A Jewish Weaning Ceremony

The celebration of an infant's weaning goes back to the feast Abraham held for his son Isaac.

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In honor of this occasion, it would be appropriate for the parents to make a charitable donation. In Eastern Europe it was customary to make a donation equal to the weight of the child.

"Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth."

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheynu melekh ha-olam ha-motzi lehem min ha-aretz.

It was customary in Eastern Europe for a neighbor to give the child the first food he received after weaning. This tradition can be continued by someone other than the parents giving the child a piece of bread before the guests partake of the motzi [bread on which the ha-motzi blessing is recited].

"Just as Abraham and Sarah rejoiced at the weaning of their son Isaac, our hearts, too, are glad that (child's name) has grown into full childhood sustained in good health by God's precious gift of milk."

"Bless us, God--all of us together--with the light of Your countenance."

Barkhenu avinu kulanu k'echad b'or panekha.

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Mel Silberman

Dr. Mel Silberman is a professor of adult and organizational learning at Temple University and an internationally known expert on teacher training. He is the author of numerous books in his field, the latest being Working PeopleSmart.