Author Topic: *Update #53, p.4* Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name  (Read 11896 times)

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JenJay

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2013, 02:52:10 PM »
I'd take aware her control and power by blowing her off. She insists she can "name" the baby whatever she wants? Well no, of course she can't. She can stomp around proclaiming "I name thee (whatever)!" all she likes but that doesn't make it true. Noting official will have the name listed, it's just something she can do in her head and you can't stop her from that so disengage. Roll your eyes and say "Mom, you can think her name is Daffy Duck for all I care, but you will address her as (name you've chosen) or (consequence you're comfortable with." Then be prepared to follow through because you know she'll push.

If you think she'll try to have a religious ceremony behind your back you can always refuse to allow her to watch the baby or take her out alone for however long you feel necessary.

cicero

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 03:02:07 PM »
I'm Jewish, and what your mother proposes to do would be very odd in my (conservative) synagogue. Boys have a bris (circumcision ritual, usually involves some prayer, the circumcision, and a celebratory luncheon), and girls have a naming. Children are given a Hebrew name, which is used when they participate in services. You have to be 'called up' to read the Torah or participate in other ways, and the Hebrew name is used for such an occasion. Kids are generally not referred to by their Hebrew names at any other time.

I have never attended a naming where the child was present, and I don't think that most synagogues would do such a thing. It's supposed to be a joyous celebratory event, and is a kind of a first introduction of the child into the community. It makes little sense to have one without the child present, or without the child's parents present. It's not a baptism, in that there is no 'saving of the soul' aspect to a naming, nor is there any 'this child is definitely Jewish!' claim about the ceremony. (Jews believe that a child born to a Jewish mother is Jewish, so most Jews would consider your child Jewish 'by birth.' The naming has no bearing on that.)

What your mother proposes to do is odd, and I doubt any synagogue would do it. I would simply state that you are not religious, and your child has no need for a Hebrew name. From there on out, I would simply ignore your mom when she brings it up.

Since you seem to have a deeper knowledge on the subject, I thought I'd ask -  would parents or grandparents get congratulated at this event at all?  I'm wondering if this desire to name the child stems from OP's mom's desire to get the same spotlight moment on her family and herself as her friends have gotten when their children/grandchildren were named.
in a normative family situation - the grandparents and other relatives would mist certainly be congratulated, the proud parents and grandparents would put a notice in their synagogue bulletin, theory might sponsor a kiddush - an after-serviuces communal meal, and so on. But the person or people who actually name the child are the father or the father and mother. The naming for a girl us usually done the Saturday after birth so baby and sometimes mother are not always present.

Op I'm sorry your mom is putting you thru this

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TootsNYC

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 03:03:50 PM »
Quote
If you think she'll try to have a religious ceremony behind your back you can always refuse to allow her to watch the baby or take her out alone for however long you feel necessary.


This is what I'd do. And I wouldn't tell her this either, because I wouldn't want her to decide to say one thing ("oh, I'll drop the whole Jewish name thing") and do another.

I wouldn't assume that it's about Grandma wanting the spotlight. It's FAR more likely to simply be that Grandma suddenly realizes the power of those sorts of rituals and belonging and wants to create it.

JenJay

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2013, 03:18:32 PM »
Quote
If you think she'll try to have a religious ceremony behind your back you can always refuse to allow her to watch the baby or take her out alone for however long you feel necessary.


This is what I'd do. And I wouldn't tell her this either, because I wouldn't want her to decide to say one thing ("oh, I'll drop the whole Jewish name thing") and do another.

I wouldn't assume that it's about Grandma wanting the spotlight. It's FAR more likely to simply be that Grandma suddenly realizes the power of those sorts of rituals and belonging and wants to create it.

Absolutely

A relative of ours asked to baptize our baby, we declined. They asked to have a dedication, we declined. They asked to have a "meet the baby" party type thing at their church, we declined. They asked to keep the baby one weekend to give us a break. Yeah, we saw where that was going. We declined.  ;)

Mikayla

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2013, 03:29:34 PM »
I'd take aware her control and power by blowing her off. She insists she can "name" the baby whatever she wants? Well no, of course she can't. She can stomp around proclaiming "I name thee (whatever)!" all she likes but that doesn't make it true. Noting official will have the name listed, it's just something she can do in her head and you can't stop her from that so disengage. Roll your eyes and say "Mom, you can think her name is Daffy Duck for all I care, but you will address her as (name you've chosen) or (consequence you're comfortable with." Then be prepared to follow through because you know she'll push.

snip

Not only do I fully agree with this, I would take it a step further.  This isn't just a naming boundary being crossed.  There's an implication that a religious one might be,  as well.  Like you say, OP, this is stomping on your religious beliefs.

