Traditionally, in Judaism, there’s a ceremony for baby boys, held on the 8th day after birth – a brit milah (a “bris”), or covenant of circumcision. It encompasses both a ritual circumcision, along with a formal baby naming/Judaic welcoming ceremony, and of course, a meal. Up until fairly recently, there hasn’t been the same ceremony for baby girls – there’s been some Shabbat-morning based observances, but nothing quite as communal or celebratory. Thankfully, that’s changed over the past 20-30 years, and there’s now a growing trend of having Simchat Bat ceremonies – or “Rejoicing in the Daughter”. This is much more freeform than the bris – as it’s not a biblically-mandated ceremony, you can make it much more of your own.
Last Thursday (April 30th), we held a Simchat Bat at our home in order to rejoice in Aviva, formally name her as Aviva Tzipora, and welcome her into the Jewish community (and, of course, to introduce her to close friends and family as well as eat!). The size of our living room put a cap on the size, so we apologize post-fact, as we were not able to invite everyone.
The ceremony was pretty special, as we performed the naming blessings while standing under our chuppah for the first time since our wedding – in fact, it was the first time the chuppah had been used since then. It was also extremely inspiring to have Joelle’s dad and my mom read letters to Aviva telling her all about Joelle’s Grandfather Ellis, and my Bubie (Grandmother) Jeannette – Aviva Tzipora’s namesakes. Joelle’s mom provided Aviva with her own kiddish cup to be used for years to come, and it meant the world to me that my grandfather was able to make it into town to perform the K’vater role by bringing Aviva into the room.
We recorded the program in video form (36 minutes long – Thanks Ernie for doing this!), and it’s up at http://averbuch.net/aviva-simchat-bat-video (along with the program – thanks Rabbi Rachel for putting this together and leading everything!). However, as it’s very personal and emotional, I am not posting it quite publically – it’s a password-protected page. Just shoot me or Joelle an email/facebook message/phonecall/etc (keeping in mind that we’re pretty busy taking care of Aviva, so responses might be slow) and we can get you the password if you’d like to view the video.