About The Ceremony

The Brit Milah is a powerful, yet simple ritual that has changed little over the thousands of years it has been practiced. It connects an infant and his family to our Jewish ancestors, the Jewish community of today, and to those who will follow us. It is a time of joy and celebration.

I can perform the ceremony myself, or work together with the Rabbi of your choice. It is traditional to schedule the Bris as early in the day as is possible to show our eagerness to perform this mitzvah.

The Brit Milah ceremony begins with the guests rising and welcoming the baby as he is brought into the room by the Kvaterin (definitions to the right). A few words are shared as the baby is placed on the chair of Elijah. Then he is placed on the Sandek's lap and the circumcision is performed. The Kiddush is said as the baby receives a few drops of wine. The second part of the ceremony is when the baby receives his Hebrew name. It is customary for the parents to explain his name at this time. The ceremony concludes with a few readings and Hamotzi.

I work closely with families to craft a ceremony that includes people they wish to honor and readings that are meaningful to them. If you have certain people you wish to honor, or special readings you would like to include, please let me know and we will find a role that is fitting for each special individual.

Honored Roles

The Parents - Parents usually read or say something during the naming part of the ceremony. The baby's Hebrew name is often meaningful because it is the name that will be used when he is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah, and the name that will be used at his wedding. Many parents like to give a short description of the person for whom the baby is named or explain why they chose his name if he is not named after anyone in particular.

Sandek - This is the most honored role. The Sandek holds the baby while the Brit Milah is performed. Traditionally the Sandek is a Jewish person who can testify that the Bris was performed in accordance with Jewish law. Some communities give this role to a grandfather, others to a Rabbi or close friend.

Sandek Sheni - (optional) - This helper gives the baby sugar water or wine during the circumcision to help keep him comfortable.

Kvatter (male) and Kvaterin (female) - These are the honored people who bring the infant into the room where the Brit Milah is to take place. Some families choose to have more than one Kvaterin perform this Mitzvah.

Candle Lighter - This is an optional role accompanied by a lovely reading.

Prayers - The Kiddush and Hamotzi are said during the ceremony. Friends or family can recite these blessings. If there are siblings, it is nice to have them help by saying Hamotzi at the end of the ceremony.

Readers - Certain parts of the ceremony do not need to be read by the Mohelet. If there are individuals whom you would like to honor, please let me know. Please remember, however, that this is your son's first public appearance and it is often wise to keep the ceremony short and sweet.