It's common in here when there are problems with a husband's mom for people to respond it's his job to control his mother.  I'm a little surprised there isn't more of that in these responses, because it's a 2 way street.  Your DH needs to see that any intrusion by your mom, with even the appearance of major boundary violations, needs to be nipped in the bud...by you.

That's why I like JenJay's comment about consequences.  And it's probably even more important with the religious portion of this.  If you can't be polite but firm in person, send an email.  But make it clear that all major parenting choices will be made by you and your DH.

Zizi-K

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2013, 03:29:57 PM »
I'm Jewish, and what your mother proposes to do would be very odd in my (conservative) synagogue. Boys have a bris (circumcision ritual, usually involves some prayer, the circumcision, and a celebratory luncheon), and girls have a naming. Children are given a Hebrew name, which is used when they participate in services. You have to be 'called up' to read the Torah or participate in other ways, and the Hebrew name is used for such an occasion. Kids are generally not referred to by their Hebrew names at any other time.

I have never attended a naming where the child was present, and I don't think that most synagogues would do such a thing. It's supposed to be a joyous celebratory event, and is a kind of a first introduction of the child into the community. It makes little sense to have one without the child present, or without the child's parents present. It's not a baptism, in that there is no 'saving of the soul' aspect to a naming, nor is there any 'this child is definitely Jewish!' claim about the ceremony. (Jews believe that a child born to a Jewish mother is Jewish, so most Jews would consider your child Jewish 'by birth.' The naming has no bearing on that.)

What your mother proposes to do is odd, and I doubt any synagogue would do it. I would simply state that you are not religious, and your child has no need for a Hebrew name. From there on out, I would simply ignore your mom when she brings it up.

Since you seem to have a deeper knowledge on the subject, I thought I'd ask -  would parents or grandparents get congratulated at this event at all?  I'm wondering if this desire to name the child stems from OP's mom's desire to get the same spotlight moment on her family and herself as her friends have gotten when their children/grandchildren were named.

I can imagine a grandparent being a part of a naming, but as cicero said, usually at least one of the parents are there. What makes the scenario less likely is that the OP said that her mom was not a regular member at any synagogue, meaning that it is not likely that she has a big social group at any particular congregation. Most people do not want to celebrate with a bunch of strangers... that's why I find the whole thing so strange. I can see how, if you believe that a baptism will ward off some bad juju/save the baby's soul/whathaveyou, you might really want a baby to have it, but there's no such aspect to a Jewish naming. So, if there's no social reason and there's no spiritual reason...I'm not sure what's behind grandma's desire to have this event.

kherbert05

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2013, 04:51:10 PM »
My Dad's family does nicknames. Not one of my 1st cousins or their kids goes by their given name. When I was born they out of habit tried to shorten my name to Kim. They were kindly and firmly told NO her name is Kimberly. It never happened again because they are respectful people. As I grew up people would try to shorten my name - but I wouldn't answer to it (in part because there were 3 - 5 other girls in my grade that went by Kim, so it just didn't register that they were talking to me). My parents would firmly say her name is Kimberly. So no that isn't rude.




I would find out where she attends - and notify them NOW that if she ever shows up with your child to  call you and the cops.


Thank her now for letting you know she will not respect your beliefs and plan to never leave the child alone with her.
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blue2000

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2013, 05:24:25 PM »
I'm Jewish, and what your mother proposes to do would be very odd in my (conservative) synagogue. Boys have a bris (circumcision ritual, usually involves some prayer, the circumcision, and a celebratory luncheon), and girls have a naming. Children are given a Hebrew name, which is used when they participate in services. You have to be 'called up' to read the Torah or participate in other ways, and the Hebrew name is used for such an occasion. Kids are generally not referred to by their Hebrew names at any other time.

