February 08, 2010

What's a baby-naming ceremony?

Many people might be familiar with the traditional Bris, a ceremony performed the 8th day after a baby Jewish boy is born.  However, fewer people are familiar with notion of a baby-naming ceremony. This ceremony is typically held in honor of a baby girl being born and while it can certainly happen the 8th day after birth, there are no real time strictures around this one. The object of a baby-naming ceremony is to officially present the child with a Hebrew name, usually honoring a loved one who has passed on. In this touching ceremony, a new Hebrew name is affectionately given to the baby in its parent's arms, along with ecumenical ceremonial input from grandparents. Parents may offer some sentimental, loving comments and memories about the person for whom their baby is named. Typically you would only give your child the name of a relative who has departed, rather than one that's living - just so you know!

Gorgeous cupcakes for your next celebration

Shhh... don't tell my mother-in-law, but we want to have a baby naming ceremony once the wee one is born (she doesn't want to know what the sex is). I absolutely love parties and whenever there's a cause for celebration, I always have cupcakes!
When we lived in The City, we'd get cupcakes from Crumbs or Magnolia Bakery, but now that we've moved to the burbs, this little shiksa needed a local cupcake guru. Enter Martine's Bakery down at 10 Fisher Street in Tuckahoe, NY. Martine's is family owned and operated and the partners are always there, whether it's Tal behind the counter or Yuval baking up the gorgeous concoctions in the back. In addition to these fantastic cupcakes, Martine's also makes the best croissants, and you can't eat one of their delicious Boston Cream Pie donuts without leaving a chocolate mess. Come the high holidays they have a wonderful selection of kosher goodies. As far as those cupcakes go though - this little baby of ours can't come soon enough!

10 Fisher Ave
Tuckahoe, NY
Martine’s is open seven days a week from at 6:45 am.

February 07, 2010

Fun Bar / Bat Mitzvah Favors

Remember when we were little kids and we went to birthday parties and as great as the party was, the goody bag that we got at the end helped us keep it alive just a little longer. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs aren't any different. Check out some of these great favors!

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Great looking Ketubahs

If you're getting married - and getting married by a Rabbi - you'll likely have a Ketubah signing ceremony as part of your nuptials. Kind of like going to the court house to get your marriage license, this is actually in the eyes of Jewish law, when the marriage is legal. The Ketubah is the contract that you and your spouse sign and it's actually quite a lovely idea. It's one thing to write your vow and say them the day of, it's quite something else to have your 'vows' scribed as a gorgeous work of art. There are a number of different Ketubah texts and you should be able to customize your Ketubah to your liking. But whatever you do, make it something that the two of you really like. Ours is currently hanging on the wall in our den and it makes me smile every time I walk by it.

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Some other good Ketubah resources:
The Ketubah Company - A unique resource for all your ketubah needs. A range of exclusive original artwork and variety of texts for your exceptional wedding or anniversary celebration.




Reform? Orthodox? Conservative? What's the Difference?

My old roommate in New York City was Orthodox. My husband's family is Conservative and since my husband and I are thinking about becoming members of a synagogue, we're looking at Reform. So, what's the real difference between all three? It's really about the degree to which they interpret Jewish law, where Orthodox Judaism has the strictest interpretation and Reform Judaism is the least strict. In the Reform synagogue, inter-faith marriage is acceptable and so are female rabbis for that matter. It's kind of like Orthodox = Catholic, Conservative = Southern Baptist and Reform = Methodist. Here's a wikipedia link for some more basica intel.

To Chrismukkah or Not?

Did you know that almost 50% of American Jews marry non-Jews? In other words, there are tons of us shiksas out there and each year we all battle if and/or how to blend the holidays together. We happen to celebrate both and while we decorate the house, we do so more with white lights and blue ornaments than with the traditional red and green. My father-in-law wasn't too pleased with the tree, but at least he kept it to himself (mostly!)
But, that made me wonder how other inter-faith couples and families celebrate the holidays. Interfaithfamily.com actually put out a survey in 2006 to answer just that.
1. The great majority of American interfaith couples raising their children as Jews plan on participating in celebrations of both Christmas and Hanukkah. 99 percent expect to participate in Hanukkah celebrations, and 89 percent plan to participate in Christmas celebrations.
2. These interfaith families believe in and do a good job of distinguishing between the holidays. In other words, the vast majority is not interested in combining the holidays into one Chrismukkah celebration. Of those who had heard of Chrismukkah, 68 percent said they thought that Chrismukkah is a bad idea.
3. These families tend to prioritize Hanukkah over Christmas by identifying Hanukkah as the family celebration and a religious holiday and by relating to Christmas in a secular manner.
4. The vast majority of these families celebrate Hanukkah in their own homes by lighting the menorah (99 percent), telling the Hanukkah story (63 percent), giving gifts and eating Hanukkah foods.
5. In contrast, these families are much less likely to practice Christmas activities at home. In their own homes, approximately half of the respondants (51 percent) plan on giving Christmas gifts, less than half (44 percent) plan to decorate a Christmas tree, and only 5 percent plan on telling the Christmas story. Only 18 percent of these families plan on attending religious services for Christmas.
6. Many of these families plan to participate in Christmas celebrations and exchange Christmas gifts in the homes of friends and relatives. Many of them feel the need to participate in Christmas activities at the home of extended family out of respect for the traditions of the non-Jewish family.
7. While the parents in interfaith families tend to feel ambivalence about celebrating both holidays, the majority of Jewish children of interfaith couples look forward to the celebration of both Christmas and Hanukkah.

In sum, one out of every three American Jewish families today is considered an "interfaith family." And one out of every three of these families has decided to raise their children as Jews. The great majority of these families celebrate Christmas - primarily in a secular way outside of their own home - out of respect for their non-Jewish relatives, and they feel certain that this celebration does not negatively affect their children's Jewish identities.

Cheap Chic Bar and Bat Mitzvah Invitations

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are a rite of passage in the Jewish community. It marks the coming of age for any Jewish boy or girl. Used to be that the focus was primarily on the reading of the Torah, but now a days, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are becoming more something more akin to My Super Sweet 16.. These Bar and Bat Mitzvah Invitations from TinyPrints are a great way to showcase a sense of style, while still staying within budget!

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For When You Need a Good Read

Books, schmooks! Everybody needs a good beach read every now and then. Why not pick one of these for you or your fellow sisters?

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