When planning for my then newborn son’s welcoming ceremony, the process was fairly straightforward. He would have a bris eight days after his birth, which would require space at our local synagogue…and a person to perform the circumscision—in our case, the coveted mohel/doctor combination. Throw in some close friends and family and a spread of bagels, lox, and kugel, and you have yourself a straightforward, happy occasion: a simcha. Fast forward a little over two years later. We’re having a girl! Fortunately for the meticulous planner… >> Read More
Over the last eight years, I have heard this same story countless times: When a congregational meeting was held at my synagogue to approve the Board’s decision to hire me, a female rabbi, one voice…yelled out, “What happens if the rabbi gets in the family way? Another person responded, “Well, then I will babysit.” That voice came from a male member of my community. While he has not babysat yet, he is known around my house as Uncle Steve, and my little girl loves to hold his hand and… >> Read More
A few months after our daughter Miranda was adopted and converted to Judaism, we had her simchat bat, or Hebrew naming ceremony.
We got all dressed up and went to the synagogue. We were surrounded…by family and friends, and when we were called to the bimah (platform or stage), I was already beaming. There were multiple families welcoming their daughters that day, including my brother and his family. The rabbi and the cantor said hello to each of the girls and all of the parents. I then introduced our… >> Read More
Thirteen years ago I married a Catholic man from Chicago. I was raised as a Conservative Jew north of Boston. We met through mutual friends when I moved to Chicago. Prior to getting married, my…husband and I agreed that we would pass along both of our religious beliefs to our children; we both had strong ties to our religious traditions and wanted to share these with our family. We had joined an interfaith couples group, based in Chicago, to help us discuss and navigate issues that come along with… >> Read More
When I was pregnant with our first son, my (non-Jewish) husband wanted to name the baby after himself. His brother is a Junior, and it’s a family tradition. I told him that Jews don’t name after…the living. When I was pregnant with our daughter, my husband wanted to name her after his grandmother, Rose, who was, in fact, as he pointed out, feeling proud of himself for remembering the rules, dead. But I didn’t like the name. We were discussing this with my father, who suggested, “How about Rachel or… >> Read More