Joshua, we pledge to you today that to the best of our ability we will be for you an ongoing stable group of people who will do our part in meeting your needs for love, for support, for affirmation, and for identity.
Barney and Debbie, may the power of your love for Joshua help him to become a loving and effective human being. May the warmth and generosity of your personalities activate his potentials and enrich his life.
Joshua, may you always deeply feel your own worth, may you experience the joys of learning and of nature and the arts and of warm companionship. May you know the rewards of thinking and doubting and questioning and discovering and of accepting life's painful challenges. May you always grow in your power to love, and may you live in a world of peace.
I want Joshua, above all, to be honest with himself and honest with those he cares about. I want him to realize that, while life is sometimes unavoidably difficult, we create most of our difficulties ourselves by attempting to avoid facing them. I want Joshua to run from life as little as possible and to deny as little as possible.
I want him to face and accept his irreducible aloneness and to respond to it by openly seeking love and affection. And I want him to understand the irreducible aloneness of his brothers and sisters and to respond to it compassionately by giving love and affection.
Cup of Celebration (From a different ritual)
This cup of wine is the cup of life. It is the symbol of family life and the sign of continuity from generation to generation. Rena is more than an individual. She is part of the chain of life that stretches from the past into the future. Let us raise this cup to life.
Reprinted with permission from the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Originally published in Humanistic Judaism, Winter/Spring 1999, "Creating a Baby Naming Ceremony" (Beth Haskala, Rochester Society for Humanistic Judaism).