Why should my son be circumcised?
There are some medical benefits to circumcision—reduction of bladder infections in baby boys, sexually transmitted infections in men, and cancer of the penis. But the reason for Jewish parents to circumcise their sons is a religious one, not a medical one. We do this because the Torah commands us to do so. Despite a small number of Jews who advocate against circumcision, it is an almost universal practice in the Jewish community. It is my belief that if your son is not circumcised, he will encounter problems with acceptance in the Jewish community. Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox congregations will probably require that he undergo circumcision before his bar mitzvah or wedding.
Why should I have a Brit Milah ceremony? Can’t I just have my son circumcised in the hospital?
It is true that a hospital circumcision results in the same surgical outcome. But a Brit Milah is a statement by the family that this child will be raised as a Jew. The ceremony keeps your son surrounded by his loved ones during the procedure.
What’s the difference between bris and brit? What’s a mohelet?
The word brit (covenant) is pronounced “bris” in Ashkenazic (Eastern European) Hebrew and “brit” in Sephardic (Middle Eastern/Israeli) Hebrew. “Britot” is the plural of this word. “Brit milah” means “covenant of circumcision.” “Mohel” is a ritual circumcisor, and “mohelet” is the female form.
Can you do it before my mother leaves town? Or when my out-of town relatives can get here?
Brit Milah cannot be performed before the eighth day. Unfortunately, it cannot be postponed for convenience.
Will you drive to a Brit Milah on Shabbat?
Because I follow Conservative Halacha (law) , I will only drive on Shabbat and holidays in order to attend religious services. I am able to walk to your home if it is close enough. Otherwise, I can often arrange to attend services at a synagogue (either yours or any other) and perform the Brit Milah there after services.
Will you travel outside of the Twin Cities for a Brit Milah?
I feel strongly that Jews outside of the Twin Cities should have access to this important mitzvah (commandment). I am committed to traveling to your community when possible.
Will my rabbi co-officiate? What if I am not a member of a congregation?
Usually, if a family belongs to a congregation, the rabbi or cantor will co-officiate with me at the Brit Milah. I have had the privilege of working with almost all the Conservative and Reform rabbis in the Twin Cities. If you are not affiliated or if your rabbi is not available, I am happy to lead the ceremony myself.
Will you perform Brit Milah for an intermarried couple?
I feel strongly that the Jewish community must embrace intermarried couples who want to raise Jewish children. I believe that Judaism is enriched, not threatened, by non-Jews who support their Jewish partners and the creation of a Jewish home. Some intermarried couples believe they can raise their children in both religions. I cannot officiate for couples that plan to do so. I encourage intermarried couples (and Jewish couples, too) to discuss their expectations about the family’s religious identity before they have children. If this is not done, you may find yourself with conflicting ideas about what to do.
My ceremony can be tailored to include non-Jewish family members. Please see “For Whom Will You Perform a Brit Milah?” above for more information.
Will you officiate at the bris of a GLBT family?
Of course. I have made a point to create a ceremony that makes GLBT families feel welcome and accepted.