Starting a Family

In contemporary homes, starting a family is often a deliberate choice. The experience of pregnancy, the drama of giving birth, and the miracle of adoption are occasions for joy and wonder. These are also experiences that can be fraught with pain and struggle, reflecting the full spectrum of life and death. We offer prayers for those who are trying to conceive, prayers for pregnancy and childbirth, rituals for parents preparing to adopt, mourning ceremonies for miscarriages, blessings for those struggling with infertility, rituals to prepare for or acknowledge an abortion, and much more. 


Celebrating Pregnancy

By Michelle Klein
Describes the customs of Sephardic Jews who celebrated a woman's first pregnancy by cutting the swaddling clothes at a festive gathering of women   more
Ritual Component

Tags: Sephardi


By Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l
A poem that likens the womb's circles to other circles within Judaism   more


By Rachel Boimwall
A contemporary poem on the desire to conceive   more

Tags: conception

The Bath

By Lynn E. Levin
A contemporary poem that addresses "the stain" of blood which, when trying to get pregnant, "becomes a sign of failure, of sadness, of emptiness, of death"   more

Tags: conception