What will I do at the bris?

First, I will keep in close contact with you prior to the baby's bris to tell you exactly what you need to do to prepare your home and your new son for the ceremony. When I arrive, I will examine and prepare your son so that he is comfortable and pain-free. (see Does it hurt?) During the ceremony, I will explain all the religious symbols present: the chair set for the prophet Elijah, the kiddush cup, the challah and the particular relevance of the Motzi prayer to parenthood, the chairs for the honored grandparents (yes, you can have more than one), what it means to be selected as a Godparent, and the meaning of the child's Hebrew name (especially if he is named for someone.)

Most important of all, I will explain the meaning and symbolism of the Bris. Why do we still follow this ritual? We preserve it, of course, because it is commanded in the Torah and has been part of our tradition since Abraham -- but what particular relevance can we find in it that speaks to us personally in the modern world? All this and more will be explained at your son's bris.

The actual ceremony takes half an hour with the circumcision set in the middle. The circumcision (which lasts less than 60 seconds) is then followed by blessings, akiddush, his Hebrew baby-naming ceremony, a prayer for the baby, a thanksgiving prayer and a beautiful blessing over you and all your children. Then your meal and personal celebration begins!

After the ceremony, I will meet with you again privately to teach you about proper post-bris care. The next day, I'll call you to check on your son's progress.