I have never attended a naming where the child was present, and I don't think that most synagogues would do such a thing. It's supposed to be a joyous celebratory event, and is a kind of a first introduction of the child into the community. It makes little sense to have one without the child present, or without the child's parents present. It's not a baptism, in that there is no 'saving of the soul' aspect to a naming, nor is there any 'this child is definitely Jewish!' claim about the ceremony. (Jews believe that a child born to a Jewish mother is Jewish, so most Jews would consider your child Jewish 'by birth.' The naming has no bearing on that.)

What your mother proposes to do is odd, and I doubt any synagogue would do it. I would simply state that you are not religious, and your child has no need for a Hebrew name. From there on out, I would simply ignore your mom when she brings it up.

Since you seem to have a deeper knowledge on the subject, I thought I'd ask -  would parents or grandparents get congratulated at this event at all?  I'm wondering if this desire to name the child stems from OP's mom's desire to get the same spotlight moment on her family and herself as her friends have gotten when their children/grandchildren were named.

I can imagine a grandparent being a part of a naming, but as cicero said, usually at least one of the parents are there. What makes the scenario less likely is that the OP said that her mom was not a regular member at any synagogue, meaning that it is not likely that she has a big social group at any particular congregation. Most people do not want to celebrate with a bunch of strangers... that's why I find the whole thing so strange. I can see how, if you believe that a baptism will ward off some bad juju/save the baby's soul/whathaveyou, you might really want a baby to have it, but there's no such aspect to a Jewish naming. So, if there's no social reason and there's no spiritual reason...I'm not sure what's behind grandma's desire to have this event.

Pride?

If I had a child, my mother would want him/her to participate in certain rituals, simply for the status in the family/community at large. It doesn't matter if I believe in them, it doesn't matter if the child ever sees the inside of a church afterwards. It matters that she can tell her friends "My grandchild had X and Y ceremony!"

If someone asks GeekyChick1984's mom what her grandchild's Jewish name is, she may be embarrassed at having to explain why the child does not have one. It sounds like she is prepared to lie if she has to (give the child a name without a ceremony). I'd say the broken record technique is the only thing you can do. "That's not her name. That's not her name. That's not her name."

And as others have said, watch out. if she is tromping on boundaries about this, she will probably stomp on a few more before she gets the point.
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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2013, 05:41:42 PM »
A friend of mine was subjected to something similar - her mother's family baptized her in absentia (Mormon) because her parents were non-religious and refused to have her baptized at all.  It still bothers my friend 20+ later, because she and her parents were absolutely powerless to stop it - even though it doesn't "mean" something to them in the religious sense, it meant something to her grandparents and they keep thinking they "won."

If I were you, I would be very clear that your daughter is NOT going to have a Jewish name, unless she later in life decides to convert and chooses one for herself.  And if your mother is unable to address your daughter by the name that you choose for her, your mother won't get to see her granddaughter very much for a long time.  There's no need to subject your daughter to the kind of confusion she'd face if her grandma insisted on calling her one thing and her family another - and that's not even taking into consideration the possibility that your mother might take it a step further and try to introduce religion in ways you don't approve of.

Jones

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2013, 07:42:24 PM »
A friend of mine was subjected to something similar - her mother's family baptized her in absentia (Mormon) because her parents were non-religious and refused to have her baptized at all.  It still bothers my friend 20+ later, because she and her parents were absolutely powerless to stop it - even though it doesn't "mean" something to them in the religious sense, it meant something to her grandparents and they keep thinking they "won."

If I were you, I would be very clear that your daughter is NOT going to have a Jewish name, unless she later in life decides to convert and chooses one for herself.  And if your mother is unable to address your daughter by the name that you choose for her, your mother won't get to see her granddaughter very much for a long time.  There's no need to subject your daughter to the kind of confusion she'd face if her grandma insisted on calling her one thing and her family another - and that's not even taking into consideration the possibility that your mother might take it a step further and try to introduce religion in ways you don't approve of.
Wait what? I was raised Mormon and only baptisms in absentia are done on the dead. The living still have a chance to find the truth and must make that decision themselves after age 8. IIRC, there's a baptismal certificate that has to be signed by the person being baptized, the person performing the baptism and two witnesses.

As an aside, Mormons have a name and blessing for babies as well.I had to fill out paperwork for the church specifying my children's given names for their records. Is it the same with Jewish namings? Might Grandma be the type to forge that paperwork?

