When my husband read an early draft of this essay, he asked, "Why doesn't her partner have to support our daughter? After all, they agreed to raise children as Jews." What does it mean to raise a Jewish child?Go To Parenting
We do not know who we were before we were born, and we do not know where we go after our life is over, but we do know that in this life, we are gifted with a body. And now, it will be through your five bodily senses that we welcome you into the covenant:
The blessing of sight:
(Action: Light 2 candles)
Light is the symbol of spirit, of knowledge, of hope, of warmth and of peace.
Let us bless the Source of Light, who creates light and mystery in the flames.
The blessing of taste:
(Action: Give baby sip of wine)
Water is created directly by God. But to make wine involves a partnership between God and people. God provides the fruit that we transform into wine, which, when used wisely, can lift our spirits. May you take what God provides and make it holy.
Let us bless the Source of Life, who creates the fruit of the vine, symbol of holiness and joy.
The blessing of hearing:
(Action: Ring a chime, bell)
The central prayer in Jewish spirituality is the Shema, which means "listen." It is when we listen to each other, really listen, that we can transcend what seems to divide us, and discover the unity at the heart of reality.
May the Source of Sound caress your ears and fill your heart with words of blessing.
The blessing of smell:
(Action: Let baby smell fragrant flowers)
The sense of smell unites us with our breath and connects us to our soul.
May the One Who Creates Fragrances gift you with awareness of and connection to the wisdom of your soul.
The blessing of touch:
(Action: Dip hands in water)
When travelers came to the tent of Abraham and Sarah, they were welcomed with water to wash their face, their hands and their feet. As we dip your hands into this water, we pray that just as you have come in to a world of welcome, so may you offer the blessing of welcome to others who come into your lives.
Let us bless the Welcoming One who touches us with the knowledge that wherever we are, it is home.
-adapted from "Awakening of the Five Senses" in Brit Shomrei HaMachzorim
Submitted by Rabbi Brian Field
Blessing over the Candles:
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-esh
Praised are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who creates the fire's light.
Blessing over the Wine:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p'ri hagafen.
Praised are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessing over the Spicebox:
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei minei b'samim
Praised are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who creates many kinds of spices.
Submitted by Lesley Williams