I didn’t want “just” a naming. It’s incongruous that boys are entered into the covenant and not girls. Friends of ours had a britLit. Covenant. Judaism is defined by the covenant - the contract between the Jewish people and God. God promises to make us abundant and to give us the land of Israel; we promise to obey God's commandments. This covenant begins with Abraham and is reiterated throughout the Torah. A brit milah, literally a covenant of circumcision, is often simply called a brit or bris. for their daughter in front of their house. Brit means covenant, not boy, yet we make that connection. I wanted to separate it.
I’m a Conservative rabbi, and I wanted to include text. Orlah means foreskin in Hebrew–foreskin, heart, lips, and ears. It’s the act of opening or removing a barrier that prevents connection and gets between one and G-d. It was a ceremony to mark the fact that our daughter would relate to G-d without barriers.
I have a Syrian background, so I took Henna, the Moroccan wedding tradition, and marked her with it in those three places [heart, lips, and ears]. I opened with words from songs about connecting with the SephardicJews of Spanish descent; sometimes used to describe Jews of North-African and Middle-Eastern descent. The term also describes the customs and practices of these Jews, often in comparison to those of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews. traditions. Then I washed the henna off with water. I used language from Jeremiah about the image of G-d and a young girl. I looked at traditional ceremonies and the Bible, but developed the Henna covenant myself.
We also used some of the traditional brit milahLit. Covenant of circumcision. As a sign of the covenant, God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and his descendants. An infant boy is circumcised on the eighth day of his life, often at home or in synagogue. A festive meal follows. boy language in the ceremony for my daughter. People don’t come up with ceremonies in a vacuum–others informed my process. It was developed in Hevrutah [partnership] with my husband, some female friends, and a rabbi.
It’s a very powerful thing to come up with a new ritual. It would be wonderful to have workshops where women got together to come up with new ceremonies. Rituals and ancient text have an ancient power. If I hadn’t used ancient texts I don’t think the ceremony would have been as powerful. My husband and I led it. It’s a blur now. Everyone remarked, “It’s just like a brisLit. Covenant. Judaism is defined by the covenant - the contract between the Jewish people and God. God promises to make us abundant and to give us the land of Israel; we promise to obey God's commandments. This covenant begins with Abraham and is reiterated throughout the Torah. A brit milah, literally a covenant of circumcision, is often simply called a brit or bris..” My daughter cried. It felt like the affirmation of a Jewish girl into the community and the covenant. It felt authentic to me.
It’s powerful that a girl will be wrapped up in the text and affirmed in the covenant. When the textual and feminist elements come together it’s the most powerful expression of Judaism. It felt old and new at the same time. We used a cup of MiriamMiriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance. in the ceremony. My parents had been waiting a long time for a grandchild. I’m an only child and my husband is too. So my parents went all out. It was a big event in every sense. Our daughter was born on Rosh HodeshThe new moon, which marks the beginning of the Jewish month. According to tradition, because women did not participate in the sin of the golden calf, they were given the holiday of Rosh Chodesh. It is customary for women not to work on Rosh Chodesh., ShabbatShabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends., and HanukkahThe holiday which celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following its conquest by the Syrians in 165 BCE. The holiday is celebrated by lighting candles in a hanukiyah oon each of eight nights. Other customs include the eating of fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts), playing dreidl (a gambling game with a spinning top), and, in present day America, gift giving.. We held the naming on the following Rosh Hodesh.
If we ever have a boy, I want to have a brit milah with a larger component about the barriers and the covenant.”
Read Diane Cohler Esses’ babynaming ceremony for her daughter, “The Brit of Ayelet Kalila Vivianne Cohler-Esses.” on ritualwell.org.