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Brit Milah

BrisMazeltov! If you are having or have had a baby boy please contact the Shul and/or Rabbi to assist in finding a Mohel. If you would like to have the Brit ceremony at the Synangoue you can contact the office about bookings as well.

Information about Brit Milah

if The rite of circumcision (brit milah) is performed on the eighth day of a Jewish boy’s life. The ritual usually takes place in the morning, either at the synagogue or the family’s home.

Circumcision is commanded in Genesis 17:10-14 as an outward sign of a man’s participation in Israel’s covenant with God, as well as a sign that the Jewish people will perpetuate through the infant. The commandment is incumbent upon both father and child - fathers must see that their sons are circumcised, and uncircumcised grown men are obligated to ensure that they are circumcised.

Neglecting the mitzvah of brit milah is considered very severe in Judaism. Perhaps in part for this reason, circumcision is the mitzvah most likely to be observed by otherwise non-observant Jews.

Circumcision is so important that it may be performed on Shabbat or a holiday, despite prohibitions of drawing blood on those days. Yet the ceremony may (and should) be postponed for health reasons until a physician has declared the child healthy. If this occurs, the rite cannot be performed on the Sabbath or holiday, because there is no longer sufficient reason to violate the general law of these holy days.

Circumcision is performed by a mohel, an observant Jew who has been trained in the relevant Jewish laws and surgical techniques. Generally, circumcisions performed by a physician are not valid even if a rabbi is present.

It is a preferable to have a minyan (quorum of ten Jewish males over the age of 13) present for the ritual, but it is not necessary. Only the father and the mohel must be present, but customarily the mother is present as well.

During the ceremony, the child is held by a person known as the sandek, who is usually a grandparent or family rabbi. An empty chair is set aside to symbolize the presence of the prophet Elijah, who rebuked those who had forsaken this ritual. He now presides spiritually over all circumcision ceremonies to ensure the continuation of the ritual.

The mohel recites the blessings of circumcision and circumcises the infant. The father then recites his own blessing and any guests present say, “Amen,” and then give the child the following the blessing: “As he entered the covenant, may he enter into the study of Torah, into marriage and into the doing of good deeds”. The child is then given his Jewish name. The event will usually be celebrated by a festive meal hosted by the family.

Spiritually, the brit milah is of profound significance. All other commandments that a Jew performs do not create a permanent change in the physical body. When a Jewish male lays tefillin, for example, his body remains unchanged after he removes the tefillin. After a brit, however, the child’s body is changed forever. This symbolizes that the relationship he has now established with G-d will be eternal and can never be revoked.