Welcoming Ceremony for An Adopted Child


In honor of our daughter Hallel Margalit Nesyah Angel Robin Raphael
Created by Simcha and Rayzel Raphael, January 1999


B’Shem Ha-Shem B’Shem Ha-Shem Elohei Yisrael
M’yemini Michael, U’mismoli Gavriel
M’lfanei Uriel, u’ma’akhorei Raphael
V’al roshi, V’al roshi Shechinat El (2)


A yingele, a meydele
A meydele, a yingele
Lomir aleh gayen tansten

Lomir aleh tansten gayen
~ Die mameh ~ aleyn geyt oykh tansten
Lomir aleh tansten gayen
Lomir aleh tansten gayen

~ Der tateh ~
~ Der altar brider ~
~ Die gantse mishpokhe~
~ Der Rabbonim ~


The characters:

THE GODPARENTS: Phil Wachs & Juliet Spitzer; Mark & Aida Paull.

THE WISDOM CIRCLE: Shawn Zevit; Talia Malka; Myriam Klotz; Margot Stein; and Bobbi Breitman.

THE MIDWIVES (ROSH HODESH): Debra Baer-Moses; Merle Berman; Shoshana Bricklin;
Malka Goodman; Marcia Prager; Vivie Mayer-Deutsch; Sharon Steifel, Beulah Trey; Elana Schachter; Mindy Shapiro; Juliet Spitzer.

Bill Kavesh; Herb Levine; Mitch Marcus; Cy Swartz; Chaim Rothstein, z”l.

SANDY – Our Guide (SARA – THE SEER): Sandy Cohen


THE MESSENGER: Lina Zerbarini

ABBA & EMAH: Simcha and Geela-Rayzel

THE OLDER BROTHER: Yigdal Shalev Jerusalem Jeremiah Paull Raphael

THE NEW DAUGHTER/SISTER: Hallel Margalit Nesyah Robin Raphael

SANDY – Our Guide: How do we explain the awesome mystery of children, parents and families that we are here to celebrate this day? How can we human folk understand why one woman carries a baby, and another family parents the child?

ABBA & EMAH: Oh, Cosmic Source of Life, reveal to our probing minds and questing spirits the unknown secrets of how children are brought to parents. When souls choose to be born, are such decisions made randomly, or is there a pre-determined destiny affecting life, birth and parenting?

ABBA: Is the universe backlogged with unfulfilled prayer requests for children?

EMAH: Or does an angelic administrative team purposefully handle all the details?

COMMUNITY: This we know… Our sages have taught: “Forty days before birth, a child’s chosen soul-mate is announced by the Bat Kol, Heavenly Voice.” [Zerah Kodesh, l’Tu B’Av] And from this union all possibilities flow.

ABBA & EMAH: Okay, so we know destiny has inter-woven our lives.

ABBA: You, the daughter of Mitchell and Natalie Robinson.

EMAH: You, son of Harold and Rose Paull.

ABBA & EMAH: Clearly, the Bat Kol has put us together.

THE GODPARENTS:  That is obvious! Who else could put up with each of you?

ABBA & EMAH: When we married, we recognized each other as soul mates, and shared hopes and dreams for a family.

EMAH: And we prayed for children.

ABBA & EMAH: But how are children assigned? What is that mysterious, invisible hand of destiny that links children to parents, souls to families, siblings to siblings?

COMMUNITY: Remember, our tradition teaches that as a bride stands under the huppah, all her descendents are visible to her.

ABBA: Four years after we stood under the huppah, Yigdal came along, conceived in Ir Ha-Kodesh, Jerusalem.

EMAH: Some of you recall how nine years ago we were blessed with a small boy child bursting forth from deep inside the womb, four weeks early.

YIGDAL: I have been the only child, the one who made my mother, an Emah, my father, an Abba.

ABBA & EMAH: Yes Yigdal, you are our oldest son, and a very special child.

COMMUNITY: But is not the first mitzva of Torah: “Be fruitful and multiply?”

ABBA & EMAH: “Be fruitful” – okay! But “multiply”? And have a two-career family, and write a book, produce a few CDs… and concerts, lectures, workshops….. C’mon! What more can two people do?

COMMUNITY: Since Torah teaches “Be fruitful and multiply” our Sages, in their characteristic style, ask: how many children fulfills this requirement?

