Below is an ascii and html copy of the pamphlet we put together for Leora's naming. All the Hebrew has been omitted. At the end is a bit of an explanation of what we did and why.

Outline of the service (not part of the original)

Seder Zeved HaBat

Ceremony for Welcoming a Daughter

24 August 1996

10 Elul 5756


                        (Hebrew omitted)

All: Behold, God is my salvation.  I trust and am not afraid, for
     LORD Eternal is my strength and song, and He is become my
     liberation.  Therefore with joy shall you draw water from
     wells of salvation.  Thine, O LORD, is salvation; Thy
blessing be
     on Thy people.  Selah.  LORD of hosts, be with us, God of
     be our high refuge.  Selah.  LORD of hosts, happy the man
     trusts in Thee.  LORD, save us, may the King answer us on
the day
     when we call.  The Jews had light and gladness, joy and
     So may it be with us.  I will lift the cup of salvation and
     proclaim the name of the LORD.

                         Lift the cup of wine.

Blessed art thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who
creates the
fruit of the vine.

                       Do not drink the wine yet.

                      (Hebrew omitted)

Blessed art thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who
fragrant spices.

                          Smell the spices.  
     Hold your fingers up against the light of the havdalah

                      (Hebrew omitted)

Blessed art thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who
creates the
lights of fire.

                      (Hebrew omitted)

Blessed art thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who makes
distinction between sacred and secular, light and darkness,
Israel and
other peoples, the seventh day and the six days of the week. 
art thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who makes a
between sacred and secular.

           Drink some wine.  Extinguish the candle in the wine.

              If the moon is not visible, read the following
                      and skip the Birkat HaLevanah.
     May Almighty God bless thee, make thee fruitful and multiply
     that thou become a gathering of peoples.  And may he give
     the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee,
     thou mayest inherit the land of thy dwelling which God gave

     Mayest thou have blessing from The God of thy father, who
     help thee, And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee, With
     blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that
     beneath, Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.  The
     blessings of thy father Are mighty beyond the blessings of
     progenitors Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
     shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head
     the prince among his brethren.

     Blessed shalt thou be in the city and blessed shalt thou be
     the field.  Blessd shalt thou be when thou comest in and
     shalt thou be when thou goest out.  Blessed shall be thy
     and thy kneading trough.

     May the LORD open unto thee His goodly treasury, the
heavens, to
     give thee rain in its season for thy land, and to bless all
     work of thy hand.

Birkat HaLevanah

Blessing of the Moon

                     Go outdoors and look at the moon.

All: Blessed art Thou, LORD our God, Ruler of the universe.  By
     word Thou didst create the heavens, and by Thy whisper all
     host.  Thou hast subjected them to their periodic laws, so
     they should be constant in their functioning, rejoicing in
     gladness to fulfill the will of their creator.  As true as
     their Maker, so faithful is His work.  He ordained that the
     should each month be renewed, shining as a glorious diadem,
     men bearing the burdens of life a symbol of hope that they
     may be reborn to new life, to proclaim the glory of their
     Creator's dominion.

                         (Hebrew omitted)

     Blessed art thou, LORD who renews the months.

Leader: May the new moon herald an auspicious month for us and
        Israel.  Blessed be its omnipotent Creator.

                        Reach out toward the moon.

All: Were we with our utmost effort to spring toward the moon, we
     could not touch it.  So, if men have evil intentions towards
     may they not come nigh unto us.  "May restraining fear
     them.  Before Thy saving power may they be still as a
     Yes, still as a stone may they be before Thy saving power.

Leader: David King of Israel ever lives, as it is written, "His
        shall be permanent like the sun before Me, it shall be
        established for ever as the moon and as a faithful
        in heaven."

All: "Create a pure heart for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit
     within me."

Psalm 121.  A Song of Ascents

I turn my eyes to the mountains;
     from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
     maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot give way;
     your guardian will not slumber;
See, the Guardian of Israel
     neither slumbers nor sleeps!
The LORD is your guardian,
     the LORD is your protection at your right hand.
By day the sun will not strike you,
     nor the moon by night.
The LORD will guard you from all harm;
     He will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your going and coming
     now and forever.

Psalm 150

Praise God in His sanctuary;
     praise Him in the sky, His stronghold.
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
     praise him for His exceeding greatness.
Praise Him with blasts of the horn;
     praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;
     praise Him with lute and pipe.
Praise Him with resounding cymbals;
     praise him with loud-clashing cymbals.
Let all that breathes praise the LORD.

In the school of Rabbi Ishmael it was taught: had Israel merited
other privilege than greeting the presence of their heavenly
once a month (by reciting the benediction over the new moon),
would be contented!  Abbaye said: Therefore (since it is a
greeting of
God's presence), we must recite it standing.

Birkat HaGomel

Thanksgiving for Recovery

                         (Hebrew omitted)                  

Blessed art Thou, LORD our God, ruler of the universe.  Thou
blessings on the undeserving, for on me thou hast Thou bestowed

All: God, blessed and exalted above all blessings and praise, has
     bestowed on thee His goodly favor, love and grace.  May He
in His
     love ever guard thee henceforth and grant thee all good.

