Found In: Covenant & Naming Rituals
Tags: adoption, shehekheyanu, naming, covenant, priestly blessing
Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But miraculously my own
Never forget for a minute
You didn't grow under my heart
But you grew in my heart!
Bonnie. B'rukha ha-ba'ah. We welcome you!
You are your parents' dreams realized, their hope fulfilled.
You are the latest and best chapter in the unfolding of the lives of your Mother and Father
You are brand new—a symbol of today and tomorrow
Your life is a new and clean slate upon which people and events will leave their impression.
You are a bridge over which we who welcome you can gaze from this day into future days, from our generation into your generation.
You are the newest link in the endless chain of our people's history.
Bonnie, B'rukha haba'ah b'ahavah, we welcome you into the community of the Jewish people—with love.
Mi shebberakh Sarah Rivkah Rachel v'Leah uMiryam ha-n'vi'ah v'ester hamalkah bat avichayil, hu y'varekh et hayalda ha-n'imah hazot b'mazal tov uv'sha'at b'rakhah vayikareh sh'mah b'yisrael ___________ bat __________, vai'gadleha biv'riut shalom, vm'nuchah. Vi'zakheh et aviha v'et imah lirot b'simchatah uv'chuppatah v'khen y'hi ratzon v'nomar amen.
May God who blessed Sarah and Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, Miriam the Prophetess, and Queen Esther, daughter of Avichayil, Bless this sweet child with good fortune and timely blessings. And may her name be called among the Daughters of Israel Bonnie, Daughter of Abraham and Sarah. May she be raised in good health, peace and tranquility. Grant that her parents watch her grow happily and look forward to escorting her to the marriage canopy. May this be God's will. And let us say, Amen.
Name Equals Destiny:
We gave our daughter the name Binah Libi after Sarah's maternal grandmother Libi Bat Shmuel Hillel HaCohen and my maternal grandmother Binah Bat Yitzchak HaCohen who was born on Simchat Torah. Like Bonnie she was the first girl in the family. Binah embodied the traits of cheerfulness, compassion, and understanding. We hope that by endowing Bonnie with the name Binah, which denotes understanding and ultimately wisdom, that she will be a woman with a profound understanding of her role in the world. Understanding leads to joy and so we fervently pray that she will be a person who radiates joy as well and brings joy not only to her family and the house of Israel but to all of humanity. We waited over 30 years for a child to carry the name of my grandmother, and I am confident that Bonnie will be most worthy of this role. My grandmother's nishama now lives in Binah Libi.
My grandma Lilly (Libi) was the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi who served as a rabbi in Haverstraw, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. Her feelings of love for Yiddishkeit and her passion for the observance of the mitzvot were transferred to her two children and even her children's children and G-D willing even to Bonnie. Grandma Lilly was a giving person, unselfish in every way and treated her family and friends with respect, dignity, and love. After providing a college education for my mother and aunt, she herself returned to get her high school diploma and then to Newark State Teachers College (where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa) in order to be certified as a teacher. Her life certainly reflected the meaning of her name Libi (loved one). To grandma Lilly every child she taught was treated like her own. Kids actually cried to get into her class. Grandma Lilly never spoke about the past, but always lived for the future. She always lived a life of hope.
Her greatest joy was to be with her 5 grandchildren and the 10 great grandchildren (who called her G.G. for great grandma). I know grandma Lilly is watching over us today and is very proud that Bonnie is now carrying her name. I am sure that the love she passed to me will be transmitted to Bonnie.
In biblical literature, we find two well-known examples of individuals who "adopt" children into their families. Pharaoh's daughter brings the foundling infant, Moses, into the palace and raises Moses as her son. And, in Shushan, in Persia, Mordecai takes his orphaned niece, Esther, into his home and raises her as his daughter.
In the Talmud, we learn: "Whoever raises a child is to be considered the parent." And according to Jewish law, it is a privilege to adopt a child.
Throughout the ages you have blessed us, Hashem, with women who tended the altars of our faith.
Through these noble women, Israel was redeemed; because of them Israel has survived.
They have inspired and guided our youth; they have preserved and transmitted our traditions.
