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New Jewish Baby Book (2nd Edition): Names, Ceremonies & Customs―A Guide for Today's Families Paperback – March 1, 2005
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"I've never been religious, but during my pregnancy I had a lot of questions about Jewish traditions ... this book helped me make all the decisions."
―Robin Wolaner, founder, Parenting magazine
"Lovely.... Does a wonderful job of explaining aspects of traditional Jewish law―meaningful suggestions make tradition relevant to contemporary situations."
―American Library Association's Booklist
“Weaves together history, traditions, laws and practices, rituals and prayers to form a beautiful tapestry.... A wonderful resource.”
―Rabbi Joy Levitt (Reconstructionist), associate executive director of programming at the Manhattan JCC
“A book that all Jewish parents―no matter how religious―will find fascinating as well as useful. It is a perfect shower or new baby gift.”
―Pamela Abrams, executive editor, Parents magazine
“Skillfully teaches how traditional Jewish ritual enhances life’s most sacred moments and stimulates thinking about developing new practices that acknowledge the changing nature of the Jewish family and demonstrate sensitivity to issues of gender and adoption.”
―Rabbi William H. Lebeau (Conservative), vice chancellor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
“Gives all of us―experts and novices alike―the ability and confidence to begin our Jewish child rearing on a profound and sacred plane.”
About the Author
Anita Diamant is author of The Red Tent; The New Jewish Wedding; Bible Baby Names: Spiritual Choices from Judeo-Christian Sources; and The New Jewish Baby Book(Jewish Lights), among other books. She is a founder of Mayyim Hayyim, Living Waters Community Mikveh and the Paula J. Brody Family Education Center in Newton, Massachusetts.
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As a member of a liberal, interfaith couple, raised Reform and quite happy with my Jewish identity, I am still searching for a meaningful welcoming ceremony for our son that isn't "activist", and that doesn't necessarily *need* to involve a scalpel. It was very disappointing that this book that advertises itself to be about "rituals and choices" doesn't offer any assistance.
As someone who creates personalized birth announcements for couples who want to announce the arrival of their newborn in a special way, I am very aware of how helpful "The New Jewish Baby Book" is. I see well-used copies, with clips and markers pointing to elements that speak to the couple as they plan for their baby. Anita Diamant's in-depth descriptions and presentations of a wide range of issues help couples focus on what is important and meaningful as they prrepare for their awesome new adventure.
Particularly helpful are a myriad ideas for ritual welcoming ceremonies for both boys and girls. The Brit Millah (Covenant of Circumcision) ceremony for boys has been in use since Biblical times. There must not be a parent through the ages who hasn't agonized over this ritual. "The New Jewish Baby Book" provides a sensitive assessment of this ancient ceremony, bringing contemporary questions and issues to the discussion of circumcision in an attempt to help couples come to terms with this practice. For those anticipating having a boy, reading the section on the Brit Millah will help families understand the ceremony and know what to expect, including a checklist of items that need to be on hand. Until relatively recently, there was no official ceremony to welcome a girl into the Jewish community. "The New Jewish Baby Book" was one of the first resources published to provide ideas, prayers, blessings, and readings for a Brit Bat (Covenant for a Daughter) ceremony. For this, Anita Diamant is to be commended.
In addition to enhancing traditional ceremonies with contemporary prayers, "The New Jewish Baby Book" suggests other ways of beautifying the arrival of a new born, whether with hand-crafted ritual objects or with a unique and personalized birth announcement with a Jewish look. The book also addresses the reality of an increased intermarriage rate in modern times, raising common concerns when some family members are unfamiliar with Jewish ritual and practice. Also addressed are adoption issues, ways to include extended family members in the welcoming of a new born, and genetic diseases for which Jewish couples should be tested and aware of. All of these issues are discussed with Anita's usual thoroughness, sensitivity and compassion.