Zeved HaBat

Gift of a Daughter

New parents:   "My dove in the rocky clefts,
               In the covert of terrace high,
               Let me see your countenance,
               Let me hear your voice,
               For sweet is your voice
               And your countenance lovely."

               "One alone is my dove,
               my perfect, my only one,
               love of her mother,
               light of her mother's eyes.
               Every maiden calls her happy,
               queens praise her, and all the king's women."

                          (Hebrew omitted)
Leader: May he who blessed our mothers Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and
        Leah, Miriam the prophetess, Abigail, and Esther the
        bless also this darling babe.  At this favorable moment
        blessing may her name be called (Hebrew omitted)
        daughter of (Hebrew omitted).  May He bless her to
        up in peace, health and happiness.  May He give to her
        the joy of seeing her happily married, a radiant mother
        children, rich in honor and joy to a ripe old age.  May
        be the will of God, and let us say Amen.

                           (Hebrew omitted)
Leader:   The LORD bless you and keep you.
          The LORD make His countenance shine upon you and be
          unto you,
          The LORD lift up His countenance toward you
          And give you peace.

                           (Hebrew omitted)
Blessed are you, LORD our God, ruler of the universe, who has
us life and sustenance and permitted us to reach this season.

Psalm 128.  A Song of Ascents.

Happy are all who fear the LORD,
     who follow His ways.
You shall enjoy the fruits of your labors;
     you shall be happy and you shall prosper.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house;
     your children, like olive saplings around your table.
So shall the man who fears the LORD be blessed.

May the LORD bless you from Zion;
     may you share the prosperity of Jerusalem
     all the days of your life,
     and live to see your children's children.
May it be well with Israel!

                           Exchange greetings.

Shalom Aleichem!
Aleichem Shalom!


Birnbaum, Philip, tranns.  Daily Prayer Book [Ha-Siddur
New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949.

     Talmud Sanhedrin 42a

Bloch, Ariel and Bloch, Chana, trans.  The Song of Songs.  New
Random House, 1995.

     Song of Songs 6:9

Jewish Publication Society.  The Book of Psalms: A New
According to the Traditional Hebrew Text.  Philadelphia: The
Publication Society of America, 1972.

     Psalms 121, 128, and 150

Jewish Publication Society.  The Holy Scriptures According to the
Masoretic Text: A New Translation. Philadelphia: The Jewish
Publication Society of America: 1955.

     Genesis 49:25-26

Orenstein, Debra, ed.  Lifecycles: Jewish Women on Life Passages
Personal Milestones, Vol. 1.  Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights
Publishing, 1994.

     Zeved HaBat

Pool, David De Sola, ed. and trans.  Book of Prayers According to
Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Second Edition.  New
Union of Sephardic Congregations, 1992.

     Seder Zeved HaBat; Birkat HaLevanah; Birkat HaGomel

United Jewish Appeal.  Book of Songs and Blessings, Revised
New York: United Jewish Appeal: 1982.

     Havdalah; Blessing of the Kohanim; Shehecheyanu


This ceremony was devised for the naming of our firstborn daughter, Leora Rose Priest-Dorman. "Arise, shine, for your light has dawned, God's radiance shines upon you!" (Isaiah 60:1)

Through the planning of this ceremony we were striving toward a consistent spiritual and emotional parity with the circumcision ceremony that we did not feel the traditional Ashkenazi girl's naming could offer. Yet rather than devise something out of whole cloth, or adapt one of the many recently created ceremonies for naming a girl child, we hoped to find somewhere in the vast corpus of Jewish liturgy a ceremony whose weight of history and tradition somehow felt right for us.

In our search we were especially influenced by Laura Geller's essay, "Brit Milah and Brit Banot," in Rabbi Orenstein's edited volume on Jewish life passages. Her penetrating analysis of the structure and symbolism of brit milah, followed by several suggestions for appropriate equivalent ceremonies and the timing of a girl's naming, shaped our thinking on the matter more than any other source we consulted. Through her essay we became aware of the Sephardic girl's naming ritual, Seder Zeved HaBat, which met our needs for a ceremony solidly grounded in Jewish history that also expressed the sense of joy and wonder we felt at being parents of a girl-child. In timing the Zeved HaBat for the occasion of Birkat HaLevanah, we felt we had achieved the perfect balance of traditional Jewish ritual with the almost universal human equation of women and the cycles of the moon. The fact that Birkat HaLevanah for the month of Elul fell on her thirty-first day of life contributed to the appropriateness of this timing, as it permitted us to be mindful of the traditional Jewish belief that children were not viable until they had lived thirty days.

We are thankful you could share our joy in this celebration.

Greg and Carolyn Priest-Dorman
Poughkeepsie, New York

May you live to see your world fulfilled,
may your destiny be for worlds still to come,
and may you trust in generations past and yet to be.

Berakhot 17a

This page was writen using emacs 19.33 and psgml mode with an html3.2 dtd. If you have any questions or comments about it, please send them to: No Soliciting!

This page last was mucked with on 10/31/96

Back to: Leora's home page | CS Home Page | CS Search