The Bris of a healthy baby is done on the eighth day with the day of birth being counted as the first day. Jewish days begin and end at sunset. For example, a baby born on a Sunday will have his Bris the following Sunday. A baby born on Sunday night after sunset will have his Bris the following Monday. A Bris must be performed during daylight hours and it is traditional to schedule the Bris as early in the day as possible to show our eagerness to perform this mitzvah. A Bris performed at night or before the eighth day is not valid.
The commandment to perform Brit Milah on the eighth day of life is so important that even if the eighth day falls on Shabbat, Yom Kippur or any other Jewish festival, the Bris is performed. However, in the case of a baby born by Caesarean section, the Bris is not performed on Shabbat or on a festival, but on the day following. In the event that a baby is not in perfect health, even if not seriously ill, the Bris is delayed until both the doctor and the mohel are in agreement as to the healthy status of the baby.
A Bris should occur in the setting that is most comfortable for the family. In most cases this is in the family's home or in the home of a close relative. Other possible locations include the synagogue, a restaurant with a private room, or a catering hall.
There are many opportunities to participate in the Brit Milah ceremony. I work closely with families to ensure that all important people are included. There are roles appropriate for Jewish and non-Jewish participants as well as siblings. Please see the honored roles section under the Ceremony tab.
What kind of training do you have to be a Mohelet?(answer/hide)
Dr. Grope was trained as a Mohelet under the auspices of
the Berit Milah Board of Reform Judaism. She was certified
in February 2010 and is a member of the National Organization
of American Mohalim/ot (NOAM).
Dr. Grope is also a board certified Pediatrician. She
obtained her board certification in 2003 and has been a
hospital-based pediatrician since then. Dr. Grope has performed
hundreds of medical circumcisions as part of her daily job.
Dr. Grope uses the same method to circumcise babies in the
hospital that she uses during a Bris.
The ceremony requires little preparation on your part;
however, there are some requirements. Please have the following
Small sturdy table (a card table is fine) - It is nice to have this covered with a beautiful tablecloth.
If you have any photographs of the person the baby will be named after, it is nice to have these out on the table.
Small trash can under the table
A standard-sized pillow with pillowcase
Blanket or twin sized sheet folded flat - This will be
on the Sandek's lap with the baby on top so something
folded to lap-size works best. (nothing fancy please
as it may get dirty)
Good overhead light
Several diapers and wipes
Kosher Grape Wine
Hiddur Mirzvah- this means beautifying the ceremony. Some people choose to
spread rose petals on the table; others choose to have pictures
or other meaningful heirlooms out for guests to admire.
Candlesticks, candles, and matches
Food for the Seudat Mitzvah- It is customary to have a festive meal after the ceremony. It does not need to be fancy!
Supplies needed for taking care of the circumcision(answer/hide)
6 tubes of squeezable Vaseline or petroleum jelly. These tubes are fairly big. It seems like a lot, but you will need this to care for the circumcision. (You can usually purchase these at Safeway or Walgreen's)
Infant Tylenol or generic acetaminophen, infant drop formula. Your baby may not need this, but it is nice to have on hand. Remember to check with me for proper dosing, and never give your baby Tylenol before he is 2 months old without speaking to a physician first.
What type of clamp do you use to perform the circumcision?(answer/hide)
Dr. Grope uses the Mogan clamp. This is the method used by most Mohels and is considered a Kosher way of performing a Bris. Dr. Grope believes this method causes the least amount of pain.
Are there any medical benefits to circumcision?(answer/hide)
Medical research shows that circumcising your son can help protect him from many illnesses throughout his life. These benefits include a greatly reduced risk of urinary tract and kidney infections. A reduced risk of foreskin infection and a reduced risk of unretractable foreskins are prevented by circumcision. There is also reduced risk of HIV transmission and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in the partners of circumcised men. Studies show an almost-complete elimination of penile cancer.
To learn more about the medical benefits of circumcision, Dr. Grope recommends Dr. Ed Schoen's book, On Circumcision.
Circumcision is generally a low-risk procedure. As with
any surgical procedure, there is a risk of bleeding, infection
and poor cosmetic result. These occur at a rate of approximately
0.2% of all circumcisions and most of these complications
are due to minor bleeding. Dr. Grope carries materials to
control unexpected bleeding, and the procedure is performed
as a sterile procedure to avoid infection. There is a very
low risk of damage to the penis during this procedure. Dr.
Grope will review the specific risks and benefits of circumcision
prior to performing the Bris and answer any other questions
you may have.
Feel free to call Dr. Grope as early in your pregnancy
as you wish, to discuss any questions you may have about
Brit Milah or circumcision.
Please call Dr. Grope as soon as possible when the baby is born. If the baby is born in the middle of the night, please wait until later in the morning to call, but do not wait longer than that. Please leave a message as Dr. Grope may be with patients, or in the middle of a ceremony. She will call back as soon as possible.
In the meantime please begin gathering the items needed for the Bris. You can find a checklist under the "supplies needed" FAQ.
I will perform a Bris on any baby who is born of a Jewish
parent or adopted by a Jewish person with the intention
of raising the child as a Jew.
How do we choose a Hebrew name for our child?(answer/hide)
There are many beautiful customs surrounding the choosing of a Hebrew name for your child. Among Ashkenazi Jews, babies are usually named after a deceased relative. It is believed the good qualities of that person are reflected in the new baby, helping to carry on that loved one's memory. Among Sephardic Jews, conversely, it is customary to name a new baby after a living relative.
A Hebrew name can be chosen in different ways. You may choose a Hebrew name that will be used as the child's secular name as well. Parents often use the first letter of the secular name and choose a Hebrew name that begins with that same letter. You may also use the translation of the English name to derive a Hebrew name. Some parents simply find a Hebrew name they love and choose that for their child.
Whatever Hebrew name you choose, it will be used for many life-cycle events to come. The Hebrew name is used for calling people to the Torah, as well as for legal documents such as the Ketubah (marriage contract). You can find suggestions for choosing a Hebrew name by searching the internet, or by looking in books. I highly recommend Alfred Kolatch's books for an easy to read reference. You may also discuss choosing a name with me or your Rabbi.
Yes, it is called a Brit Bat. This ceremony celebrates girls entering the covenant of Judaism. Although no physical procedure is conducted, girls are fully welcomed into the Jewish community through a baby-naming ceremony. The Reform Movement has created this beautiful innovation which reflects the equality of males and females in modern Jewish life.
Dr. Grope is happy to perform a Brit Bat ceremony for your daughter. The Brit Bat ceremony will closely mirror that of the Brit Milah with the same honors given.
Please contact Dr. Grope for further details regarding this beautiful ceremony.