GODPARENTS – Phil & Juliet: According to the school of Shammai: two sons! (M. Yeb. 6:6)

GODPARENTS – Mark & Aida: According to the school of Hillel: a son and a daughter, for it is written, ‘Male and female created He them. [Gen. 5:2]’ (M. Yeb. 6:6)

ABBA & EMAH: We began to sense someone was missing from our family. In the moments of pause between phone calls and faxes, there was a growing longing, a yearning unfulfilled. We each come from a family of three children. We knew there was someone else to enter the story of our family life.

THE WISDOM CIRCLE: This is the story of mystery and destiny, of knowing and not knowing, of longing, surrender and fulfillment. A story of lessons learned and prayers answered, a journey of faith and disappointment, hope and ambivalence, angels and mortals, miracles and mundane matters.

COMMUNITY: This is a tale of love and joy, pain and frustration, of family, friends and community.

ABBA & EMAH: This is our story of struggle to complete a family, to fulfill a soul contract whose full meaning we have yet to glimpse. This is a tale of a family searching for a missing child, a brother finding his sister, parents meeting their daughter.

SANDY – Our Guide: This is how Simcha, Rayzel, Yigdal and Hallel finally came to meet each other.

ABBA: When married we took a blended name – Raphael – combining Robinson and Paull. We agreed one child would carry the name Paull & another, Robin, for Robinson.

YIGDAL: Paull is one of my many names, a connection with my father’s family.

EMAH: And I kept waiting for Robin; I just could not let go!

MIDWIVES: For six years we heard your story, and rode the ups and downs of cycles of expectation and grief. We held you in our hearts as you shared your dreams and frustrations.

JOURNEY MEN: We remember your struggle and pain, your surgery to increase possibilities of fertility. We laughed and cried with you as you told us of times you were asked to leave a deposit of life force in a little plastic container.

JULIET & MARGOT: We were even privileged to give Rayzel the injections she needed for infertility treatments! What a tush!

ABBA & EMAH: We still do not understand what happens to souls who choose short term experiences of womb life.

COMMUNITY: We remember comforting you after you lost the pregnancy.

WISDOM CIRCLE: We offered caring love and spiritual counsel in the healing of grief and pain.

ABBA & EMAH: We crafted a miscarriage ritual; we yelled at God; we wrote pages in our journals. We grieved silently and together.

EMAH: I wrote a Kaddish and surrendered.

ABBA: But all along, Rayzel kept insisting we continue to save Yigdal’s old clothes.

YIGDAL: I continued to wish for a brother or sister every time I threw coins into a fountain, every year as I blew out candles on my birthday cake.

ABBA & EMAH: We deliberated, we pondered, we even tried…. but we could not give up the dream, the desire for another child.

EMAH: I’d look at my collection of earrings and weep for a daughter.

SANDY – Our Guide: I have walked the journey with many who grew their family through adoption. I heard your prayers, I held your dream, I offered you hope.

COMMUNITY: Our tradition teaches: “Whoever raises another’s child in their home is regarded by the Torah as though the child had been born to him or her.” (BT Sanh. 19b)

ABBA & EMAH: But we were hesitant, indecisive.

ABBA: Ambivalent!

ABBA & EMAH: So much to do, so little time to do it all.

ABBA: Summer 1996. Our dear friend Chaim died. So much loss and grief. From out of the wasteland, I found my way to Mystery School, where, with the support of new friends, I was able to re-affirm my vision of a larger family.

EMAH: I had to graduate from RRC and eventually leave my job to make space in my life.

ABBA & EMAH: It took us almost two years to file papers for adoption. Many of our dear friends who are adoptive parents encouraged each step along the way.

SANDY – Our Guide: I waited patiently, I sensed the right time would come.

ABBA: I was growing older, closer to fifty than forty.

EMAH: I kept on praying.

YIGDAL: I still had hope.

SANDY – Our Guide: I told you to hold faith, each family gets the right child, no matter how long it takes.

ABBA & EMAH: Then on a late spring day last June, our child was born – to someone else.

ABBA: Soon, I began to sense that my child was alive somewhere on the planet.

SANDY – Our Guide: We had wonderful conversations together, meandering through a process of preparation with two people who wanted to slowly consider all the options.

ABBA: After a while I began to feel like a pregnant father, expressed as follows:


angelblowby Simcha Raphael
(Published in Adoption Today, July 2002, p. 33)

No kicking in the belly
Or late night hunger surges
Remind my body of your immanent birth in my life.

Sure I have gained a few pounds
Too many cookies eaten to silence
The din of anxiety.

Though another’s body, another’s loins birth you into the world
I stand pregnant inside
Readying to catch you as you land in my arms.

And I shall call you Son, Daughter
And you shall know me as Abba-Daddy.

Never, ever can I remove the empty scar of orphaned life.
All the knowing of time and mind
Can’t fill the wound, nor answer why.
I only know in this pregnant moment of time
Your destiny and mine are being called to meet.

You, the Orphan I shall call my Child.
I, the Pregnant Father
Praying to be worthy to love you in the fullness of time.

Praying to birth from within me
Compassionate wisdom, patience, and love
Abundant energy, humor and a gentle spirit.

That I may respond to your cries
And fulfill this destiny we have created
Aeons ago, in the womb of eternal time.


THE WISDOM CIRCLE: Summer turned to fall, the hagim were just around the corner. Rumor had it you were working on an adoption. Somehow. Sometimes. We even read about it on the Internet.

We are a married couple: I am 47 and work as a professor and psychotherapist; my wife is 45, and works as a rabbi. We have an eight year old son, and are seeking to adopt a second child. We have completed our home study, and have begun preparations to link up with an individual, or an agency to arrange for an adoption. We are ready to open up our hearts to love and care for a child, to provide a healthy and nurturing home environment for a new member of our family. If you know of any situation in which a child (from birth to 24 months of age) is available for adoption, please contact us either by email or by phone and, as appropriate, please pass on this email.

LINA, THE MESSENGER: “Simcha, Rayzel – there is a Jewish baby available for adoption in New Jersey!!” I read your message on the Internet, and telephoned you three days before Rosh Ha-Shana.

ABBA & EMAH: Birth mother: a 17 year old Russian Jewish teenager; birth father, a 19 year old man of German Catholic ancestry. But we didn’t yet have all our adoption papers complete.

SANDY – Our Guide: That’s right! Only at the end of Rosh Ha-Shana did we finish our preparations.

ABBA & EMAH: We called. We applied to parent this child. But Sandy told us we had a 5% chance.

WISDOM CIRCLE: We prayed with you.

COMMUNITY: We waited with you.

ABBA & EMAH: At the end of October we heard: we were selected to adopt this girl child. But was she healthy? Who was she? Tell us more…. And we waited, almost another month with no news.

ABBA: We discovered she had been named Julie by her foster mother, who had cared for 190 babies!

EMAH: Then we were told her birth mother had given her the name Angel Rose.

SANDY – Our Guide: And that she was cared for by two strong Biblical women – Debra, her social worker, and Esther/Hadassah, her mother’s social worker.

YIGDAL: On the second night of Hanukah we brought home a present.

ABBA & EMAH: A miracle! A six month-old blue-eyed baby girl!

WISDOM CIRCLE: We were there to witness the wonder, and the chaos.

GODPARENTS: We know it is easier to hang a Hamsa on the wall of your home, or build a new bookcase than to find place for a new baby.

COMMUNITY: We were there to welcome her as we are now.

ABBA & EMAH: She was initiated by our tribal elders when we took her to meet the grandparents in the primordial land of Florida.

ABBA: Now, representing the center candle on this Holy Menorah of Light and Life, I call on Yigdal.

YIGDAL: As a proud older brother I want to introduce you to my sister,

Hallel Margalit Nesyah Angel Robin Raphael.

GODPARENT – Mark: Hallel – Praise. Hallelu-Yah – Praise to God! In honor of my father, and Simcha’s father, Harold Paull.

GODPARENT – Aida: Margalit – Pearl, Jewel. Named Julie by her foster mother. In memory of Simcha’s maternal grandmother, Mina Geiger. In memory of Simcha’s paternal grandfather, Myron Palefsky. In honor of Geela Rayzel’s father, Mitchell Robinson.

GODPARENT – PHIL: Nesyah – Miracle of God. Nes-Yah. Our Hanukah miracle. In honor of Geela Rayzel’s mother, Natalie Robinson.

GODPARENT – JULIET: Angel – Named Angel Rose by her birth mother.

