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Hi, everyone, my name is Rabbi London.

Today, we're going to learn about the Brit Milah and Simchat Bat ritual.

This lesson is going to cover the Jewish circumcision ritual.

If this is a sensitive topic to you, we recommend checking with a trusted adult before starting or doing the lesson, with a trusted adult nearby.

As we're getting ready, today you're going to need to have a pen and paper, or something to write on or with.

At this time, try to turn off any notifications or close any apps if you're able to.

Try to find a space where you're going to have the least amount of distractions.

Today, we're going to learn about the Brit Milah ceremony, ceremony for welcoming in a baby boy into the Jewish community and the Simchat Bat ceremony, the ceremony welcoming in a baby girl into the Jewish community.

As I said today, you're going to need to have a pen or pencil and some paper.

If you don't already have these things, press pause, gather what you need, and press play to begin.

We're going to start off with the Brit Milah ceremony.

Brit Milah literally means the covenant of circumcision.

This is seen as a biblical commandment.

It comes from the Bible.

We'll look at the verse shortly.

The circumcision makes the boy part of God's covenant with Abraham and the Jewish people.

This is a sign, a physical sign, that this child is going to be entering into the covenant.

It represents a physical commitment to God and to God's laws.

The verse comes from Genesis 17:10-14.

This is when God is talking to Abraham and says, "This will be the covenant that you and your children shall keep, every male shall be circumcised.

You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and this will be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.

For every generation, all male children should be circumcised." So according to this verse from Genesis, from the Tenoch, God is telling Abraham, not only are you going to have a circumcision, but this is something that all generations will have.

A Brit Milah will generally happen, when a baby is eight days old.

The ceremony is a festive ceremony.

Most of the time it takes place in synagogue, after morning prayers.

Although, the ceremony can actually take place anywhere.

Usually friends and family and community members are all welcomed into the celebration.

Now let's go into, what does the ceremony look like? So first the baby is brought into the room.

In many cases, the baby might be passed from family member to family member, or to different friends, to really welcome the baby into literally everyone's arms. Eventually the baby will be placed for a moment on what's known as Elijah's chair.

Jewish people remember Elijah the prophet, or Eliahu at every Brit Milah.

Elijah is known as the angel of the covenant and the protector of little children.

According to the rabbis Eliyahu or Elijah, shows up at every single Brit Milah around the world.

The baby will eventually reach the person known as the sandak, which is the person who's going to hold the baby during the circumcision.

Sometimes that's a grandparent or a friend or a rabbi, someone that the family feels close with.

Then, the mohel is the one who's going to do the circumcision.

He is the one who's going to run the ceremony and say most of the blessings and actually do the procedure.

He has extensive training, specifically on how to do circumcisions.

There are in some communities, women who also act as a mohel.

What I'd like you to do is to please pause the video and complete the following task.

I'd like you to write definitions or describe the following terms. One, Brit Milah.

Two, Elijah's chair.

Three, the sandak.

And four, the mohel.

Press play to resume once you're finished.

How'd you do? A Brit Milah is a ceremony to welcome a Jewish baby boy into the community.

Elijah's chair is a chair set aside for Elijah.

Elijah visits every Brit, as he is known as the angel of the covenant.

The sandak is an honour given to a family member, friend, or rabbi.

They are the one who will hold the baby during the circumcision.

And the mohel, the one who does the circumcision and leads the ceremony.

It is a person who goes through special training to do this.

We got to the point where the sandak is holding the baby.

The mohel will then say a blessing, and then does the circumcision.

The mohel then makes a blessing on wine and announces the baby's name.

Up until this point in many communities, many Jewish families will not announce a name until this ceremony.

Some people will call the baby baby or some other nickname that's not related to the baby's actual given name.

The mohel will also say a prayer for the speedy recovery of the baby and the mother.

And then a drop of wine is placed on the baby's tongue.

The community will then say, "Just like he entered the covenant, so he should merit to grow in Torah, marriage, and good deeds.

This is a line from the liturgy, the prayers, that get said at a Brit Milah ceremony.

In some communities, this might sound like he should merit to grow in Torah, in partnership, or love, and good deeds.

The idea is that the community is blessing this baby, that they should be able to grow up in happiness and health, and continue to be part of the community.

I'd like you now to pause the video and complete your task.

Write in complete sentences.

What is a Brit Milah? Press play to resume when you're finished.

What is a Brit Milah? A Brit Milah is the Jewish birth ceremony for boys.

During a Brit Milah, a Jewish boy, baby boy, is circumcised at eight days old to join the Jewish covenant.

What happens to baby girls? I know I'm asking that question.

They don't have a Brit Milah, that much I can tell you.

And there is actually many different customs. And we're going to look at a few together here.