May the women in our generation, like those of the past, keep Israel your eternal witness.
May they, like Sarah, zealously guide their young, keeping them constant and steadfast in their faith; then shall our children remain ever devoted to you.
May our women, like Rachel, be deeply concerned for the children of Israel wherever they dwell, sharing their glory, feeling their pain, and helping to rebuild their homeland.
When Israel stood at Sinai to receive the torah, Hashem said to them: "I am giving you my torah. Give to me good guarantors that you will guard it, and I shall give you the torah."
The Elders answered: "Our ancestors will be Guarantors."
Hashem, said: "Your ancestors are not sufficient guarantors. Give me better guarantors and I shall give you the gift of the torah."
They said: "Ruler of the universe, our prophets Yeshayahu, Yirmiyahu, and Yechezkel are our guarantors."
G-D said to them: "The prophets are not sufficient guarantors. Give me good guarantors and I shall give you the torah."
They said: "Our children will be guarantors."
Hashem, said: "They are certainly the best guarantors. For their sake I give you the Torah if you promise to teach the Torah to your children and your children's children."
We pray, Bonnie, that your life will be one of never-ending passion for Judaism. May you stand in love and in awe of the creator of the universe. We hope that you will be enthralled with the study of our sacred texts and will joyfully celebrate our festivals and moments. To help fulfill this dream, we commit ourselves to offering you the finest quality Jewish education we can obtain for you, both in school, during vacations, and at home where we study, pray, and rejoice together in love.
We hope, Bonnie, your life will be one of never ending growth as a human being capable of giving and receiving love. It is our hope and prayer that when it is your time to build your own family, you will begin it under the Chupah Keda'at Moshe V'Yisrael.
We hope your life, Bonnie, will be one of good deeds, acts of loving kindness, filled with a never-ending concern for family and community, justice and mercy. We hope you will give of your time, energy, and resources for the rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish community in America and to the righteous and needy of all the world. We hope that you will make these themes your priorities in your life. We will certainly do our part by showing you how important they are to us, through our own actions and deeds.
All in unison:
If you fulfill this dream, if you live a life of Torah, Chuppah, and Ma'asim Tovim, then all of Israel will rejoice with you.
Miracles and gifts are very much on our minds today as we celebrate the miracle of our daughter Bonnie.
We give thanks for the gift of her life with which we have been entrusted.
We ask ourselves, as all parents have asked for generations, how shall we train our child in the way she should go, so that when she is older she will continue on the path of righteousness, justice, and compassion.
Tradition teaches that good examples are the best way to raise a child;
When we encircle our daughter with love, she will be loving.
When we are thankful for life's blessings, she will be thankful.
When we express friendship, she will be a friend.
When we speak words of praise, she will praise others.
When we set an example of honesty, our child will be honest.
When we practice patience, she will be patient.
When we confront misfortune with fortitude, she will learn courage.
When our lives affirm our faith in the enduring values of life, our daughter will rise above doubt and skepticism and learn belief and faith in G-D.
We have given thanks for the life which we have received and have given tzedakah in honor of Bonnie's birth. Today, we also give gifts to our child:
We give our daughter the gift of Judaism: a heritage filled with traditions and culture, warmth and beauty, history and beliefs, family and community, and a sense of identity. Bonnie need never wonder who she is or where she belongs. She is firmly anchored in time and her life is forever bound up with the life of her people.
We give our daughter the gift of education. We want to share our love of learning with Bonnie and help her appreciate the wonderful and fascinating world into which she has come. We also want her to take part in the great mission of our people—Tikkun Olam, to make this world a better place to live.
We give our daughter the gift of independence. Let our love for Bonnie always be healthy and positive, never stifling or possessive. We will support and protect her, but let us remember that she will find her own path to maturity. As she grows, our daughter will have her own thoughts, ambitions, and commitments. May we always try to respect and appreciate her uniqueness, and to teach her this respect for others.
We give our daughter the gift of friends. Our close circle of friends will help her to know a world of warm and caring human beings, to learn the meaning of commitment and friendship. We hope that one day Bonnie will also be blessed with a community of friends who share in her joys and her accomplishments.
