What is the basic Brit Mila service like?
The basic flow of events is as follows:
1. I talk to both parents about 30 minutes before the service, explain the procedure, answer questions. There is a consent form that is signed by one or both parents. There is a family info form that needs to be completed (with the baby and parents name in English and Hebrew). I usually collect my check at this time too.
2. I briefly talk to the guests in attendance discuss the meaning of the ritual and assign roles to the participants (if the parents haven’t done so already.) I then explain that I’m going to the back room to begin the medical procedure of circumcision. This will take about 15 minutes and when I come out into the main area, the ceremony will begin immediately. I then take the baby and 1 or 2 adults (parents or grandmas, etc) into the back room and perform the first part of the procedure. This is where I put the baby onto the “board” inject the anesthetic and do the first part of the circumcision. The baby is then taken off of the board and put into a special ceremonial pillow. If the family has a brit gown, the baby is placed in it. The baby is given to the Kvatter (the person who carries the baby in.) and the ceremony begins.
3. I enter the room. People take their positions. Someone lights 2 candles to signify the start of the service.
4. The Kvatter carries baby into room and places baby on the “Chair of Elijah”. After a brief prayer, the baby is picked up and placed on the lap of the Sendak. A prayer is said by the parents. Then I finish the circumcision by cutting and saying a prayer. The parents then say another prayer and the baby is handed to the mom to comfort, nurse or do what feels right.
5. At this point the ceremony can go in many different directions. With the circumcision done, the stress in the room dissipates and people are now free to take their time with the rest of the service. The following elements are usually included:
6. Kiddush over the wine. (A friend or family member can do this)
7. Baby is given a name in Hebrew and English (I can do this or a friend or family member.)
8. The meaning and significance of Hebrew and English names are explained by the parents.
9. There is time for reflection, reading, etc.
Click HERE for a list of supplies that you need for the the bris.