Sarah Rose Saidman was born in Atlanta on Sept.13, but waited patiently until May 1st for her baby naming and foot washing ceremony. Forty-five guests came to celebrate with the Saidmans at great-grandfather Donald Reisman’s Borghese condo building.
Parents Nicole and Ben Saidman did not delay the occasion because of COVID, but rather waited to find a weekend when all of their family could attend. Nicole’s sister Julia and husband, Danny, were able to fly in from Oakland, Calif.
Sarah wore a dress that Nicole’s mom had saved from her childhood. Ben Saidman led off the ceremony by describing baby Sarah’s happy demeanor and contagious smile.
“She really makes you feel special. It doesn’t matter who you are, she has a smile for everyone. And it rarely leaves her face,” he said. “She has always been an incredibly happy baby. She adores her brother, Leo. She looks at him with love and admiration. He is able to make her belly laugh by singing to her, and when he talks to her, she giggles. It warms our hearts like nothing else.”
Sarah was named after Nicole’s grandmother, Shirley Reisman, and Ben’s grandmother, Rose Saidman. Her Hebrew names, Sarah and Shoshana, were chosen as the Hebrew versions of each name.
“These two women have a lot in common,” Nicole said. “Both were strong, tenacious and independent matriarchs. We chose to name Sarah after these women, not just because they are family, but because they exhibit traits and values that we can only hope she shares as she gets older. In the Torah, Sarah was the wife of Abraham and the first of the four matriarchs. She is widely referred to as Sarah Imeinu, ‘Sarah, Our Mother.’ Known for her kindness and hospitality, Sarah welcomed with open arms all who visited her tent.”
Matriarch Shirley Reisman was known for her hospitality and the family dinners she threw. She knew the importance of togetherness and created a strong foundation for the Reismans for generations to come.
Ahavath Achim Senior Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal led seven family members in pouring water on and drying Sarah’s feet while reading a corresponding verse. Foot washing in Jewish baby namings has been used to symbolize welcoming guests, as Abraham did, while recalling the covenant that G-d made with Noah after the flood.
Family members played the following roles:
Love of God: Mildred Kinbar and Donald Reisman — Ben’s grandmother and Nicole’s grandfather.
Torah: Bruce and Vickie Reisman — Nicole’s parents.
Justice: Suzi and Gary Saidman — Ben’s parents.
Heritage: Julia and Danny Lowenthal — Nicole’s sister and her husband.
Wisdom: Howard and Linda Reisman, Lisa and Gerald Reisman, Lisa Reisman — Nicole’s paternal aunts and uncles.
Compassion: Alice Ginsberg — Nicole’s maternal aunt.
Peace: Philip Kinbar — Ben’s maternal uncle.
“Sarah, we hope you will know the love and strength that family brings to life and embrace family — for all its craziness, it’s the deepest love. We know your smiles are already making those around you feel special and loved, just as your great grandmothers before you,” said Nicole.
“Shirley, of blessed memory, left us two years ago this coming September,” great-grandfather Donald Reisman told the AJT. “Family was so important to her; and she would have been delighted with this fifth great grandchild and expecting yet another one this fall. On the other hand, I found the foot washing ceremony very interesting. I have never seen that before.”
Added Touch Catering served a bounteous spread of fresh bagels and flatbreads, smoked salmon board, albacore tuna salad, individual farmers market vegetable frittatas with seasonal vegetables and topped with basil oil and sundried tomatoes, caramel French toast casserole and deconstructed fresh fruit.