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Section 21:
Jewish Childrearing Related Questions

Introduction to the Jewish Childrearing FAQ

21.1 Entering the Covenant

  1. What is circumcision?
  2. Why are Jewish boys circumcised?
  3. Who performs the circumcision?
  4. When is the circumcision done?
  5. But doesn't it hurt?
  6. But shouldn't the child make its own decision?
  7. But circumcision is only required for boys. What about girls?
  8. What are our options for welcoming our new baby girl?
  9. Can we hold a welcoming ceremony on the 8th day for a girl?
  10. What is a pidyon haben?
  11. When is a pidyon haben required?
  12. What about babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth with respect to pidyon haben?
  13. What about an adopted child?
  14. Does Judaism have a tradition of Godparents?
  15. Is Circumcision required for a boy to be Jewish?
  16. What are the Halachic requirements regarding buring of the umbilical cord or foreskin?

21.2 Naming

  1. What are the Ashkenazi customs regarding the naming of children?
  2. But my grandmother was named (insert old-fashioned out of use name here? No one uses that name today? How do I name after that relative?
  3. Is it appropriate to name a child after a relative of the opposite sex?
  4. Is it appropriate for multiple children (i.e. cousins) to be named after the same relative?
  5. My spouse has a living relative with the same name as my deceased relative. Can we name our children after my relative?
  6. What are the Sephardi customs regarding the naming of children?
  7. What about babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth?
  8. Are there any distinctly non-Jewish names?

21.3 Playtime

  1. Can I let my kid swim on Shabbat?
  2. Can I let my kid play in the sandbox on Shabbat?
  3. Can children play sports such as Soccer on Shabbat?
  4. What is appropriate dress for swimming?
  5. Can my kid play with Playdough during Pesach?

21.4 Eating

  1. Where can I find kosher baby food?
  2. Where can I find kosher for passover baby food?

21.5 Holidays

  1. What are good activities for children for the major Jewish holidays?

21.6 Schooling

  1. How do I determine the right type of religious program: day school vs. afterschool?
  2. How are teachers in Chasidic schools trained?

21.7 B'nai Mitzvah

  1. What is a bar/bat mitzvah?
  2. What's a good gift for a b'nai mitzvah?
  3. What is appropriate dress to wear to the b'nai mitzvah ceremony?
  4. What are the characteristics of a good b'nai mitzvah program?
  5. How do I select a good b'nai mitzvah tutor?
  6. I need to speak at my child's bar/bat mitzvah? What do I say?

21.8 Other childhood lifecycle rituals

  1. I've heard of a ceremony called "Consecration". What is it?
  2. I've heard of a ceremony called "Confirmation". What is it?
  3. What is Upsherin? I know it relates to the cutting of the hair of boys at age 3, but tell me more.
  4. I've been invited to a Bat Barakah. What is it?

21.9 Coping with other religions

  1. My child says all of his friends have Christmas Trees, and he wants one too. What do I say?
  2. My child's non-Jewish grandparents have asked her to help trim the tree. What do I do?
  3. My child has been invited to an Easter Egg roll? What do I do?
  4. My child has been invited to the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn? What do I do?

21.10 Growing Older

  1. My child wants to start dating? How do I ensure proper behavior?
  2. My child wants a tattoo. What forms of body modification are allowed? Tattoos? Earrings?
  3. When do I need to start worrying about issues of modesty?

21.11 Resource References

  1. I need some information on Jewish Genetic Diseases. Where do I start?
  2. Are there any recommended online resources on Jewish Childrearing or specifically for Jewish children?

Special Credits for the Jewish Childrearing FAQ

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