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Welcoming a Baby Daughter

“When a son is born, every Jewish parent knows what ceremony will welcome him into the community . . . the brit milah, the circumcision ceremony. It is not as clear what to do to welcome a daughter, and that is both our challenge and our opportunity,” writes Debra Nussbaum Cohen in Celebrating Your New Jewish Daughter: Creating Jewish Ways to Welcome Baby Girls into the Covenant (Jewish Lights, $18.95). As this book correctly points out, the fact that there is no fixed ritual for ushering in Jewish daughters means that parents have the freedom to create more personal, creative celebrations.

This book provides a range of possible ceremonies through which to welcome baby girls into their Jewish identity, from ritual immersions to tree-planting celebrations. There are also options for more traditional Jews, who may prefer to honor their daughters with classical Jewish blessings of thanksgiving and praise.

Whether they are inspired by the zeved habat (a Sephardic ceremony for welcoming newborn girls) or by the brit melach (a contemporary ritual using salt to represent the Covenant), parents are sure to find ideas for marking the arrival of their new Jewish daughters.