Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sleeping like a Baby

My brother Mitch and his lovely wife Jocelyn had a baby girl, their first, on Monday, 23 June, or 20 Sivan. 6 lbs 8 oz, everyone healthy. They not being particularly religious, and not wanting to get involved in some synagogue they don't go to (and thus don't know a lot of people in), we organized a Simhat Bat for them last Wednesday, at which

Winifred Celia Baker got her Hebrew name, צביה בת מלך ברוך.

It was held in my parents' apartment, right there in the living room where my brother & I had our brisses. Mom was all excited to clear off the desk on which Mitch and I had had the surgery, despite my reminding her that there's no surgery here, it's not a bris-parallel, etc.

But she's very excited, as this is her first genetic grandchild. Well, you see, my sister is from Dad's first marriage, and she has two kids (one just out of the army, one just out of Tel Aviv University), and Jocelyn came into the relationship with a daughter, Zoe. So it's my parents' fourth grandchild, but the first that is genetically descended from both of them [rather than 0 or 1 of them].

I put together a service using the resources linked from JOFA's web site, particularly the narrative of Joseph Kaplan's semachot bat, and the prayers and suggestions on R' Seth Farber's Itim.org site. You can find the service here, in PDF.

Winifred is from an aunt, Winifred L. Wisan, an academic, who studied Galileo. She had great battles with the eminence grise of Galileo studies, Stillman Drake, in the footnotes of her papers. Took us for long hikes over the local mountains in Oneonta. Inspired both of us in our academic endeavors - I minored in history of science because of the interest she helped kindle. She passed away 17 years ago last Pesach.

Celia is our mother's mother, Celia Cohen Wisan, much loved, very American (born on the Lower East Side, grew up in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, attended Adelphi College when it was in Brooklyn), married Grandpa on Lag Ba'Omer 1926, long life raising Mom & Uncle Dick, and volunteering at Vacation Camp for the Blind. Endlessly busy with her roses and rock garden, when they had the country house. Great hostess for yom tov, went sometimes to Spanish/Portuguese, as it was around the corner and her sister was a member. Very close with her sisters, life of the party, amateur painter and sculptor. Full of life, until a few years before her passing in 1989.

Tzivia as a name does double duty - it's Grandma Wisan's name above, but Grandpa was also Tzvi Hirsh, so Tzivia encompasses both grandparents, husband and wife.

May she grow into a life filled with joy, learning, love, and good deeds.


Michael Kopinsky said...

Mazel tov to all!

If this is your parents' first genetic grandchild, then I guess that makes it your first genetic nifling. (Nifling being the gender neutral equivalent of niece or nephew, term courtesy of my mom.)

A couple months ago, I was hanging out at the Penn Hillel on shabbos afternoon and asked to officiate at a baby naming ceremony, as the rabbi who was supposed to officiate didn't show up. As I had never been to a baby naming before, let alone officiated at one, the service was much simpler than what you had: A suitable dvar Torah from the parsha, the mishebeirach said for a baby naming, kiddush (since it was, after all, shabbos) and singing of siman tov. I would have made hamotzi as well but the challah they had bought didn't have a hechsher. (I didn't even know there was such a thing as challah without a hechsher.) IIRC, the baby's name was Sarah. Or maybe that was the mother's name. (IIRC, the father wasn't even Jewish, but that didn't hold me back from naming the baby who of course was Jewish.)

thanbo said...

1) Note that I said my mother's first genetic grandchild. My brother, sister and I were sired by the same father, but my sister was born out of my father's first wife, who passed away young.

My niece and nephew and I share some genetic history through Dad. My nephew actually looks somewhat like Dad did as a young man, not that we have a lot of pictures from before his Army days.

2) I figured once we were inviting a bunch of people to shlep in from NJ and Brooklyn and Queens, we should put on a bit of a show. At a regular shul naming, you don't really want to hold people up, when davening is long enough as it is (on Shabbos; or people are champing at the bit to run off to work on a weekday).