THE BIRTH OF A CHILD IN A JEWISH AND MUSLIM FAMILY

THE BIRTH OF A CHILD IN A JEWISH FAMILY

The birth of a girl is celebrated differently from the birth of a boy.

The birth of a girl is accompanied by traditional celebrations for a given community. Custom of Sephardic Jews (Spain, Portugal, North Africa) orders, that a modest celebration would take place in the synagogue, when the child is one month old. The mother then brings them to the Saturday service, and the rabbi blesses the baby and gives him a Hebrew name. Ashkenazi Jews (Central Europe) they organize a modest celebration at home. It is run by a father or a rabbi. He reads the first verses of the Torah and blesses the child. Then he lifts the cradle three times and names the baby.

Usually, family and closest friends gather on this occasion.

Circumcision. The birth of a boy is a cause for great joy. According to religion, a boy should be circumcised on his eighth day of life as a sign of agreement between God and his people. If there are no medical contraindications, circumcision is done at home, sometimes in a synagogue or in a maternity clinic. The rite is accompanied by ceremonial receptions with the participation of family and friends.

A couple selected from friends or relatives accompany the child in circumcision. Persons, to whom such a request has been made, they feel especially distinguished and honored. Often they are members of the immediate family (grandfather, uncle…). But their function comes down to participation in the ceremony. They have no obligations towards the child, they do not have to watch over his spiritual development or assist in his need.

During the ceremony, the child is given a Hebrew name. After circumcision, there is a party, generally quite sumptuous. Then the guests give gifts – clothes, toys, souvenirs… If it's just a group of loved ones, who came to the ceremony at the maternity clinic, that day, they bring only small gifts or flowers to the young mother.

MUSLIM CUSTOMS

After the first week of life, the baby is given a Muslim name, chosen mostly from among the names of the Prophet Muhammad's family. A newborn's head is shaved as a sign of cleansing. There is a modest celebration with family and friends.

Although the Koran does not impose such an obligation, tradition is for little boys to be circumcised. This is usually done, before the child is five years old. The treatment at home is accompanied by joyful fun. All friends and acquaintances are invited and an orchestra is hired. The music is intended to drown out the crying of the baby and soothe the fearful mother.