Is it a girl? Is it a boy? What difference does it make, as long as they're healthy, right?
When a new baby comes into this world, everyone is overjoyed; the closer you are to the baby, the better - parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends, all just looking for a chance to squeeze and cuddle their new family member, and to get them adorable little clothes like this Hug Sameach onesie.
But with a new baby come many responsibilities - we're not talking about the minor and insignificant things like feeding and changing… we're talking about the parties!
A baby boy means an 8 day countdown until we get a chance to dress up, hug our loved ones, take some nice photos and buy the baby gifts to last a lifetime, like this gorgeous little kiddush cup..
With a baby girl, it's really up to the parents to decide when they want to present their new bundle of joy to everyone.
But one thing is a given - the baby's name (see what we did there?)!
Some parents know what they're going to name their baby plenty of time before the baby's born.
Some can't make up their mind right up until it's time to announce the name, but many go for the "Meet and Greet" method -
With Meet and Greet, you list a few naming options you like, and when the baby comes, you try these out and see how it goes. No pressure, the baby's name is only going to be with them for the rest of their life.
Now, let's discuss a few important matters -
Well, the gist of it is that we do it because Avraham Avinu did it.
But seriously, all jewish men follow the act of our Patriarch Avraham, who was the first to hear Hashem and speak to him.
Hashem ordered our leader Avraham, and all men of the jewish tribe who followed, to mark themselves as a part of the people. The biggest commitment one can take on, is the kind that's marked in the flesh. There's no escaping it.
So at the age of 8 days for a healthy baby, we have the traditional ceremony of removing the foreskin, praying, welcoming the baby into the jewish people, and naming him, mostly so we'd have an excuse to get this cute naming certificate.
The Bris can be performed by a Mohel or a certified Dr, or of course, someone who is both a Mohel and a Dr..
Parents can choose whether to throw a big party around it, or simply to have the procedure done with a small group of their loved ones around, just enough people to say the prayer. Whatever they choose, they'll be thrilled to get lovely gifts from our Bris and Baby Naming category.
Girl parents have it easy in comparison to Boy parents, at least party wise -
There's no tradition mandated ceremony, and it's totally up to the Girl parents to decide if they'd like to throw a party or not.
In case they choose to have a party, many people refer to it as a Brita - same as Brit, but in the Hebrew feminine form.
Parents who choose to hold a Brita, usually take their time to convalesce beforehand, a privilege Boy parents don't have, as the Brit is strictly held on the 8th day after the birth of a healthy baby.
Since baby girls are usually slightly older by the time they're introduced to the worlds, their loved ones already know their name, and have a chance to get them a filled out Baby Naming Certificate.
Announcing the name is really the main event of a Bris - that moment when everyone stops talking to hear the Mohel excitedly call out the name. A Brita usually lacks that part of the fun, but it's still a great occasion to hold or attend, since it's the first time everyone meets the new baby and gets them unforgettable gifts like the Chai stud earrings.
It's not as bad as you think :)
If this is your first circumcised child, we see you. It's stressful. You don't know what's ahead.
Up until now, you attended many Bris parties as a guest and probably remember the quiche more than anything else. Attending, or actually hosting the Bris as the parent of the circumcised baby is entirely different. It's not easy, but take a deep breath and it will be over faster than you think.
Surround yourself with the people you love and who can help you feel relaxed, so that you can pacify your baby. That's your top priority, to be there for your child. It just so happens that you're awesome at doing that, so clear your mind and hug your sweet baby.
In the past, the Bris was a far less pleasant act. It was never dangerous because the foreskin is a piece of skin that is easily removed without much risk. But still, before we had disinfectants and pain medicine, it was not as light a procedure as it is today.
Today, and please keep this in mind if you're a first time parent - it's not as bad as you think.
Remember that the parents are probably exhausted, mere days after coming back from the hospital with a new baby. Bear with them, wrap them with love, try to help as much as you can by bringing over food, doing the laundry and helping with older children, the siblings of the newborn. The older children may all of a sudden feel they're unjustly thrown out of the spotlight, so keep them in mind and show them they're still your favorites, with a congratulatory baseball, a nice bracelet or a whimsical book.
It takes a village, and this is your chance to be a part of a supportive village for this growing family.
Don't miss this Elephant Kiddush Cup, because children should not grow up without one. Look at how cute it is!
A picture frame decorated with shiny animals is a great piece for the baby's room, especially if you take the time to print one the myriad baby photos you received and place it inside the frame. The parents will really appreciate the gesture as getting around to printing baby pictures is probably on top of their endless to do list.
Last but definitely not least, are Bris essentials - a clothing set in white and blue, complete with a tiny kippah that will make everyone go "awwww". And a blue bris pillow case, may it be part of many Bris to come.
All that's left now is to wish the family Mazal Tov, and lots of Nachas, from all of us here at Shalom House.