On Saturday, May 20, 2018, Temple Shalom members joined together with young families in the community for the third annual Blessing of the Babies. This year’s blessing was combined with the traditional Shavuot service celebrating the first fruits. “What a great image to see so many families with their babies – their first fruits – celebrating at a time of the year when not only our people celebrated the summer harvest, but when our people stood and felt closest to God,” exclaimed Rabbi Andrew Paley. “To bring together our Temple Shalom families in this way was a true gift and blessing, indeed!”
As soon as the congregation sat down for the service, it was clear that this morning would be different and very special. Babies were crawling and walking up the stairs of the bima. Young parents excited about the upcoming blessing were on hand to watch the eager youngsters explore their new Temple. "I just love seeing children who feel at home in our worship space. As we always say, 'this too is prayer," exclaimed Rabbi Ariel Boxman.
After songs and prayers, Rabbi Andrew Paley called up the families for the moment everyone had been waiting for! He explained the significance of the tallit and everyone gathered underneath for the special blessing. "Gathering our families together for a brief moment of blessing with their newborns and recently-borns is a sacred opportunity indeed. At Temple Shalom we value the experiences of families coming together with their community sharing prayer, Torah, music, laughter and each other. What an honor it is for us to bring God's blessing to our newest members of our ever growing Temple family!"
Cantor Devorah Avery was inspired to write an original song and blessing for the occasion. This beautiful song was a blessing for children and it incorporated the Priestly Benediction from our Torah as well.
Now, it was time to celebrate. Families enjoyed a delicious brunch followed by harvesting activities sponsored by the Tikkun Olam Council and Shomrei Adamah Committee. Children and parents decorated flower pots, planted wildflowers, strawberries and even took home fig trees and olives trees. This will be a day these parents and children will always remember.
Watching the congregation sing and pray and bless the youngest members of the community made everyone realize that Temple Shalom truly is the perfect place for fun, friendship and learning for all ages.