Liam’s Naming Ceremony

As we continue in our lives down a path of religious fulfillment, we are also paving the road for a household of two religions (see link above for a much deeper explanation about our intentions). Since we are not shying away from either religion and it’s our intent to be as inclusive of each of them as is possible, we have introduced Liam as a child of God and practicing member in both the Lutheran faith and the Jewish faith. Almost 10 days ago Liam had is baptism; and last night Liam had a naming ceremony.

For those that might be unfamiliar with a Jewish naming ceremony (don’t worry, we didn’t really know the details either), in it’s easiest explanation it’s the Bris without the cutting. In our case, it wasn’t a matter of a circumcision or not, it was a matter of what is appropriate for this situation. Traditionally, the circumcision in the Jewish faith is the male covenant with God, the community, and the earth – but there was an obvious missing piece for the girls….so, a naming ceremony with all of the same rituals and prayers was created to create that same covenant without the gender specifics.

Similar to the Catholic tradition of giving a Saint’s name to a baby at either baptism or confirmation, there is a tradition in Judaism to give a name for which your child will be ‘known amongst the Jewish people.’ It’s a ceremonial thing and is a chance to connect the child with something else: a family member, a word (light, hope, etc), etc. We chose to give Liam the name Zwi, which is the name my Saba took when he came to Israel from Germany as the Holocaust began. It means deer or gazelle, which really doesn’t have a larger-than-life meaning…but every time that you see one of those animals, you can now think of Liam.

We did the ceremony in the hospital room with our Rabbi from our Jewish community. As we were able to do with the baptism, we hooked up via the powers of iChat and had some of our family there with us. One of the mizvot (acts of sacred connection) that is performed in the ceremony is wrapping Liam in a tallit, which there are photos of below.



  1. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing experience!!!!

  2. How beautiful! I will get to think of Liam a lot, since not only do I see deer and antelope along the road every day, but the deer also enjoy the grounds around the office at their leisure.

    Nice picture, Ezra…aspiring to be like his daddy? And I am glad to see Dave & Mary Jo are still there. loveyoumeanit…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just saw a beautiful (and very happy looking) deer running through the baseball outfield when I was bringing Lydia home from daycare. How nice to be able to think of such a sweet boy so often now… Thanks for sharing all of this with all of us,
    Lindsay, Andreas, and Lydia

  4. Stacy Klos-Mitchell says:

    These pictures are so precious.

  5. Terri Goudy says:

    Thank you so much for your posts! It means a lot to me and, I presume, many others. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Please let me know if we can do anything for you. I would love to provide a meal(s) for you — no ketchup required — or put together a care package(s)for you (or something else). Just say the word!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love Ezra’s picture! Great perspective!

  7. Barb & Terry Fuller says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your whole family. We just talked with Kjerstin and got the address of your blog. Say Hi to Mary Jo and Dave and all the family. Give everyone a hug for us!!

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