Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Planning A Baby Naming

Here's a little background for ya about this. I am Jewish. Jamie is not, he's Methodist. We talked about how we would raise our child(ren) way before we even got married. We're raising him Jewish but he will know that his father is Christian and he will probably go to church at Christmas and Easter when we are with Jamie's family. It is Jewish tradition that dates back thousands of years (and is the reason that boys are circumcised in the first place) that a boy have a Brit Milah or Bris when he is 8 days old. We didn't do that. It is becoming more accepted now especially in Reformed synagogues not to do it (Reformed Judaism is the most liberal sect, it is also the largest Jewish community in North America). Partially because health insurance doesn't pay for a Mohel (the person who performs the circumcision) but does pay for a doctor to do the circumcision in the hospital. So we didn't do a Brit Milah or Bris. Joshua was circumcised by a doctor in the hospital the day he was released. We are going to have him named in the synagogue which means to give him his hebrew name, thank G-d for our little bundle, ask for his blessings and welcome the baby into the Jewish community and into the covenant of Judaism.

I am not yet a member of a congregation but chose Reformed as it seemed to best fit our family. Jamie being Christian makes us a mixed family religion wise and Reformed are the most welcoming. While still pregnant I contacted the Rabbi of the Reformed congregation here in Columbia. I told him that I was having a baby and wanted to have him or her named there (possibly a Brit Milah or Bris). He was very nice and we communicated back and forth through e-mail. When I filled out my pre-registration papers for the hospital I listed my religion and the Rabbi at this congregation is the one who comes to the hospital when you list that you are Jewish. So he came when Joshua was born and met with us while Joshua was still in the NICU. I told him I didn't think we would do the Brit Milah or Bris and he said that was fine and to contact him when we wanted to do a naming. So here it is 3 months later and I did contact him a couple of times before he got back in touch with me and we set up the meeting I had with him today.

Let me say how incredibly nice he is. He made me feel very comfortable and was very easy to talk to. He has a great sense of humor too. He wanted to know my religious background so I told him that my mother was brought up Orthodox but became Conservative and my father was an athiest although he was brought up Jewish. I went to a Conservative synagogue growing up and went to Young Judaea summer camp, Sprout Lake and then Tel Yehuda. I have one very good friend I still talk to who I met at Sprout Lake when I was 11 or 12. Then he wanted to know Jamie's background. So I told him that he is Methodist. He isn't a member of a church here but went to church a lot growing up. He always goes at Christmas and Easter when he is in his hometown and sometimes a little more often than that.

He wanted to know how we plan to raise Joshua and told me how important it is to introduce religion to him at an early age and not wait until he is in school when we will be dealing with other things. He said he knows it may be overwhelming to think about but we should start small. We should be involved and then he will be involved. We should celebrate the holidays at home too. He said that in order to do the naming we have to become members. It's not just me and Joshua but Jamie becomes a member too. A lot of the families there are mixed religious families and some of his best volunteers aren't Jewish. He wants Jamie to feel welcome too. So we have to join but there is no set membership dues, just whatever we can afford to pay. Yes, it's different than churches where you put what you can in the collection plate but here they are very laid back about dues.

What we have to do now is decide on Joshua's hebrew name. When I was named in a Conservative synagogue the Rabbi chose the name but I guess that the Reformed allow you to choose the name. There is a hebrew equivalent of Joshua we can use or we can name him after someone or we can pick a name we like. He can have a First and Middle name or just a First name. I have to fill out the membership packet and send it in. I also have to figure out when we would want to have the naming. The one I went to was a Friday night service and they had the naming right afterward. Yes, we went a couple of weeks ago and it just happened to be a night they were having a baby naming. How lucky! So I guess I have a bit of "homework" to do. I'm so excited!

Update - We are thinking about April 17th or 18th for the naming.

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