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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.

Twenty First Street Cemetery

In August of 1829, Shearith Israel’s third cemetery was consecrated.  It was located on Twenty First Street just west of Sixth Avenue

Benjamin N. Cardozo

Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo spoke of the need for the Congregation to maintain its historic traditions and to remain true to the customs and practices of the generations that had come before.