"With each child, the world begins anew." (Midrash)
RABBI: To call someone or something by name is to touch its heart, its essence. It is to speak a word which lasts a lifetime. In the beginning, God began to create though names. When God said, "Yehi Or," "Let there be light"--only then did light exist. Each name allowed day and night, earth and sky, sunlight and moonlight not only to be what they ought to be, but each name also created a separation. With a name, we become ourselves and no one else.
RABBI: B'ruchah ha-ba-ah b'sheim Adonai. May she who enters be blessed in the name of the Lord.
(Godparents enter with Godmother holding baby and Jewish Godparent lights candles.)
GODMOTHER: Joyfully do we present child's name to her parents to enter into the Covenant of Life. (Godmother gives baby to Godfather.)
GODFATHER: Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al kiddush ha-chayim.
Blessed is the Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, by whose Mitzvot we are hallowed, who commands us to sanctify life. (Godfather gives baby to father.)
RABBI says Kiddush.
FATHER: K'shem she-nich-n'sah la-brit, kein ti-ka-nes l'torah ul-chu-pah ul-ma-asim to-vim.
MOTHER: As she has entered the covenant, so may she enter a life devoted to Torah, chupah and the accomplishment of good deeds.
BOTH PARENTS (in unison) recite Dedication to the Covenant.
ALL say Shehecheyanu.
FRIEND: Congratulations, child's name!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You'll have feet in your shoes.
You'll be able to steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You have a great family. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the girl who'll decide where to go.
GODFATHER: You'll look up and down streets. Look ?em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you'll be too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
GODMOTHER: And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.
AUNT 1: It's open there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
AUNT 2: You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
With banner flip-flapping,
you're on top of the world!
You're ready for anything.
Because you're that kind of girl!
GRANDPARENTS (Either set): Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
GRANDPARENTS (the other set): And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(100 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
ALL GRANDPARENTS: Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So? get on your way!
RABBI: Now, in the presence of loved ones, we give to this child the name (child's Hebrew name). Let it become a name honored and respected for wisdom and good deeds. May God's blessing rest upon (child's Hebrew name) now and always.
We pray that she will grow in heart and mind. May the story of our people inspire her. May the truths of Torah guide her. And, may the grandeur of the prophetic word of truth and righteousness enter her spirit and be for her a lasting benediction. Amen.
PARENTS: O God, we give thanks to You for the gift of (child's English name), who has entered into the Covenant of Life. Keep her from all harm, and grant that she may be a source of joy to us and our family and friends. Be with us, and give us health and length of days. Teach us to rear her with care and affection, with wisdom and understanding that she may be a faithful child, and a blessing to the world. We give thanks to You, O Lord, the Source of Life. Amen.
GRANDPARENTS TOGETHER: We are thankful for the blessing You have bestowed upon us in our lives. Now we have been granted a new grandchild to love, the opening of a new page in our family's chronicle. May she grow up in health and happiness. May we be granted the joy of seeing her develop all of her gifts, and the gratification of helping her to fulfill the best that is in her. Then our prayer shall have found its answer: the days and years to come shall be for us times of peace and fulfillment. Amen.
PARENTS: Y'si-mech Eh-lo-him k'Sa-rah, Riv-kah, Ra-chel v'Lei-ah. May God make you as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel & Leah.
RABBI: May God bless you and keep you; May God shine God's countenance upon you and be gracious unto you; May God lift up God's countenance to you and grant you peace.
RABBI says Hamotzi.
Submitted by Mary Litman
The Guide to Birth Ceremonies for Interfaith Families is also available in PDF or Word formats.