Jewish Initiation

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Information about Jewish Initiation

Published on August 6, 2007

Author: Pravez


Jewish Initiation:  Jewish Initiation Bris / Brit Milah:  Bris / Brit Milah Time: 8 days [beginning at sundown] after child’s birth, even if on Shabbat or a holiday Place: Home Personnel: Mohel Rabbi Sandak Kvatterin Kvatter Slide3:  The service begins when the Mohel calls out 'Kvatter.'  The mother hands the baby to the Kvatterin (godmother). The Kvatterin (godmother) brings the baby into the room in which he will be circumcised and hands him to the Kvatter (godfather). Slide4:  Slide5:  When the baby enters the room in which he will be circumcised, people stand and say 'Baruch HaBa' (May he who cometh be blessed). And the Mohel recites a prayer which mentions the covenant with Abraham. Slide6:  Slide7:  The Mohel takes the baby from the Kvatter and places him on the Sandak's lap. The Sandak sits on a special chair called Keesay shel Eliahu (Chair of Elijah). Elijah is considered the guardian of the child at the circumcision, and thus there is a special chair in his honor.  The Mohel then says, 'This chair is devoted to Elijah the prophet, may his remembrance be for the good.' Slide8:  Slide9:  The Mohel recites the blessing 'Praised by Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with Thy commandments, and commanded us concerning the rite of circumcision.' The circumcision is then performed. Slide10:  Slide11:  The father recites a blessing, 'Praised be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by Thy commandments, and hast bidden us to make him enter into the covenant of Abraham our father.' Sometimes a second blessing is added: 'Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.' Those present respond, 'As he has entered into the covenant, so may he be introduced to the study of Torah, to the wedding canopy, and to good deeds.' Slide12:  The wine is blessed with the following text: 'Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has creates the fruit of the vine.' A little wine is put on the mouth of the baby. A prayer for the well-being of the child and family is recited: 'Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who sanctified the beloved one from the womb, set His statue in his flesh, and sealed his descendants with the sign of the holy Covenant. Therefore, as a reward of this circumcision, the living G-d, our Portion, our Rock, has ordained that the beloved of our flesh be saved from the abyss, for the sake of the Covenant which He has set in our flesh. Blessed are You, Lord, who makes the Covenant.' Slide13:  The baby is given his Hebrew name in this prayer: Our G-d, and the G-d of our fathers, preserve this child for his father and mother, and his name in Israel shall be called ------- the son of --------. May the father rejoice in his child and the mother be joyous with the fruit of her womb as it is written: May your father and mother rejoice, and she who bore you be glad. And it is said: I passed by you and saw you weltering in your blood and I said to you: You shall live through your blood, and I said to you: You shall live through your blood. And it is said, He has remembered his Covenant forever, the word which He has commanded to a thousand generations; the Covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, He established it for Jacob as a statute for Israel as an everlasting Covenant. And it is said: Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as G-d had commanded him. Give thanks to G-d for He is good, for His kindness is eternal. Give thanks to G-d for He is good, for His kindness is eternal. This small infant (insert the name of the child here) grow and become great. As you have come into the Covenant of Abraham, so may you come into Torah, into marriage and into good deeds.' Slide14:  Slide15:  Among Ashkenasic [European] Jews, the child is usually named after a deceased family members; Sephardic [Middle Eastern] Jews in contrast tend to name the child after a living relative. The ceremony is followed by a Seudat Mitzvah. Grace after the meal includes special prayers for the welfare of the child, parents, and Mohel. A certificate is usually given to the family to testify to the performance of the brit milah. Slide16:  Simchat bat:  Simchat bat Time: Most Ashkenazic Jews name a baby girl the first Sabbath after she is born, but it’s acceptable to name her at any Torah reading (the Torah is read Monday and Thursday mornings as well as holidays and the Sabbath). Many Sephardi Jews also name the baby at the Torah reading, but in some Sephardi communities the girl is only named at home. They believe that the mother and baby shouldn’t leave the house for a month and therefore the naming is done at home so both mother and daughter can be present for it. There are also various customs performed to ward off the evil eye. Place: Synagogue or Home Personnel: Father Mother Prayer leader Slide18:  In Ashkenazic custom, the father is called up to the Torah and the child is given her name. A special prayer is also said at this time for the well being of the mother and daughter. The prayer starts off with mentioning the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If the mother is present she says a Thanksgiving Prayer, or her husband can say it on her behalf. In general, the Thanksgiving Prayer is said when one has survived a life threatening situation and delivering a baby falls into this category. Slide19:  In Sephardic custom, Song of Songs 2:14 is recited in addition to the Torah reading: 'At the sea He said to me, ‘O My dove, trapped at the sea as if in the clefts of the rock, the concealment of the terrace. Show Me your prayerful gaze, let Me hear your supplicating voice, for your voice is sweet and your countenance comely.’' If the girl is the first born, an additional verse from Song of Songs is said, chapter 6, verse 9, 'Unique is she, My constant dove, My perfect one. Unique is she, this nation striving for the truth; pure is she to Jacob who begot her. Nations saw her and acclaimed her; queens and concubines, and they praised her.' In contrast to the Ashkenazim’s blessing which begins with the patriarchs, the one by the Sepharadim begins with the matriarchs: Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

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