Congratulations on the birth (or anticipated birth) of your son!

I am honored that you have called on me to perform the Berit Mila ceremony for your son. Whether you invite 5 or 50 guests, it is a happy occasion and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Here are a few things you should know:

 

The service that I use is modified from On the Doorposts of Your House  {Jewish Publication Society).

 

The ceremony and circumcision will fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of mila (circumcision) as commanded in Genesis 17: 

 

“You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days.” 

 

Things to remember:

 

You will need to choose at least 2 people to honor - both are traditionally Jewish (this is a Jewish ritual, after all!)  

 

  • The Kvatterin (a woman) or Kvatter (a man) will present your son to those assembled.

  • The Sandek will hold the boy (this may be literal or symbolic, I will use a Circumstraint board) 

  • Other individuals may be honored by reading poetry, psalms or scriptures, or saying the Motzi (blessing of bread before eating).

 

Besides an English name you will choose a Hebrew name. I have references if you need help, but the internet has many ideas and translations. The names don’t need to be a translation or equivalent but can be entirely different to honor someone or represent an attribute you wish for your son. For example, Lev from the Hebrew means "heart" and from the Yiddish means "lion". You should plan to say a few words about the choice of your son’s names.

And. of course, as with all simchas (happy occasions), it's traditional to offer a celebratory meal to your guests after the ceremony.

 

Please review: Berit Mila List and Instructions for after Berit Mila for important information and medical instructions and contact me at saraimersheinmd@gmail.com a week before the Berit Mila is scheduled to take place.

 

I generally arrive 10 minutes before the service and stay approximately 40-60 minutes to change the diaper with you, check your son, and review care before I leave. 

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Sara Imershein, MD MPH FACOG Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology focusing on

Family Planning and Women's Health Advocacy in Washington DC

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