Welcome, baby &mdash Parents-to-be can learn about Jewish birth rituals

For anyone thinking about becoming a parent, Karen Kushner has a message: The Jewish community cares.

That’s why the director of Project Welcome, the Jewish Choice Initiative, has organized a three-session workshop to help parents-to-be — Jewish, intermarried, single or couples, adopting, gay or straight — who are curious about Jewish rituals and traditions that welcome a new child.

“The increase in the numbers of intermarriage raise some alarms. This is just what modern times are,” says Kushner. “It just made sense that there needed to be programming to help them when they’re just starting out as parents.”

The workshops will be offered at 17 synagogues throughout the Bay Area, with day and night, weekday and weekend two-hour sessions, from April through September.

The first session is designed to help parents design a blessing for their baby. “Everyone knows it’s going to be a miracle moment,” she says. “This shows them that miracle moment can be enhanced by ritual, and that ritual can enhance other things in your life.”

The second session covers the birth ceremonies for boys and girls, and the final session concerns naming the baby and “how that connects to trying to choose an identity,” she says.

The Jewish Choice Initiative is a grant-funded initiative in conjunction with the Pacific Central West Region of the Union for Reform Judaism.

For more information about cost, times and locations, or to register, call Project Welcome at (415) 392-7080, ext. 16 or 18.