45 babies accompanied by their parents and grandparents were in attendance at Mill Hill Shul in London this past Sunday for a special Menorah lighting and ‘baby blessing.’
The blessings includes the recitation of several Tefilois and Tehilim of shevach vhoido’oh, Menorah lighting (a torch handed from one father to the next and likewise by the women) with which the menorah is then lit.
At the end, the parents receiving a special poster with the Shema and their child’s name and birchas Cohanim.
“The first time we did this, 7 years ago we had 17 babies born within the year in the community and I wondered whether we would be able to keep it going as a viable concern,” Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet said in his speech.
“Since then we have been averaging 30-40 babies a year with this year breaking all records in there being 45 newborns.”
He went on to explain that Chanukah is a wonderful time to do a special birchas Cohanim on all the babies – “because this is when we celebrate the miracle of lights.
“And there is no greater miracle than the birth of your baby and there is no greater light than the neshama you bring into this world and through which it will, in due course, impact this world. ”
He also explained the significance of chinuch in the context of Chanukah and how this is the moment that they have to all resolve to ensure a sound Jewish education for their children.
This celebration was followed by a special play and production for toddlers at which more than 400 young children and parents turned out for two sold-old productions.