The Beauty of Jewish Baby Naming Ceremonies

May 24, 2013 8:00 pm 3 comments

A mother and her child. Photo: wiki commons.

I ended up attending a baby naming ceremony recently “by accident.” I was there because I was meeting a friend for breakfast who attended the ceremony – and he dragged me along.  Quite unexpectedly, I cried throughout it, as it prompted me to think about many of the great questions of life. Attending the baby-naming ceremony was a pleasant start to the day. A random happy event I was blessed to attend.

A young man I don’t know – with so much hope – celebrated the birth of his daughter and gave her a beautiful Jewish name. As he was called to the Torah, and recited the name amidst Carlebach style singing and dancing, his father, mother and mother-in-law were similarly crying. The child was named for the mother-in-law’s brother who had recently perished, and a cousin who was a Holocaust Survivor.   I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful event it was for the Jewish people – and thank G-d that occasions like this happen every day all over the world.

It is a beautiful custom that so many in the Jewish community have, of naming a child after a relative who has passed away. It keeps the memory of that person alive – and it honors the deceased and the living.

Sitting there, I remembered the tears of joy I shed when my children were born, and the tears I still shed for my beloved mother, Penny Waga, who left this world only a few months ago and whom I miss so much.  All of these things come full circle when a baby is named.

As the father of two daughters, one of my favorite stories (courtesy of Rabbi Nachman) is the story of a king who had a daughter and one day a prince came and he married her.  When the prince wished to return to his country with his new wife the king said to him “the daughter you married is my daughter I cannot separate from her nor can I tell you not to take your wife. All I ask is one favor – make me a small chamber so I can reside with you since separating from my daughter isn’t an option.” This story reveals G-d’s love for his people – and in many ways describes the eternal connection the Jewish people have today with past generations of Jews.

We should wish all new-born children the customary priestly blessing for Jewish children which goes like this: “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord deal kindly and graciously with you. May the Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace.”


Ronn Torossian is a proud parent of great children, and the proud son of Penny Waga, of blessed memory.  Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/RTorossian5wpr.

3 Comments

  • Georgina Bojana

    A leányomat EszterZsuzsannának neveztük. A “kinti” életben: iskolában, munkahelyen Eszternek szólítják, amíg a családban Zsuzsinak. Mindkét név annyira szép és olyan kifejező, mindkét névnek bibliai története van. Képtelen voltam csak az egyikre elnevezni. Így mindkét nevet használja, ma már 24 éves és úgy írja alá a vezetékneve után, hogy EszterZsuzsanna, így, egyben. Nagyon boldog vagyok, mert szereti a nevét, így használja “egybe-írva”. Ettől különleges, én vallom, hogy a név nagyon sokat jelent. A lányom már születése előtt Eszter volt, de születése után bizony a Zsuzsanna névnek is helye volt, van és lesz az életében. Mert a leányomban, a jellemében, a viselkedésében, az okosságában – mindkét név jelleme felfedezhető. Ma sem nevezném másképpen.

  • SEPHARDIM NAME AFTER THE LIVING ALWAYS.
    The beauty of carrying the name forever and ever validates our existance in a certain way.

    One can see the name of our great great grandfathers/mothers on the graves,perpetuated on generations forever and ever.

    Abraham,Yitzhaq,Yaacob
    Shema YIsrael…………

  • Touching beautiful article. Thank you Mr. Ronn Torossian

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.