Thank you for visiting my web site.

Here you will find a wealth of information about the Brit Milah (or Bris) ceremony for boys, and the Baby Naming (Simchat Bat or Zeved Habat) ceremony for girls. Much of this information is repeated in different ways throughout the web site. I hope it will give you a good sense about my philosophy and approach to these beautiful rituals.


Covid-19 and Brisses: Update: 7/8/20

I hope you are all safe and well. Things continue to get better, but we can’t let our guard down. More people are scheduling Brisses and more people are attending them. I recently performed a well-attended Bris in a synagogue and they did a very good job with masks and social distancing in the sanctuary and at the festive meal in the social hall. Conversely, I performed a Bris in another venue and they were rather lax when it came to masks and social distancing. I had to remind them that we are still not out of the woods. I have performed quite a few Brisses outdoors with proper social distancing and masks. As long as it is not too hot, too humid or raining, that’s fine.

Even though things are opening up and easing, I encourage everyone to continue to be vigilant. Anyone attending the Bris must wear a mask covering the nose and mouth and I recommend that anyone holding the baby should wear a mask and gloves, as well.

I continue to have myself tested periodically for Covid-19. I was also tested for the antibodies and the test came back negative.

My goal remains to maximize the safety and minimize the risk for everyone. I would like you to be confident in the steps I am taking when it comes to performing Brisses during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. I continue to maintain and follow the strictest standards. I have all of the necessary PPE equipment. For now, the following protocols are still in place for Bris families:

  • Masks and gloves are required for the parents and the person who holds the baby for the Bris (the Sandek).
  • I recommend that anyone holding the baby during the ceremony should also wear a mask and gloves, as well.
  • Everyone attending the ceremony should wear a mask covering the nose and mouth and be properly socially distanced.
  • Make sure all the technology is set up in advance and everyone is ready and/or online fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony.
  • Parents—please read and review the Post-Care instructions before the Bris.
  • While the Bris is being performed, the Sandek will hold the baby and everyone else will be properly distanced.
  • The number of guests permitted to attend will be determined by local and/or state guidelines and common sense. Again, everyone present should be wearing masks and observe proper social distancing.
  • Brisses may be held outdoors weather permitting. If it is too hot, too humid or raining, the bris will be held indoors.
  • The Honors can be performed by anyone attending the Bris. If it is just the parents of the baby, that’s fine. Please make sure that all of the technology is set up in advance and that everyone is online and ready fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the ceremony.

As a precaution, I am still limiting the number of Brisses I perform in a day. I continue to reevaluate the situation on a week-to-week basis. In the event that I receive more requests than I am able to perform on any given day, please let me know if you are willing to delay your son’s bris a day or two so I can accommodate as many families as possible, as safely as possible.

If your baby was circumcised in the hospital or did not have a proper Bris performed by a certified rabbi or cantor mohel, he will need a Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony to turn that circumcision into a Bris. Remember, if your son doesn’t have a Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony, it may impede his ability to become a Bar-Mitzvah or get married someday. If your son decides to follow a more traditional Jewish path in life, this will remove any obstacles. You will receive a certificate attesting that a Hatafat Dam Bris was performed and that your son was properly entered into the Covenant of Abraham. This should be done as soon as possible and certainly before he is three years old. That’s when a child develops a memory.

Summary:

  • Have a proper, traditional and beautiful Bris for your son performed by me. It will be quick, gentle and compassionate and it will be recognized by all the movements of Judaism and in Israel.
  • If you are looking into non-traditional doctor mohels or a hospital circumcision, please let me know and I will send you additional information. This is a very important decision and parents should have as much information as possible to make a fully informed decision. For example, if parents knew how a doctor or hospital circumcision is performed and how long it takes, they would never allow that for their baby.
  • There is no such thing as a Bris without a circumcision. A bris without a circumcision is a naming ceremony.
  • If your son was circumcised in the hospital or by a doctor mohel, he can still have a Bris. Please contact me if you would like to have a Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony for your son. The fee is significantly reduced.

If you belong to a mommy blog or any other group or know someone that might benefit from this posting about Covid-19 and Brisses, please share it with them.

If you would like information about Brisses or Baby Naming ceremonies for girls, please email me. I will send you additional information to help you prepare for those joyous events. If you had your baby, Mazel Tov! If you are expecting a baby, best wishes for an easy delivery and a beautiful, healthy baby. I look forward to seeing you at a simcha (happy occasion) soon!

Cantor Philip L. Sherman
Mohel


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