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Questions about Baby-Naming Ceremonies for Girls and Patrilineal Descent

Dear Rabbi,

I am confused about the simchat bat, or baby naming ceremony for girls. When did it begin? Do Reform, Conservative and/or Orthodox Jews place the same importance on the ceremony as is given to a bris, or ritual circumcision? How is patrilineal descent affected by the male child or female child not having this rite of passage? Who or what determines what actions allow a child to be called Jewish through patrilineal descent?

Thanks for your help in answering these questions,
Sandi

 

Hebrew for "daughter's celebration," a modern term for a naming ceremony for baby girls. Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation. Hebrew for "covenant," often referring to the ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old ("brit milah" - "covenant of circumcision"). It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit."
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson serves as the Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and is the author of The Bedside Torah.

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