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Sample Non-Cutting Naming Ceremony #1

 

Return to the Guide to Birth Ceremonies for Interfaith Families.

 

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 grandparents.

His uncles, aunts, and cousins.

He also has two godparents who can't be here today…

Candle lighting

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.)

 

Part II--Covenant

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.

Female version of the Hebrew word "sandek," which means ?godfather,? the word is specific to the role of holding the baby during a brit milah ceremony. Hebrew for "commandment," it has two meanings. The first are the commandments given in the Torah. ("You should obey the mitzvah of honoring your parents!") The second is a good deed. ("Helping her carry her groceries home was such a mitzvah!") A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
Yiddish for "prayer shawl," a ritual item that is worn and has knotted fringes (tzitzit) attached to the four corners. Yiddish for "grandmother." Hebrew for "covenant," often referring to the ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old ("brit milah" - "covenant of circumcision"). It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit."
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