In late October 2018, at the start of our Senior Cantor search process, I had the opportunity to reflect on Holy Blossom Temple’s Statement of Identity. My favourite part, and the line that resonates most for me, is its description of our synagogue’s “rich history of responding to both tradition and modernity in our religious and spiritual expression.”
A year later, in late October 2019 when our daughter Zephie Sasha was born, my husband David and I had the opportunity to practice that principle. Our simchat bat celebration embraced tradition and modernity, with each one weighing and counterweighting to produce a meaningful medley for our new family of three.
Even though boys and girls are traditionally welcomed into the Jewish covenant in different ways, Rabbi Helfman helped us select observances from both types of ceremonies so we could craft an egalitarian but familiar celebration for our daughter. Using the tradition of naming newborns after loved ones who’ve died, we melded our grandparents’ names into a unique first name. We also celebrated our family’s first grandchild in the same physical space where my siblings and I had celebrated our bnei mitzvah many years earlier.
I’ve been privileged to participate in many facets of membership at Holy Blossom: accompanying my parents to services, becoming involved with YAD and Out of the Cold, joining the Board and committees, and now bringing my daughter to family services and music classes every Friday. I can’t wait to see how our community’s deep roots will nurture our little blossom to grow into the future.