Jewish Birth and Naming Rituals


The Importance of Names in Judaism

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In Judaism, on the first Sabbath after a child is born, the infant's father is called forward at the synagogue to recite the aliyah and ask blessings for the health of mother and child. If the child is a girl, she is named at this time. Boys will be named on the eighth day after birth, as part of the rite of circumcision.

Jewish children living outside of Israel are traditionally given a Hebrew name for use in rituals, such as the calling up to the aliyah (benedictions) and the ketubah (marriage contract), and a secular name for purposes of civil birth records and daily use.

The Hebrew name takes the form of "[child's name] bar [father's name]" for boys, or "[child's name] bat [father's name]" for girls. The name itself has no religious significance, and while it is often a Hebrew or Yiddish name, it can be a name from any language or culture. Ashkenazi Jews traditionally name their children after a deceased relative.

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