Brit Milah and Brit Bat
In the past few years we have been enriching and expanding Jewish birth ceremonies and want to appraise you of these meaningful rituals.
Brit Milah (Bris) ceremony is a sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. It continues to be held in the home on the 8th day of a baby's life as was first established with our ancestors, Abraham and Sarah and then renewed at Mt. Sinai when our people received the Torah. Mohelim (ritual circumcisers) used in the Twin Cities are committed Jews and well trained.
A meaningful ceremony including readings and family participation is used. It involves guests in welcoming this new miracle of life into the covenant between God and our people. We welcome Elijah with a special chair because he has a reputation for being zealous for God's covenant. He is also known as the one who will establish peace between parents and their children. We also express this prayer about the baby to his family that "as he has entered the covenant, so may he attain the blessings of Torah, marriage and a life of good deeds."
A personalized naming ritual emphasized the importance of linking a deceased relative's personality strengths to this new life who represents the future. We formally bestow upon the child his Hebrew name, such as Ari benYonatan V'Sarah. We also bless him with the traditional Priestly benediction used to bless our children on Friday nights: "May our son's life be one of security and trust. May our son's life shine with dignity and freedom. May our son's life know the harmony and gift of peace."
Brit Bat is a ceremony expanded in the last 20 years as interest in girls' birth celebrations has increased. A Brit Bat (covenant of our daughter) is a holy opportunity for parents to celebrate and thank God for the life of their new creation as they celebrate with family and friends. It is both a convenantal welcoming ceremony linking the child to the covenant made between God and our ancestors on Mt. Sinai and renewed each Shavuot and a naming celebration. It can be held in the home or the synagogue before the Torah. We swaddle the girl in a tallit, praying she always feels gods love and support throughout her life. Each family creatively develops the ritual with the rabbi.These ceremonies share themes of blessing, and naming as a bris while incorporating each family's creativity and style .
Mazal Tov to all families in our congregation who are celebrating the birth of a new son or daughter, grandchild or relative. Keyn yirbu -- May we continue to be fruitful and multiply.