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Zeved Habat

 

Since the medieval period, Sephardic Jews have held ceremonies in honor of the birth of baby daughters. At Shearith Israel, the ceremony for naming a baby girl is known as Zeved Habat—the gift of a daughter.

 

For many years, the Zeved Habat has been observed as a simple baby naming. The baby’s father is called to the Torah on a Shabbat morning following the baby’s birth. At the conclusion of the Aliyah, the Hazzan recites a special blessing, beginning with verses from the Song of Songs, and then announces the baby’s Hebrew name chosen by the parents. It is customary for the family to sponsor a kiddush after services in honor of the new baby, and to share their happiness with the community.

 

In recent years, the Zeved Habat has been observed in more elaborate ways, depending on the wishes of the family. These ceremonies have taken place at home or in the synagogue, and have involved the recitation of Psalms and blessings, short talks by the parents, and words of congratulations by the Rabbi.

 

Parents of baby daughters should feel free to consult with the Rabbi to discuss the ceremony that would be most meaningful and joyous to them.

Maud Nathan

Maud Nathan (1862-1946) was founder and first President of the Sisterhood of Shearith Israel, established in 1896.  

1896
Chatham Square Cemetery

The oldest of our extant cemeteries is known as the Chatham Square Cemetery.  It is located in Chinatown at 55 St. James Place.  The land was originally purchased in 1682 by Joseph Bueno de Mesquita. 

1682