Reuveyn Fraser M.D.
25 years experience as a Mohel serving the Jewish community of greater Boston and Massachusetts
Brit Milah Hatafat Dam Brit Naming Ceremony ritual Jewish Circumcisions Brisses
Richard Fraser MD · Westwood, MA · 781 - 690 - 1339 (voice) · 775 - 703 - 1031 (fax)
"This was the best Bris, the best ceremony and the best circumcision I have EVER been to! And I've seen a lot of them! And I'm a pediatrician. You can even quote me on your site!" Dr. Howard Rice, a practicing pediatrician in Skokie, IL 10/20/06
"I'm not Jewish and I really appreciated the way you explained the service & its meaning!" John McCarthy, 11/2/06
"My family and I wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you did at the bris of my grandson, Aharon. You beautifully integrated the private family-attended procedure and ceremony, with a meaningful and welcoming celebration that was very much appreciated by our guests who arrived. Most importantly, the baby evidenced minimal fussiness, and the circumcision healed beautifully. We could not have asked for a better overall experience. With kind regards, Debbie Guthermann 8/6/10
"I got big goosebumps. It was funny" Stephanie Parks, age 3, 11/20/10
Sholom Aleychem! Let me first congratulate you on the birth of your son and extend the traditional Yiddish blessing "TSU A LANGE LEYB, MIT GEZUNT UN PARNOSEH" (to a long life with health and a good career). As a proud father myself, I hope the baby is sleeping through the night!
The Bris is the oldest and most sacred ceremony in Judaism. As commanded in Genesis, it is performed on the eighth day unless medically contraindicated. The Bris takes precedence over every other religious event occurring on that day, including SHABOS and YOM KIPUR.
During the ceremony the Hebrew name is given. There are no Jewish laws (only traditions) regarding the name and any name (with the exception of Chris, Jesus or Pharoah) can be used. Ashkenazis traditionally name after a deceased relative with the English and Hebrew name having at least the first letter in common. Sephardics name after a living relative. Other ways are to translate an English name directly into Hebrew: "Carol", meaning song in Old English, becomes the Hebrew "Shira". Composite names (taking a letter from several names to form a new name) or names derived from attributes (Mazel or Yofeh) are also used.
Three people are honored through their participation in the ceremony: the SANDEK and two godparents. The SANDEK (or helper) is assigned the task of holding the baby during the circumcision. This is considered a great honor and is customarily given to a close friend or relative. The godparents (KVATER and KVATERIN) are honored by carrying the baby into the ceremony and handing him to the SANDEK.
Several objects are used during the ceremony and should be provided by you. Two candles, lit prior to the ceremony, signify that a Jewish celebration is to occur. Two chairs are placed at a table, the first for the SANDEK and the second left empty to symbolize the presence of Eliyahu and the coming of the Messiah. The table should be 5' by 5' and sturdy. A smaller table and two sturdy stands are also acceptable. A tablecloth should cover the table. Three small dishes, one with olives symbolic of Israel, one with raisins and almonds symbolic of health and prosperity, and one with sand or dirt symbolic of the covenant, should be placed on the table along with a Kiddush cup, wine and a vase with flowers. There should be plenty of food for a feast following the ceremony.
I offer the option of using novocaine for the circumcision. I find that the baby to be more comfortable during and after the circumcision and its use does not violate Jewish law. Many doctors and mohalim do not use novocaine, citing little difference in comfort and the potential for side effects. Please feel free to call me or your pediatrician to discuss this matter further.
Finally the baby should not eat or drink for one and a half hours before the Bris. Please do not hesitate to call me at work or home before 8:00 P.M. I look forward to meeting you and "DI GANZE MISHPOKHE"!