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Oct 30 2014

Jewish Lifecycle Events–Now in Animation!

By at 2:33 pm

g-dcast videos

Looking for a way to learn more about Jewish customs, but tired of reading all those… words? Our friends at G-dcast have just released a new series of animated videos all about various Jewish lifecycle events, so you can sit back, press play, and learn something new.

Three of the videos may be particularly pertinent to Kveller readers, as they’re all about–you guessed it–babies. Below, check out videos about Jewish naming practices, a traditional bris, and baby naming ceremonies for newborn girls. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2013

Dealing With My Firstborn at My Daughter’s Naming Ceremony

By at 3:19 pm

baby naming ceremony howard wolkeSo last weekend was my daughter’s simchat bat, or baby naming ceremony…

First of all, I’ve got to say that the baby naming was SO much easier to deal with than the brit (circumcision) was for my son J. Of course for starters, you don’t have to worry about any snipping. My wife was thankful for that if nothing else.

Also, it was really nice to be able to decide for ourselves when the ceremony would take place. The eight day requirement is kind of restricting. For E, we were able to look at a calendar and say, “Hmm, when would be the best time for us to do this? When will family be able to come for sure?” Plus the fact that you can basically create your own ceremony that fits your style is really nice, too. So, for all those reasons, there was a lot less stress with the baby naming than the circumcision.

However, the second child’s ceremony does introduce a different type of stress–how to take care of the elder child. J is at that unique age where he isn’t young enough to totally ignore everything that is going on, while still not being old enough to fully understand why people would all be gathered for his baby sister who doesn’t really do much and certainly can’t play with trucks or trains like he can. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 22 2012

Interfaith Family Bullying: When Do You Stop Fighting And Just Give Up?

By at 11:06 am

Bullied at a baptism? Really?

My father’s family is very large.

My mother’s family, like too many post-pogrom and WWII Jewish immigrant families, is very very VERY small. My recently deceased grandfather was the last of his surname.

So most of my relatives are of the non-Jewish persuasion. My mother insisted that my brother and I engage with the family to the best of our ability, so that we would “have family.” So we did. My mother put up with constant bullying, and my brother and I tried to sort through the lies (straight up lies) that our paternal grandmother spread about our mother.

Say what now? Bullying?

Yeah. Bullying. Read the rest of this entry →


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