A new baby born into any family is a very happy time, and in the Jewish faith another reason to have a family celebration. Friends and family of the baby girl gathers for a celebration called a Zevad Habat. This name is also called a Brita, and means the naming ceremony of newborn baby girl. For many years, the father of the baby girl would just announce his newborn daughter’s name in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah.
However in more recent times, it’s more of a celebration, where the baby girl is celebrated for her arrival into the world, and being a new member of the family. The popularity of a formal naming ceremony for a girl, has really found a reassurance in the 20th Century. Some families elect to sponsor a kiddish (Sabbath meal) at their synagogue after the Friday services. In some cases this is down after Saturday morning services, and in addition to the synagogue members attending, friends and family members of the new baby girl also attends.
Sometimes this ceremony is referred to as a Brit Bat, a variation of the Bat Mitzvah, which is a coming of age ceremony for Jewish girls when they are 12. Unlike when a baby boy is born, there is no set time when a baby girl must be named according to the Torah. When baby boys are born, they must be formally named on day eight of their life. Although there is no set time for the naming of girls, the ceremony generally takes place within the first two weeks of the baby girl’s life. These traditions centered around naming Jewish baby girls, as gone through some changes through the years In Germany for instance, right around the turn of the century, the naming ceremonies of both boys and girls, took place in the synagogue, after the Sabbath services on the first Friday after the birth.
It was quite a festive event, with the cradles being ornately decorated, and lifted above the people seated in the temple. The guests would say, ‘Hollekreisch’, which is German and means, ‘what will you name the baby.’