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Are There Jewish Godparents?

Are There Jewish Godparents?

What is Judaism’s take on a godfather or godmother?



My brother told me when his daughter was born that a godparent was not needed.Is that true?


The concept of godparents is Christian in origin. Early in the history of the Church, specific individuals would be appointed to act as “sponsors” to vouch for a child's spiritual purity. The sponsor would be responsible for the spiritual development and religious education of the child—thus the term, “godparent.”

There is no such concept in Judaism. A child's parents are directly responsible for his or her spiritual education. The education of their child is their privilege and obligation. Just like a parent is responsible for the child's physical well-being—shelter, food, clothing—so is the parent responsible for the child's spiritual education.

Bronya Shaffer
For The Judaism

Mrs. Bronya Shaffer is a noted globetrotting lecturer on Jewish women's issues, and serves as a personal counselor and mentor for women, couples and adolescents. Mrs. Shaffer, a responder for’s Ask the Rabbi service, lives with her ten children in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
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Anonymous February 14, 2012

While the term is not used in Judaism, my mother's best friend was present at my birth and she and her husband will be responsible for me in the event of the deaths of both my parents. Reply

Gabe SF, CA January 24, 2012

No, I'd say that kvater is totally unrelated to Godfather ... the honour during a brit milah is to the sandek. The one who holds the baby boy during the milah. Often a grandpa. Reply

YH UK May 28, 2011

I was glad to see this question posted as I was contemplating about my own circumstance and would like to appoint Guradians over my children. Would the term Guardian be more befitting? Reply

Anonymous los angeles, ca May 25, 2011

but the root of the term kvater in yiddish come for the word Gdfather Reply

Nosson Beijing May 25, 2011

The only possibility would be that a parent would appoint a person to be responsible for the child in case of death. The talmud calls this person an aputropus.
He would take on responsibilities only when G-d forbid the parent would pass on. Reply

Axel Berger Odenthal-Heide, Deutschland May 25, 2011

In a time, when many people died young, there was a real risk of children becoming orphans. The godparents also promised to take care when needed. This used to be important, we are very lucky, that mostly it isn't any more. Reply

neil ny May 24, 2011

I believe that the yiddish term "kvatter" ( as at a bris) has its origins in the german term for godfather. Reply