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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q21.1.6 TOC Q21.1.8 >

Question 21.1.7:
Entering the Covenant: But circumcision is only required for boys. What about girls?


Judaism does not practice female circumcision. However, there are many traditions that have arise related to the birth of a girl:

The more liberal movements have developed other ceremonies. There is an excellent book on the subject by Anita Diamant. Another good reference is Lifecycles Volume 1 : Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones, which includes material from Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist contributors. It was edited by Debra Orenstein, and is available from Jewish Lights Publications in Vermont.

The Simchat Bat/ Brit Bat / Brit HaHayim is increasingly appearing in Modern Orthodoxy has well. A Simchat Bat ceremony is now in the Rabbinical Council of America's [Orthodox] Rabbi's manual. This ceremony is based on traditional Jewish forms.

The Rabbinical Assembly [Conservative] has included the Simchat Bat rite in its new rabbi's manual. As the ceremony is still evolving, the RA's manual presents, within a common religious ceremony, three options that parents may choose to perform: (A) Lighting seven candles (symbolizing the seven days of creation) and holding the baby towards them; (B) Wrapping the baby in the four corners of a tallit; (C) Lifting the baby and touching her hands to a Torah scroll. A detailed article on this topic can be found at:

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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