Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. Life calls each person to discover that she or he is unique and that there has never been anyone like her or him before. For had there been something like any of us before, there would be no need for us to be born into the world. Our task in this life is to fully develop and fulfill our uniqueness in the world, as a gift to the world.
(Adapted: Martin Buber)
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We join together in welcoming _____ into their family and into the world. May they be blessed with the ability to learn from the lessons life gives them, and to be joyful, kind and strong.
Though none can escape sorrow and pain, we hope _____ grows to have the courage to face them and the strength to transcend them. May they grow to be curious and kind, rooted in their community and interested in the wide world around them.
May they be a builder of bridges; may they be blessed with loving friends wherever they go; may they find sustenance in the deep wells of family and tradition. And may we be up to the challenge of raising them to be everything that they can be!
And let us say, Amen.
May you live to see a world that you create.
May your future shine in ways we can scarcely imagine.
May your hope span the generations.
May your heart learn understanding.
May you speak words of wisdom and sing songs of joy.
May your vision be clear before you.
May your eyes shine with the light of wise teachings,
May your face glow with the light of heaven,
May you run to discover the radiance of the Holy Blessed One.
(adapted from Talmud, Berakhot 17a)
Alternative Parents’ Prayer
Thank you for the gift of this child to raise. May we never betray this child’s trust, dampen this child’s hope or discourage this child’s dreams.
Help us, dear God, to nurture this precious child to discover all that is possible. May Your grace and love be like gentle breezes – for this precious child and for us in this sacred adventure. May we receive and give the love, strength, wisdom, patience, humility and humor that will best serve our cherished child and the world that will be our child’s inheritance.
When our community stood at Sinai to receive revelation, the Holy One said, “Present to Me good guarantors that you will guard these words which aim toward wisdom, and I will give these teachings to you.”
They said, “Our ancestors are our guarantors.”
The Holy One said, “Your ancestors are not sufficient guarantors. Bring Me better guarantors.”
They said, “Our prophets are our guarantors.”
God said to them, “Your prophets are not sufficient guarantors. Bring Me yet better guarantors.”
They said, “Our children will be our guarantors.”
The Holy One said, “These are certainly good guarantors. For their sake I give you these words which aim toward wisdom, these aspirations and inspirations written on the human heart.” (Midrash Rabbah, Song of Songs 1:3,1)
Here Is Your First Gift
Here is your first gift
(this blessing, this echo):
sound you’ll answer to
turning, always, to see who spoke.
Here is your name,
which people we don’t know
will call you years from now,
when your infant face
with its astonished look
is just a picture
and our huge, parental love
a blur of hands.
A Newborn Girl at Passover
Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots–
an individual already, skin and seed.
Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn’t matter.
A child is born and doesn’t know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.
– Nan Cohen.
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will carry you in their hands lest you hurt your foot on a stone.”