Mother's mother carries child in. Father's mother, the sandeket (female grandparent who holds the baby during the ceremony), is seated and holds child throughout most of the ceremony. Everyone else stands.
Part I - Introductory Blessings and Prayers
MOTHER: Ba-ruch Ha-bah (blessed is the one who comes) Blessings
In every birth, blessed is the wonder.
In every creation, blessed is the new beginning.
In every child, blessed is life.
In every hope, blessed is the potential.
In every transition, blessed is the beginning.
In every existence, blessed are the possibilities.
In every love, blessed are the tears.
In every life, blessed is the love.
FATHER: This Bris Shalom, Hebrew for Greeting or Welcoming Covenant, is our naming and welcoming ceremony for our child, . In following at least part of ancient Jewish custom, we mark the beginning of our commitment to raise him in the Jewish tradition culturally. We invite you--in a few minutes--to also share any blessings or well wishes for .
MOTHER: We are gathered here today, to welcome the first baby born in our families in this new millennium. Today we have a profound and unprecedented insight into our humanity, we now know that each of us is fully human from the moment we are born, able to feel and remember all the richness of each and every moment's experience.
FATHER: We wish to recognize some of the people who will be important in his life:
His uncles, aunts, and cousins.
He also has two godparents who can't be here today…
Honored relative lights candles.
Bubbe says the blessing over candles:
Ba-ruch a-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam, bo-rei m'o-rei ha-eish.
Let us bless the Source of All, Who creates the illuminations of the flame.
MOTHER: There is a new light in our hearts and in our home.
These candles celebrate the birth of our child. One candle for each of his parents. A third for his sibling, . And we kindle a fourth for , the new life in our family.
FATHER: Out of the creative darkness of the womb he has come.
MOTHER: These candles celebrate his emergence into light.
FATHER: Blessed is the woman who bears a child, for she knows how love covers pain.
MOTHER: Blessed is the man who fathers a child, for he makes a bridge between earth and heaven.
MOTHER and FATHER: Child of light, you know not yet the love and joy overflowing from our hearts.
ALL say Kiddush.
MOTHER: Ba-rukh kol khai ba-olam
Precious is every living thing in the world
B'ru-kheem ha-kha-yeem ba-adam
Precious is the life of humankind.
FATHER: In addition to symbolizing the fruit of our union, we drink wine to follow age-old traditions.
FATHER and MOTHER drink from cup and give child a taste. (FATHER dips a finger into the cup and wets child's lips with wine.)
FATHER: With each child the world begins anew. By this ceremony your mother and I formally welcome you to our world and our family. As we name you today, our sweet son, we undertake our traditional responsibilities as your parents to take you forward into the world as we know it, to love you, to guide you, to educate you, and to cherish you. You are whole, complete, and perfect. We promise you, before our family gathered here today in your honor, to do our very best for you each and every day hereafter.
FATHER and MOTHER say Dedication to the Covenant.
FATHER and MOTHER: , as you begin your journey through life, we pray that you will find sustenance in ma-yim cha-yim, the living waters which Judaism offers to all who draw from the well of this tradition. May we learn and grow in these traditions together.
Part III--The Name, Readings, and Conclusion
MOTHER: As we prepare to give you your name, we wrap you in this tallis (prayer shawl).
FATHER explains background of name.
MOTHER: We invite guests and family to share thoughts, blessings, well wishes.
All family members: , all of us bless you and pray that you, together with us, share a life of wholeness and hopefulness and peace. Amen.
Part IV--S'udat Mitzvah, the Celebratory Meal
FRIEND says Hamotzi.
Let us bless the Source of All, Who provides us with the staff of life.
MOTHER: Bread is the symbol of sustenance and honey the sign of sweetness. We dip the bread in honey in hope that our daily strivings will be sweetened by our love for each other. Please share bread and honey with us symbolically to wish a sweet life.
Submitted by Brenda Platt
The Guide to Birth Ceremonies for Interfaith Families is also available in PDF or Word formats.