Eta: just asked my much-more-Mormon-than-I-am brother and he confirmed my thought on proxy baptism in the Mormon church. Which is a relief because I can name the family members who are going to have a fit this fall when DD turns 8 and isn't baptized.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 07:46:36 PM by Jones »

sammycat

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2013, 08:04:08 PM »
"Mom, why do you insist on giving her a Jewish name when she isn't Jewish? You know we are atheists."

"Mom, you've made it clear that you don't respect us as her parents. We are concerned you will take her to a synagogue for the naming ritual behind our backs. Because of that we have decided that you will never be allowed to take her without one of us present."

I agree with this.

I wasn't sure if it would be rude to call her out in front of my daughter in the future, or if I should do it in private.

Not rude at all. It's called advocating for your child, especially when she is too young to stand up for herself.

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2013, 08:13:23 PM »
My mom has nicknames for my girls. These are names only she calls them, and it is a special thing between them. My girls would be upset if I tried to take it away.  Mom does not try to get me to use these names, so it really doesn't have anything to do with me. I am not sure if this would be a similar situation or not.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2013, 08:15:57 PM »
A friend of mine was subjected to something similar - her mother's family baptized her in absentia (Mormon) because her parents were non-religious and refused to have her baptized at all.  It still bothers my friend 20+ later, because she and her parents were absolutely powerless to stop it - even though it doesn't "mean" something to them in the religious sense, it meant something to her grandparents and they keep thinking they "won."

If I were you, I would be very clear that your daughter is NOT going to have a Jewish name, unless she later in life decides to convert and chooses one for herself.  And if your mother is unable to address your daughter by the name that you choose for her, your mother won't get to see her granddaughter very much for a long time.  There's no need to subject your daughter to the kind of confusion she'd face if her grandma insisted on calling her one thing and her family another - and that's not even taking into consideration the possibility that your mother might take it a step further and try to introduce religion in ways you don't approve of.
Wait what? I was raised Mormon and only baptisms in absentia are done on the dead. The living still have a chance to find the truth and must make that decision themselves after age 8. IIRC, there's a baptismal certificate that has to be signed by the person being baptized, the person performing the baptism and two witnesses.

As an aside, Mormons have a name and blessing for babies as well.I had to fill out paperwork for the church specifying my children's given names for their records. Is it the same with Jewish namings? Might Grandma be the type to forge that paperwork?

Eta: just asked my much-more-Mormon-than-I-am brother and he confirmed my thought on proxy baptism in the Mormon church. Which is a relief because I can name the family members who are going to have a fit this fall when DD turns 8 and isn't baptized.

I'm not Mormon, so I only know what my friend told me.  Her maternal grandparents had her name entered into a book of some kind as baptized when she was an infant, because "they couldn't count on her mother to do it properly."  My friend grew up in her father's religion.

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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2013, 08:29:48 PM »
OP's mother might be thinking of future religious ritual.

A few years ago I was sick, and my girlfriend asked for my Hebrew name so she could include me in prayers. I'm an atheist, and she knows and accepts that, but it comforted her in the same way that some other ritual does, and in that specific, respectful context it doesn't bother me that she does them. Part of why I'm okay with this is that I know that if I were to tell her that I didn't want her to pray for me, she wouldn't.
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Re: Mother wants to give my baby a Jewish Name
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2013, 08:40:45 PM »
My mom has nicknames for my girls. These are names only she calls them, and it is a special thing between them. My girls would be upset if I tried to take it away.  Mom does not try to get me to use these names, so it really doesn't have anything to do with me. I am not sure if this would be a similar situation or not.

But this isn't a nickname, this is a religious name and it is bestowed during a religious celebration, and the parents are not of that religion and do not want it to happen and they have the final word.  Certain relatives had a nickname for my older DD..wasn't what I would call her, but it was something special between them so it was no biggie, but had they gone and added a name in a religious ceremony, I would have been royally offended.  Nobody but the parents have any say in the child's name or religious upbringing.  If it were me, grandma would only get supervised visitation and be corrected every.single.time she used a name that was not what is on the birth certificate.  Doesn't sound like mom is particularly religious either...she just wants to assert herself into something she has absolutely no say in.