We give our daughter the gift of family. She is blessed with four grandparents—Bernard & Miriam and George & Shirley, her great-great-aunt Rose and great-great uncle Abe and her great aunts and uncles Arnold, Doris & Ira, and Janice & Lewis, who we trust will teach her to live and enjoy life. We want Bonnie to know her aunts, uncles, and cousins and to appreciate them as we do. We hope she will always experience the warmth and excitement of family gatherings.
We give our daughter the gift of unconditional love. Bonnie will always know that her parents and family cherish her and value her, not for her achievements in life, but because she is a unique and beautiful human being whose life we are privileged to share.
Ribbon ha-olam barekh et ha-yaldah hazot b'chayim shel simchah chayim shel tovah chayim shel chokhmah. Y'hi ratzon shetih'yeh yal'datenu osah shalom v'rodefet shalom bein ish l're'ehu. Chazek yadeinu l'hadrikhah b'darkhei torah vi'emunah v'amtzenu liholikhah v'ikvot gibborot yisrael shema'aseihem zarchu lanu b'khol dorot amenu.
Our G-D and G-D of our ancestors may the life of this child be one of happiness, goodness, and wisdom. Grant that she may seek peace and pursue an end to strife in the world. May she spread light on all who know her. May she study the Torah and find delight in it. May she follow the steps of other great leaders of Israel, whose deeds continue to shine across the span of time.
Rabbi Bunim, the Hassidic Rebbe, said, "We learn three things from the young child about how to serve G-D. First, the child is always happy at being alive. Second, the child is always active. Third, the child always cries for what it wants. In the same fashion, we as adults should serve G-D in a joyful mood just like a child. We should always be as active as a child in performing G-D's mitzvot, and we should also remember, just like a child, to tearfully implore Hashem to fulfill our wishes."
Rabbi Bunim was certainly correct in teaching us that not only does a child learn from his parents but parents may also learn from their child. May Bonnie always be a good example to her parents and family.
The Midrash, in its great wisdom, asks: "How shall this child be blessed?"
The angel answered: The angel blesses her with a smile, and it is our prayer that Bonnie always have a genuine warm and sincere smile.
The angel also blesses the child with eyes that could see all living things and we pray that Bonnie will see the good in all people, sense the spark of divinity in every human being and have respect for nature and life.
The angel also blesses the child with a heart that could feel all that is seen. We hope Bonnie will grow to be sensitive and understanding, compassionate and benevolent, and have a heart of gold.
Please rise and read in unison:
Y'simekh elohim k'Sarah Rivkah Rachel v'Leah
Y'varekh'kha Adonai v'yishm'rekha
Yaer Adonai panav elekha vichunekha
Yisa Adonai panav elekha v'yasem l'kha shalom.
May God Make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
May God bless you and keep you.
May God shine God's countenance unto you and be gracious to you
May God life God's countenance to you and may God give you peace.
With all our heart, soul and might, we pray for the continued good health of Bonnie.
We pray for her to be strong in mind and body, to grow steadily and sturdily in a home filled with great joy.
We pray for her to become a person who greets the world with vitality, courage, humility, and patience.
With all our heart, soul and might, we pray for G-D to watch over her and her family.
We pray for the ability to love and nurture this child, to provide for her, to educate her, to understand her, and to allow her the freedom to grow.
Our Dear Bonnie,
May you live to see your world fulfilled.
May your destiny be for worlds still to come.
May you trust in generations past and yet to be.
May your heart be filled with intuition and your words with insight.
May songs of praise ever be on your tongue, and your vision be on a straight path before you.
May your eyes shine with the light of holy words, and your face reflect the brightness of the heavens.
May your lips ever speak wisdom, and your fulfillment be in righteousness.
Even as you yearn to hear the words of Shema, our ancient prayers of faith.
Sarah and Jay recite:
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam shehechiyanu v'kiymanu v'higianu la-z'man ha-zeh.
Siman tov umazel tov y'heh lanu ul'khol yisrael.
Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is One.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who has Given us Life, and Sustained us and Enabled us to Celebrate this joyous day.
A good sign and good fortune for us and for all of Israel.