as the simchat bat, the ritual welcoming of a baby girl in the covenant, is a sign of a family’s commitment to raise their child as a Jew, covenanted to Gd and the Jewish people.

For a powerful conversation regarding circumcision:

“Circumcision is a Difficult Rite

Circumcision, with all its pain, reminds us of our partnership with God and the pain of fixing a broken world.” By Rabbi Shai Held


Simhat Bat (The Joy of the Daughter)

Mazel tov on becoming a parent!  To schedule a conversation with one of our clergy to discuss ritual opportunities for your new child, please contact Audrey Okaneko in the Temple office.

For a baby girl, while there is no biblical source, there are customs of welcoming a girl into the Jewish community that date back hundreds of years to the Judeo-Spanish and Central and Western Europe.  Ceremonies in medieval Spain called Las Fadas were held the night before a circumcision and at the time when the mother recovered from delivery for a girl.  Guests offered great joyful prayers and blessings.  In 16th century Poland, parents would come the synagogue on the first Shabbat after the birth of a child to make offerings and receive an aliyah.  Today, many Sephardic families have Zeved haBat (gift of the daughter) ceremonies.  They often include: blessings, reading from Psalms and the Song of Songs, and of course a festive feast.

Some ceremonies for girls focus more on elements of covenant, brit, and others focus more on aspects of the naming and celebrating.  Today’s rituals for girls are creative and unique to the family.


There are other rituals around the beginnings of a Jewish child’s life including:

Pidyon ha ben / bat (redeeming of the first born son or daughter) when the child is thirty days old, historically the time at which a child could be counted in a census.

Breastfeeding prayers

Weaning ceremonies

Upsharin – when a child has their first hair cut at three years old and is given a taste of a Hebrew letter made of honey to symbolize the formal beginning of the Jewish learning

For on-line resources: