We celebrated my daughter’s Simchat Bat, a day of blessings and celebrations in the Jewish community, on November 26, 2017. This is the letter I read to her during the ceremony.
I can’t wait to tell you about this day when you’re older. How so early in your life, with just weeks on this Earth, you were surrounded by so much love.
It’s not so different from when you came screaming into this world on October 28. That’s, of course, the day you were born. And the day your family descended on Cincinnati.
Your proud grandparents and adoring aunt made sure to be among the first to welcome you here. They filled the hospital hallway with excitement and joy, and let’s be honest, a fair share of noise. The nurses referred to your mom and me as “the ones with all the visitors.”
There is no doubt you are loved. Your family is strong, bighearted, steadfast, a little crazy, but so very much on your team. I know that no distance will keep any of them from showing you that every day.
Now if you don’t mind, Evie, I’d like to take a minute to say thank you to my parents, and to Jackie’s parents. You all have stood by us, cheered us on, and shown us what it means to love unconditionally our entire lives. We’re lucky to have you as parents. And Evie is lucky to have you as grandparents. So, thank you.
We’re also so fortunate to have another kind of family right here in Cincinnati made up of people who also already love you so much, Eve. They’ve delivered meals, flowers, gifts, well-wishes, and some of the most delicious challah I’ve ever tasted in my life. (Thank you, Sharon!)
This community has shown us so much kindness. More than we could have ever imagined. And, Eve, as you grow and learn in this community, I know you’ll grow to know and respect these people as much as we do too. How lucky we are as a family to have all of you.
I have no doubt, Evie, today is just the beginning of many occasions you’ll celebrate as a proud Jewish woman. I am so happy to be on this journey with you. I promise to learn with you, encourage you, and love you every step of the way.
Your mother and I promise to raise you to honor, study, and love tradition, and all that came before you, while also teaching you to question, debate, think deeply, and never stop being curious.
We promise to raise you to see the goodness in the world — while also teaching you to recognize the wrongs and why we must work to repair them.
We promise to protect you, but also empower you. We’ll help you find your own voice — and make sure it’s never silenced, always heard, and always respected.
We promise to help you see with eyes wide open and give you diverse experiences beyond our own daily life — experiences that challenge you and make you better.
We’ll teach you to question the status quo. To fight for the things you believe in. And stand up for what is right.
We promise to teach you empathy, compassion — and how to love with your whole heart.
When I think of who I hope you’ll be, Evie. I think of your mother. She is everything I hope you are.
Kind. Smart. Determined. Persistent. Rock solid.
She brought you into this world with the same care and perseverance she applies to everything else in her life.
She comes from a long line of strong women. And so do you.
Your namesake reflects just two. But there are so many more. Women who did not always do what was popular — but always did what was right. Women who stood strong, even when the world had to seem like it was on fire. Women who lived their values, cared for others, and truly cherished every day. Women past and present, who are chapters in an amazing story that you get to keep writing.
When in doubt, think of this legacy. Lean on the lessons of those who came before you. Lean on your Jewish values. And lean on the truths you discover as you go. Remember who you are. And remember so many people love you.
Eve — the world is already better because you are in it.
I can’t wait to see all that you do.
All my love,