Regarding the Dec. 28 article “Birthrites,” for many years, I was a childbirth educator (Lamaze method). I am an accredited Lamaze instructor. Many couples who came to classes in my home were Jewish, some more committed, some less. My home is a visibly Jewish home; many of the couples would ask me questions about Jewish rituals (brit milah), choosing a name, rituals for naming a girl, etc.
An ob/gyn approached me about having a childbirth preparation program just within the Jewish community. I contacted Dr. Arnold Michael, z”l, to discuss the idea. He was enthusiastic and offered much support in developing the program. Since I wanted this to be part of the Jewish community, I contacted then-Jewish Family Services to provide a social worker to discuss the social/emotional changes that occur with the birth of a baby, especially a first baby; the Greater Baltimore Jewish Community Center as a place to house this program; Sinai Hospital, which provided a nurse; various community rabbis to discuss rituals surrounding the birth of a baby; and a mohel to discuss brit milah.
The childbirth training was taught by an accredited instructor from the Childbirth Education Association. The curriculum that was used was from Los Angeles, where a similar program was developed and used.
Called “In the Beginning: A Jewish Lamaze Experience,”it proved to be quite successful, with the support of the Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation. A first reunion was held at Temple Oheb Shalom, where a havdalah service was held, with many babies crawling or toddling. It was beautiful. Subsequently, the program was renamed “Shalom Baby”[now Lamazal Tov].