Rabbi Hepner is a cantor, ba’al qe’riah (professional torah reader), and ba’al tekiah (shofar blower), and has led Jewish ritual services since 1993. In addition to zeved ha’bat (זבד הבת, simchat ha’bat baby girl naming ceremonies), he leads high holiday services, delivers sermons, lectures, performs weddings, and conducts Shabbat services. As cantor, he has flown to San Diego, Los Angeles, Hollywood Fl and Las Vegas, while he works primarily in the New York area.
Over the centuries, naming a baby boy and girl has evolved from a pro forma ritual into a more robust religious and meaningful experience. Zeved habat (Hebrew: זֶבֶד הַבָּת – Gift of the Daughter) or Simchat Bat (Hebrew: שמחת בת – Celebration of the Daughter) is the Jewish naming ceremony for newborn girls. The traditional ceremony includes verses from Song of Songs, (Shir Hashirim שיר השירים ), followed by the traditional naming text.
Rabbi Hepner writes: I have arranged an optional ceremony that is even more robust (it could last over twenty minutes), with the intention of including the baby’s mother as an integral part of the ceremony with blessings and gratitude for the Almighty’s benevolence. Such a life cycle event ought to be meaningful and that is the intended purpose.
The pidyon haben (Hebrew: פדיון הבן), or redemption of the first-born son, is one of the 613 mitzvot still performed today, but infrequently observed because so many circumstances need to align to activate the mitzvah. By my estimate, less than 1 out of 24 (of my clients qualify for this rare mitzvah. Pidyon haben is performed on Hebrew-day 31 or later. For example, if a baby is born on a Sunday, the 1st of March (prior to sunset), then the pidyon haben takes place no earlier (but may be celebrated later) than the evening of Monday night, the 30th of March.
Reach out to Rabbi Hepner to find out if this special mitzvah applies to your family.
Rabbi Hepner performs weddings, with the goal of attending to the spiritual and emotional goals of the new couple. Meeting with Rabbi Hepner in person is strongly recommended and welcomed.