Calendar Notes 2018/5779: The Jewish Holidays and “Make-up” Days

Please read this so you will know the guidelines for scheduling a Bris that may fall on the Sabbath or one of the Jewish holidays.

This year Rosh Hashanah falls on Monday, September 10 and Tuesday, September 11. Therefore, Wednesday, September 12 (the Fast of Gedaliah) is a "make-up" day. (Yom Kippur is Tuesday night September 18 and Wednesday, September 19.)

The same is true for Monday, September 24 and Tuesday, September 25 which are the first two days of the Sukkot holiday. Wednesday, September 26 is the "make-up" day.

Finally, Monday, October 1 and Tuesday, October 2 are the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Therefore, Wednesday, October 3 is a "make-up"day.

Three days of Brisses will need to be scheduled on those Wednesdays. As a result, I will not be scheduling any events in advance on those Wednesdays and some Brisses may even spill over to Thursday.

If the baby is born on Friday night or Shabbat by C-section and/or if the Bris is not taking place in Manhattan, the Bris would take place on the following Sunday.

I will also be scheduling Brisses geographically on those days, as well. That means the times of the Brisses will be based on their location. This will allow me to maximize the number of families for whom I can perform Brisses on those days.

For example, if I have two Brisses in New Jersey and one in Long Island, I will schedule the two New Jersey Brisses together and then the Long Island Bris. This way I will avoid driving to New Jersey, then to Long Island and then back to New Jersey. Unfortunately for many families, the time is more important than the mohel, so they will settle for any mohel they can get for the time they want. That is probably not the best way to choose a mohel. Your flexibility will be greatly appreciated.

Traffic Advisory: Lincoln Tunnel/495 Construction Project
Beginning in August, 2018 and for the next two and a half years, the Lincoln Tunnel/495 helix will be undergoing major construction. This will have a significant impact on traffic in and around New York. I perform Brisses throughout the entire tri-state area on a daily basis and while I endeavor to be early or on time to every event, this will make it much more difficult and challenging. Even though your event may not be taking place in New York or New Jersey, it could cause significant travel delays throughout the area. Please plan accordingly.

A baby born by C-section cannot have a Bris on the Sabbath or a Jewish holiday. Many people miscalculate the correct day of the Bris and there are other exceptions to the eighth day rule. Please do not make any arrangements until you have confirmed the correct day of the Bris with me.

Brisses are performed during the daylight hours only. The last Bris of the day in the end of September, beginning of October is around 6:00 P.M. On Fridays, I schedule the last Bris two to three hours before Shabbat begins which would be around 3:00 or 4:00 P.M. depending on the location.

The day of birth counts as the first day. A baby born on a Monday before sunset will have his Bris the following Monday. A baby born on Monday after sunset would have his Bris the following Tuesday. If a baby is born naturally and the Bris will be taking place in Manhattan, it may be possible for me to perform the Bris on Shabbat or on a holiday day. Since I am the only traditional mohel who lives in Manhattan — I can walk to the Bris. However, I am also a cantor in a synagogue, so Shabbat and holiday Brisses will have to be scheduled in the afternoon.

If your family is not a kosher keeping, Sabbath observant family, it is religiously preferred to make the Bris on a Sunday or the next available weekday in the case of the two-day holiday. The same Torah that tells us to do the Bris on the eighth day is the same Torah that tells us to keep the Shabbat or holiday, not violate the Shabbat or holiday and not cause others to violate Shabbat or holiday.

So, if your baby is born by C-section and/or the Bris is not taking place in Manhattan and you give birth on Sunday night, September 2, Monday, September 3 or Tuesday, September 4, then the Bris will take place on Wednesday, September 12 which also a fast day—the Fast of Gedaliah (or possibly Thursday, September 13).

Similarly, if your baby is born by C-section and/or the Bris is not taking place in Manhattan and you give birth on Sunday night, September 16, Monday, September 17 or Tuesday, September 18, then the Bris will take place on the following Wednesday, September 26 (or possibly Thursday, September 27).

Finally, if your baby is born by C-section and/or the Bris is not taking place in Manhattan and you give birth on Sunday night, September 24, Monday, September 25 or Tuesday, September 26, then the Bris will take place on the following Wednesday, October 3 (or possibly Thursday, October 4).

Because of the two-day holiday, if you email me on Sunday night, Monday, or Tuesday I will not be able to get back in touch with you until Tuesday night after the holiday is over.

Please don't panic and schedule your event on the Jewish holiday or the Sabbath. If you do, it will always be subject to question, not recognized by all the movements of Judaism or may even be considered invalid which may have significant ramifications for your son or grandson. If you want to be assured of a beautiful, proper and meaningful Bris that will be recognized by all the movements of Judaism and in Israel, please wait until after the Shabbat or holiday has concluded to schedule the Bris me. If I am not available, I have three colleagues whom I can recommend who will perform a beautiful Bris and maintain and follow the same high professional and religious standards that I do.

When the time comes, please make sure only one person is making arrangements with only one mohel. Do not commit to any mohel unless you are 100% certain that is the mohel you want for your son or grandson's Bris. Once you schedule your Bris with me or any mohel — PLEASE — do not cancel! When I schedule the maximum number of Brisses on any given day, I will be turning other families away.

Do not make any deposits until after the Bris has been scheduled. Once your son or grandson's Bris has been scheduled, a deposit of $300.00 will secure the date and time you have selected. Your event is not confirmed until the deposit is received. In the event of a cancellation (not a postponement or rescheduling), all payments and deposits are non-refundable.

I now accept Venmo. My Venmo name is CantorSherman. Make sure you send the deposit to CantorSherman. You will see a photo of me in a bow tie. Please include a message with the name of the family and the date and time of the event. The balance can be paid by cash or check on the day of the event. (I do not take credit cards or PayPal.) The fee for a single Bris on the eighth or religiously correct day is $900.00.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding. Best wishes for an easy delivery, a beautiful, healthy baby and a happy, healthy and sweet New Year!

Cantor Philip L. Sherman