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The Bris Milah ( Brit Milah)

Is the Jewish Initiation Ceremony for Jewish baby boys (born by a halachically Jewish mother) and an integral part of a non Jewish male's conversion to Judaism. By the performance of the Brit Milah ritual the circumcised Jew becomes party to the covenant of Abraham (a formal binding agreement between Abraham and G-d). 

This traditionally hallowed rite is the same unadulterated authentic tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation all the way back to our great founding Father Abraham and as our teacher Moses received instruction from G-d at Mount Sinai.
Rabbi Daniel will take you through the service giving a running commentary so that you will feel in touch with the significance of whats' taking place. From the G-dparents, inviting Prophet Elijah and to the Naming ceremony, its all done in a most moving atmosphere both touching and rewarding, connecting one's soul to the child's soul, to the Jewish nation and to G-d.
The Service consists of six parts
  • The Kvatter and Kvatterin (G-dparents)
  • The Throne of Elijah
  • The Sandak (Companion or Patron of Child)
  • The Mohel (Circumciser)
  • The Child Naming Ceremony
  • The Festive Meal
The Kvatter and Kvatterin are the G-dparents. They are two people specifically chosen by the child's parents, one male the other female (usually a married couple). Who are honored with the task of Fetching the Child that's about to have his Bris from his mother and to bring him into the room where the Bris Milah ceremony takes place. After fetching the baby from it's mother it's customary for the women to pass the baby over to the men. This is done at the entrance to the Bris Room. The Kvatter & Kvatterin are the ones that actually do this and so begins the Bris ceremony. First the congregation calls out Kvatter which signals the Kvatter & Kvatterin to enter the baby. Tradition teaches that those honored with this task get rewarded by it's omen and receive the blessing of children. It is therefore usually a childless couple or newly weds who receive the honor.
The Throne of Elijah is a seat especially prepared for the Bris (Ritual Circumcision) Ceremony. It can be a single throne like  seat  that also gets used for the actual Bris procedure itself, the Sefardic custom or as the Ashkenazic custom, a second seat placed along side the Bris seat, designated entirely for Prophet Elijah, who is the angel of the Covenant, the Bris.
The Sandak is the patron of the child, he holds the baby in his lap during the Bris and is spiritually the master of the Bris.
The Mohel performs the Briss Milah (Circumcision) and is the emissary of the father. The onus is really on the father  to perform the rite himself but if he's unable he  may appoint the Mohel to perform the Bris on his behalf and it's considered as if he had performed it himself.
The Child Naming Ceremony follows the Bris. The child is pased from the Sandak to the Standing Sandak, although sometimes one Sandak will perform both duties. Then the Mohel or when present the Rabbi of the family, recite the Bris Benediction followed by the Naming prayer, the child receives his name in public for the very first time, this is the child's Hebrew name that is to eternally accompany him there on.
The Festive Meal is celebrated together with family and friends to publicise the initiation of the child through his bris into his journey of life in happiness. The Bris has always been practiced in happiness despite the inherent sacrifice that it must entail. Since father Abraham until this day the Bris continues to express the inner emotions of our partnership with our children, the Jewish nation and G-d. It expresses our inner happiness that we feel after having been bestowed with the privilege of bearing future generations to follow in our nations Torah ways. The Grace after meals'  is recited including extra prayers  for the Circumcised Child and his family, all the congregated answer Amen.

Rabbi Daniel Berkowitz is a Certified and Registered member of The Initiation Society & UOHC