You have a son! Here’s help in planning the bris
WHAT IS A BRIS?
A bris is a Jewish ceremony during which a baby boy is brought into the Covenant of the Jewish people. Bris is the Hebrew word for covenant. The complete ceremony includes circumcision and is sometimes called Brit Milah (Covenant of Circumcision).
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE COVENANT?
The Covenant between God and the Jewish people is nearly 4,000 years old. According to the Biblical book of Genesis, the first Jew to enter into the covenant was the patriarch Abraham. In the Covenant, God promised Abraham that he would make him the father of a great nation, Israel. Abraham promised God that he, and all of his descendants would follow a special way of life and try and make the world a better place for all people. By entering our children into the Covenant we affirm that, as Jews, they have a sacred obligation to improve the world.
WHY HAVE A BRIS?
By having a bris for a Jewish baby, the parents link their son to thousands of years of Jewish heritage. From the very beginning the baby’s Jewish identity is affirmed. The bris is the beginning of a Jewish journey that will last a lifetime.
A HEBREW NAME FOR YOUR BABY
A Hebrew name is a gift you give your baby that lasts a lifetime. It is a symbol of his Jewish identity. Often a Hebrew name is given to remember a loved one who has passed away. Ether Hebrew or Jewish (Yiddish) names can be used. The Mohel can help in choosing an appropriate name.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE BRIS CEREMONY?
The baby is brought into the room by one or more people. This honor is called the kvater (kvaterin for a female). Next the circumcision takes place. The highest honor of the ceremony is the Sandek, the one who holds the baby during the circumcision ceremony. Next the baby formally receives his Jewish name. The Sandek for the Naming holds the baby while he receives his name. The bris concludes with a meal of celebration.
CAN WE PERSONALIZE THE CEREMONY?
The Mohel will allow you to make any personal comments you wish about this very exciting and moving time of life. A scripted ceremony can be read from by family members and all those present.
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