Adam Benjamin Feinstein is one lucky boy.
In Jewish tradition, the number 18 is an auspicious number. The Hebrew letters that equal the number 18 translate into the word “chai,” which means life in English. Adam, whose parents’ address includes the number 18 three times, was born on Sept. 18, which also happened to be the first day of the Jewish new year.
His birth at 5:26 a.m. on the first day of Rosh Hashanah makes Adam Benjamin Feinstein the first Jewish baby born in Washington state in the Jewish year 5762.
He is gifted in other ways, as well. In addition to two loving parents, he has four grandparents, three attentive cats and three enthusiastic dogs.
Adam’s parents, Dr. Lyle and Beth Feinstein, were married in New York City about a year and a half ago. They met in Seattle on a blind date (Lyle’s colleague, who is also Beth’s cousin, fixed them up). Lyle is finishing up a fellowship in oncology with the University of Washington Medical Center and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Beth is a retired-for-now special education teacher.
They belong to Temple De Hirsch Sinai and live in Seattle a few blocks away from the synagogue. They asked Rabbi Simon Benzaquen, of Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, to officiate at Adam’s brit milah last week. In the little baby boomlet among their friends, Rabbi Benzaquen has been the mohel every time. “Our bris was the fourth one we’ve been to that he presided over,” Lyle said.
They were unable to attend Rosh Hashanah services because Beth spent the night before Adam was born at Swedish Medical Center getting ready to have the baby, who was born right on his due date. Beth says he timed it perfectly because her parents, Esther and Norman Roof of Brooklyn, N.Y., arrived in Seattle just a few hours before he was born.
Adam’s paternal grandparents are Gloria and Bruce Feinstein of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He is the first grandchild on Lyle’s side of the family and the first grandson on Beth’s side. Bruce Feinstein was born on the 18th day of July, something of a family tradition.
Adam’s Hebrew name is Asher. He is named after Lyle’s grandmother Esther. “She passed away when I was in college. I was very close with her and loved her dearly,” Lyle says of his grandma. “She was the single kindest person I ever met — with my own mother being pretty close.”
Beth says Adam is an easygoing baby, who only cries when he is hungry. “He hasn’t stopped eating,” she says. “He eats every two hours,” Lyle adds. The grandparents say he has already shown signs of being a sweet and intelligent boy, and his pets have also shown their approval.
The rest of Adam’s immediate family include three cats — Casper, Finster and Gabby — and three male American Eskimo dogs — Sebastian, Hugi and Klayna. All six animals were rescued by Adam’s parents.