Home - Interfaith Union - Chicago
Interfaith Services in Chicago
Ask the Clergy - Questions and Answers
Christian and Muslim Couples
Religious Education
Related Books
Guest View
Contact Interfaith
Download our Articles of Incorporation
Donate to Interfaith Union - Chicago
Making Our Way to Shore - A Celebration of Hebrew Naming and Baptism - by Eileen O'Farrell Smith
Making Our Way to Shore - A Celebration of Hebrew Naming and Baptism - by Eileen O'Farrell Smith This new book explores the roots of Jewish and Christian Rites of Initiation in a meaningful and purposeful way for interfaith families who are looking for a way to integrate two sacred religious traditions in their homes. Additionally, the sacred Hebrew Naming ceremony in combination with the Rite of Christian Baptism is presented as a template for those looking to celebrate this rite of welcoming.

Other chapters include an overview of the current literature addressing the needs of Catholic Jewish families; commonly asked questions and answers that interfaith couples face; practical tools that young interfaith families can use as they "grow" their family into faith and a resource section on helpful books and websites.

Eileen O'Farrell Smith is an Irish Catholic from New York, recently widowed from Stephen Smith a Jewish man from Boston, home of his beloved World Champion Red Sox. In 1995, she was awarded a 4-year grant from Lilly Endowment to study how religious faith is formed in children with a Catholic Jewish parent. As a result of that work and her commitment to interfaith families, she was awarded a grant in 2001 from the ACTA Foundation to write this text. She is the proud mother of three awesome young adults. In the spring of 2012, she graduated as a Bernardin Scholar at The Catholic Theological Union, an honor in the name and legacy of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Eileen received a Master’s in Theology with a focus on Spirituality and Interreligious Dialogue.

Buy it Here

Thank You
Naming Ceremony
Since 1991, families and clergy have created and celebrated ceremonies to welcome and bless our children in a religious context with a Catholic Priest and Rabbi as Co-Presiders. These ceremonies are spiritual moments, created in the spirit of finding new pathways for interfaith families to share their traditions.

For some couples, their ceremony makes the statement about the religious identity of their child, either in one faith tradition or another, or sometimes both.

For others, it is an expression of thanks to God for new life and the wish to beseech God's blessing on their family. Our goal is to respond to each family and to help them discover a ritual that is authentic to their own vision of faith and life.

As the program has evolved over the past fifteen years, we have realized the importance of preparation, community and education, prior to the ceremony. To that end, we invite all families, those expecting a child or those with children to join us at the monthly couples meetings. We have discovered attendance at these meetings to be of great value to those contemplating Rites of Initiation (as well as the lovely likelihood of making a new friend!).

Ceremonies are scheduled throughout the year at St. Anne's in Barrington, Old St. Patrick's in Chicago and Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park

Should you decide to proceed with the scheduling of a ceremony date, please check the calendar below. Once you have chosen a ceremony date, you will be asked to attend a mandatory preparation meeting, usually scheduled three-four weeks prior to your ceremony.

At this time, you will have the opportunity to meet with your Site Coordinator, to ask questions regarding the practical aspects of the ceremony (e.g. where do I stand, what should the baby/child wear, etc) as well as the profound (what is the theology of Baptism and am I ready to proceed?) and to meet other families participating at the same time. Please know there is a maximum of four families at one time.

There is a fee for this service. We ask a payment of $420, for which all expenses to clergy, etc. will be paid.



We are thrilled to welcome Sarah Collete Freshwater, born May 27, 2009. Congratulations to Amy, Jay and Rachel!

Please contact Amy Freshwater the Ceremony Coordinator at amyfreshwater@gmail.com for more information and scheduling.


Hebrew Naming Baptism Calendar for 2017

April 2 Old St. Patrick’s Sunday 1:00pm Rabbi Ike Serotta & Rev. Tom Hurley
April 2 Old St. Patrick’s Sunday 2:30pm Rabbi Ike Serotta & Rev. Tom Hurley
May 7 Lakeside Congregation Sunday 2:00pm Pastor Jason Glombicki & Rabbi Ike Serotta (Lutheran Jewish)
May 27 St. Anne's Saturday 1:00pm Bernie Pietrzak & Rabbi Misha Tillman
May 27 St. Anne's Saturday 2:00pm Bernie Pietrzak & Rabbi Misha Tillman
October 21 St. Anne's Saturday 1:00pm Bernie Pietrzak & Rabbi Misha Tillman
October 21 St. Anne's Saturday 2:00pm Bernie Pietrzak & Rabbi Misha Tillman
October 22 Lakeside Congregation Sunday 2:00pm Rabbi Ike Serotta and Rev. Tom Libera

Site Map | © 2015 E. O'Farrell Smith. All Rights Reserved. | Design by Technology Support & Solutions, INC