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Additional Ideas for Ceremony

Return to the Guide to Birth Ceremonies for Interfaith Families.

It is customary to light candles in the room where the brit or simchat bat is to take place.

From Daniel Margolis, Patty Margolis, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon Strassfeld

It is custom to set aside a chair for the prophet Elijah (who is called the angel of covenant and is reputed to be the protector of little children).

From Daniel Margolis, Patty Margolis, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon Strassfeld

It is customary for everyone but the godfather (sandek) who is holding the baby to remain standing during the ceremony.

From Daniel Margolis, Patty Margolis, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon Strassfeld

Create a program for participants and spectators to follow along with. At the front of the program, include a brief list of the participants in the ceremony. The guide can also include information about, or pictures of, the child’s namesake and/or a family tree.

Adapted from Debra Nussbaum Cohen

At the end of the ceremony, wrap the parents and children in a big tallis, and have all the grandparents hold the tallis around their kids and grandkids, and have them repeat the Threefold Benediction after the mohel, saying it to their kids: “May God bless you and keep you…”

Submitted by Rabbi Lev Baesh

Have the mother and father of the child write a letter to the child about the name they have chosen and who the name comes from. The letter includes stories, memories, and qualities of that person. I ask the parents to read the letter at the ceremony and to save it in their baby book to give to the child at Bat or Bar Mitzvah, or another important life cycle event.

Submitted by Rabbi Lev Baesh

I ask the parents to choose a person from both families to name the child after, giving the child a first and middle name. It is easy to find a Hebrew cognate to any English or other language based name. By naming after both families, they know that both families are respected and represented in their child.

Submitted by Rabbi Lev Baesh

At the end of the ceremony, thank the non-Jewish grandparents for their love and support as a way of recognizing their willingness to have their grandchild take part in a Jewish birth ceremony.


18Doors

18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact info@18doors.org.

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Author: 18Doors