In many Orthodox communities there's actually no formal ceremony.

What does happen is the father will name the baby on the first Monday, Thursday, Shabbat or holiday, after a baby's born.

It happens on these days because those are the days where the Torah is read out loud during the morning services at synagogue.

The father will get an aliyah, get called up to the Torah, and there will be a blessing where he'll give the name of the baby.

And then there's also going to be a blessing said for a speedy recovery for the mother.

In other communities, and sometimes even in the Orthodox community, they'll have a ceremony called either a Brit Bat, or a Simchat Bat.

Simchat Bat means literally rejoicing in the daughter.

This is a ceremony that welcomes the new baby girl into the Jewish community.

As I said, this is a ceremony that's done in the Masorti, Reform, and Liberal communities, and sometimes it's also done in Orthodox communities.

There isn't a set formal way that a Simchat Bat or Brit Bat looks like, but generally this is what it can look like.

It might have all of these aspects or some of these aspects, depending on the family and the community.

Generally, there'll be a prayer welcoming the baby into the room and welcoming the baby into the community.

A blessing of thanksgiving for giving birth and a blessing for the speedy recovery of the mother will be said generally by the mother.

Then the family or the rabbi, or who's ever running the Simchat Bat will read some prayers that are meaningful to the family.

They might wrap the baby in a Tallit.

They might light candles.

And at last, the family will give the baby her name.

And generally there'll be a speech or some comments of why did the parents choose the name that they chose.

I'd like you now to pause the video, to complete the following task.

Write in complete sentences.

Describe in your own words what happens at a Simchat Bat or Brit Bat.

Press resume when you're finished.

Great job.

A Simchat Bat or Brit Bat is the welcoming ceremony to a baby girl into the Jewish community.

There tends to be prayers and welcoming that baby maybe passing her around the room.

Potentially, the community would wrap her in a Tallit.

The mother or parents will say a blessing of thanksgiving and a blessing for a speedy recovery.

And finally, the baby will receive her name.

And usually someone will speak about why that name was chosen.

I'd like you to press pause and complete the following task.

I want you to think and write down in bullet points, or whatever way is easiest and makes the most sense for you.

I want you to think about your name.

Do you know why you received that name? Are you named after someone? What does your name mean? Write down any ideas or things that you know about your name.

When you're finished, press play.

You should take about two minutes on this activity.

So, what'd you come up with? I am so interested to know of what is your name and why do you have it? I know for me, my name, my parents liked it from a baby name book.

And then I also have some Hebrew names that I'm named after my great grandparents.

In many Jewish communities, babies won't get names until the Jewish ceremony takes place.

So that means for a baby boy, the baby boy won't be called their real name, because no one knows it, until the Brit Milah ceremony.

And girls, until they have the formal ceremony of the naming.

Some communities, they'll have a name right away.

Babies might be given two names, a Hebrew name and a secular name.

The Hebrew name will be the name that they would get called up in synagogue services or in Jewish religious rituals.

Their secular name will be what they potentially use all the time.

Sometimes people have names that are the same in both Hebrew and in English.

In Ashkenazi families, families who are from or have ancestry from Eastern Europe, their tradition is that the babies should be named after a relative who is no longer living.

It's a way to keep the memory of that person alive.

And in Sephardic and Mizrahi communities, families who are from, or of ancestry from Spain, Portugal, Northern Africa, they might name the baby after a living relative, as a sign of respect and honour to their elders, whether that's a father or mother or grandfather.

Sometimes parents choose a name from the Bible.

Or sometimes they choose a name because the meaning is something special to them.

Or sometimes there's a meaning of the word that there's a special attribute or characteristic, and they really want their child to have that as part of their identity.

Let's go through a bunch of true and false questions.

In many Jewish communities, a baby will not have a name until the baby ceremony.


In many Jewish communities, the baby will not have a formal name until the baby-naming ceremony.

True or false, Ashkenazi communities have a custom to name children after living relatives? False, Ashkenazi communities have a custom to name children after relatives who have passed away.

Sephardic and Mizrahi communities have a custom of naming children after living relatives.

True or false, a blessing that is said to both baby boys and girls is that they should grow in Torah, marriage, and good deeds.

True, this is a blessing that is said both to baby boys and to baby girls, that they should grow in Torah, marriage, and good deeds.

The Brit Milah is a reminder of the covenant of Sinai, true or false? False, the Brit Milah is a reminder of the covenant with Abraham.

Thank you! You did a terrific job today.

We learned all about the Brit Milah and Simchat Bat ceremonies.

The two ceremonies welcoming in baby boys and baby girls into the Jewish community.

Please now complete the end of the lesson quiz.

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I hope you have a wonderful day and happy learning.