EMAH: Robin – We now have a daughter whose name honor’s Simcha’s mother, Rose Paull, and who carries a link to my family name, Robinson.

ABBA: Raphael – Please help us welcome into our community the newest branch on the Raphael family tree.

NORMAN: On behalf of the Robinson/Tabecov/Auerbach clan, we welcome you into this family.

MARK, AIDA, TAMARA ASHLEY: On behalf of the Paull/Geiger clan we welcome you into this family.

LORI: Hallel, we welcome you into the company of strong and creative women,

MORDECAI J. & MORDECHAI L. : and into a community of men who are both tender and strong and parent children with love and compassion.

BATSHEVA: We welcome you into a community where children are appreciated and loved.

JULIE G.: where children of different lands and races live together

LYNNE: where we honor our elders, and their wisdom.

MINDY: We welcome you into a community of artists

FRIEND: of musicians,

FRIEND: of social activists,

FRIEND: of healers.

FRIENDS: We welcome you into a community…..

SUSAN & MOON: We welcome you into a community of rainbow families,

FRIEND: into a community which respects individual choices of sexual diversity.

CY & LOIS: We welcome you into a community where men and women respect each other,

FRIEND: into a community which acknowledges universal truths encoded in the religions of the world.

DAVID T.: We welcome you into a community where there are more women rabbis per square block than anywhere else on the planet.

LISA K & MICHAEL S.: We welcome you into a great neighborhood with good neighbors.

EMAH: Hallel, my sweet daughter, you are now part of a community where we sing songs of praise and Halleuyah to the Holy Blessed One.


for Hallel Margalit Nesya Angel Robin Raphael
by Geela Rayzel Raphael, December 1998

Through the tears and the longing
through the grief and the pain
We have held our hearts open
Waiting for this day.
It was a miracle to find you
Like a puzzle’s missing piece
Hope was our companion
Now our joy can be released.

On my knees I will hold you
On my knees I will care
On my knees I will love you
I’ll always be right here.

As our Father Yaacov
lay his hands upon their heads
Calling forth the blessing
this is what he said:
Let God who has been my shepherd
all my many days
and the angel who redeemed me
bless you many ways.

Mother Michal was a beauty
wore t’fillin every day
yet her heart yearned for children
so deeply did she pray;
When her sister passed on over
leaving five little ones alone
Just as Michal took them in
we welcomed you home.

May you do good deeds among us
study Torah all the while
May we all live to know the moment
when you walk down that aisle;
Be all that you can be
Your curiosity never cease
May you seek the cause of justice
and work for the planets’ peace.

Our mothers and fathers
and all who have gathered here
Open their arms to embrace you
and wipe away your tears;
As we walk with you on your journey
through life’s twists and turns
May we be the kind of family
Where love is what you learn

Final Chorus (all sing):
In our arms we will hold you
In our hearts we will care
With our souls we will love you
We will always be right here









May the Blessings of God Rest Upon You
May God’s peace abide with you.
May God’s Presence, illuminate your heart
Now and forever more.


Kayn Ti’hi’yeh Lanu: a Havdalah Song
by Geela Rayzel Raphael

Hinei el yeshuati, evtach v’lo evhad,
ki azi v’zimrat Yah va’yihi li shua
Uvshavtim mayim b’sasson, mi’ma’any hayeshua (2x)

La Yah Hayishuah; Al amcha birchotecha, selah;
G-d who is our salvation; Pour Your blessing on this nation.

For the Jews had light and joy, gladness and honor, so may it be with us, kayn tihiyeh lanu.

Adonai Tz’vaot eemanu; Misgav lanu;
Captain of the Heavenly Hosts; Your’re with us when we need You most.

Adonai Tz’vaot, Ashrei adam botayach bach
G-d the one who guards the truth; Praised be the one who trust in You.

Hamelech ya’anaynu; B’yom Karaynu;
The Holy One will answer all; In the day we hear our call.

Layihudim hayitah, Orah v’simcha,
V’sasone vi’kar; Kayn tihiyeh lanu.


In our arms we will hold you
In our hearts we will care
With our souls we will love you
We will always be right here.

We dedicate this ceremony to our parents
Harold and Rose Paull
Mitchell and Natalie Robinson
and their ancestors.

Special thanks to all our friends and family who
helped with the creation and implementation of this ritual.

Simcha and Geela Rayzel Raphael