Becoming a Parent

Learn the basics about the Jewish traditions of welcoming your child into the world.

Are you pregnant or thinking about becoming a parent?

Becoming a parent is a mitzvah (Jewish commandment or obligation). This mitzvah honors the welcoming of Jewish babies with a big ceremony. This ceremony helps us avoid what Rabbi Harold Schulweis calls “rite-less passges” – or when important moments happen without notice or celebration. The ceremony of welcoming Jewish babies is called a brit milah for boys and a brit bat for girls. A brit milah commonly includes a circumcision ceremony and a baby naming. A brit bat ceremony includes a baby naming. Explore our resources below to learn more about the rituals and traditions of welcoming Jewish babies into the world.

Jewish Baby Naming Traditions

Judaism has a lot to say about baby naming traditions and how to choose the right name for your growing family. Some expectant parents spend literally years picking out baby names and others figure it out in an instant when they see their new child for the first time. Learn what to think about before you begin planning the name of your child.

This particular video about Jewish Baby Naming Traditions is part of a larger series exploring the basics of Jewish Lifecycles. Jewish tradition is often specific. There are a myriad of Jewish subcultures and people, and the conversations in this series explores the array of choices people make in interpreting ritual today. Learn more about Jewish Wedding traditions, Jewish Mourning Traditions and Jewish Baby Traditions.

Brit Milah: Jewish Traditions for Welcoming a Baby Boy

The Brit Milah (or ‘bris’) is a sign of a baby boy’s covenant with G-d. Watch the video to learn about finding a mohel, what a Brit Milah is all about, and some popular modern spins on this ancient tradition.

Jewish Traditions for Welcoming a Baby Girl

Mazal tov on welcoming a new baby girl into your life, or the life of your community! While there are no specific traditional rituals for welcoming a baby girl into the community, many families have found ways to fill that void. Watch the video to learn about some of the new traditions involved in a Brit Bat, or a Covenant for a Daughter.

Gomel: A Jewish Blessing for New Moms

Having kids is sometimes hard. Giving birth to a baby is REALLY hard. Judaism has a neat ritual to mark getting through the experience. Watch this video to learn the Gomel, a prayer new mothers can say to mark the end of a great accomplishment, and anyone can say after surviving a life threatening situation.

How to Say the Jewish Blessing over Children

This animated short explains how to incorporate a special moment with your kids on Friday night. Whether you bless your child in a traditional way, or add your own twist, it will be a highlight of the week for both of you.

Jewish Questions on Adoption & Surrogacy

Questions can arise about what makes someone Jewish when families blend together or grow through surrogacy or adoption. However you find yourself becoming a parent and raising a child you might get a few questions about what makes a Jewish child Jewish. We have answered a few common questions to help make your parenting path easier for you.

How Parenting Can Become a Spiritual Practice

What was your spiritual life like before you became a parent? Did it change when you became a parent?

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg argues that raising children can be its own form of spiritual practice. Your children can help you reimagine your experience of wonder, prayer and even God.

Watch this short video to learn more.

Looking for a Jewish baby name? There’s an app for that!

Jewish baby names app

Thanks to a partnership between BimBam and Kveller, you can
now search through a fun, free app to find an extensive list of Jewish baby names.

Download the app now.

This project was made possible with generous support from The Koret Foundation, as part of its Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.

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