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Jewish Practices & Rituals: Welcoming Baby Girls Into The Faith

Judaism does not practice female circumcision; however, many traditions have arisen related to the birth of a girl.

Commonly, girls are welcomed into the covenant through a naming ceremony held in the synagogue. A baby girl is traditionally named the first time the father attends a synagogue after the birth. After the reading of the Torah portion and the naming, candies are showered on the father and the congregation shouts, Mazel Tov.

In liberal congregations, a number of new ceremonies have been developed to symbolically parallel the Brit, including the ceremonial washing of the infant's feet, based on Sarah washing the feet of Abraham, and the recitation of prayers paralleling the seven blessings of the wedding ceremony. These ceremonies usually take place in the home, anywhere between 7 days and 30 days after the birth of the daughter. In Israel, they are often held in a hall, as the whole family and most of the community are invited. A public naming is often held at the synagogue approximately 30 days after the birth of the infant.

The Reform movement has developed a ritual for naming a girl called brit ha-hayim (covenant of life).

Sources: Shamash