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The Ceremony

The bris is an exciting time for the baby's whole family. It is also an opportunity to involve baby's loved ones in the ceremony.

The festivities begin with a communal welcome of the new baby, we declare "baruch haba", which literally means "blessed is the one who comes".

 

We recite this ceremonial greeting twice in a Jewish person's life; as a baby enters the room of the bris or baby naming and as a couple enter the wedding canopy.

Below you will discover the flow of the bris ceremony as well the various roles with which to honor and include your loved ones in the ceremony.

 

Kvater

The baby is escorted

After entering the room, the baby is passed between loved ones--grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles.  The first honor who passes the baby is called "Kvater" and this can be any number of people (usually 2) of any gender. 

Kvater
 

El HaKiseh

The baby is brought to Elijah's chair

This special honor is given to someone who will place the baby, briefly, on a specially designated chair for Elijah the Prophet, who is said to join all families at their bris.​

The Mohel invites Ejilah to stand by his side and protect the baby.

 

Min HaKiseh

The baby is removed from Elijah's chair

This special honor is given to someone who will take the baby from Elijah's chair and deliver him to the lap of the sandek, where the actual circumcision will occur.

 

The Seated Sandek

The baby is held in place for the circumcision

In the old country, this special honor was said to be a good an omen for wealth. It was often given to whomever paid for the festive meal to follow. In our time, regardless of who is paying, it is often given to a grandfather. He will hold the baby in place for the circumcision.

Sandek
 

The Blessings and Circumcision

Two blessing are recited

It is the responsibility of the closest Jewish male relative to perform the circumcision. In the absence of expertise, this person will appoint the mohel with the job of "the cut". The Mohel will make the first blessing, "Blessed are You are God, Ruler of the Universe.. Who commanded us to perform the bris."

After "the cut" the relative will recite the blessing "Blessed are You are God, Ruler of the Universe.. Who commanded us to to bring this child into the covenant of Abraham our patriarch."

 

"The Standing Sandek" & Sanctifying the Wine

The baby is passed to the "Standing Sandek" who will hold the baby throughout the second part of the ceremony. A blessing is recited over a cup of wine

As in all Jewish times of joy, we mark the occasion by sanctifying "the fruit of the vine". A drop of that wine, or grape juice is given to the baby.

Kiddush Cup
 

The Baby Naming

For the first time, the baby's Hebrew name is revealed to the public.

The Mohel recites the liturgical text which touches on themes of lifecycles and celebration. He then publicly declares the name of the child "he shall be called X amongst the Jewish people."

Bris
 

Prayer for Healing

The misheberakh prayer is recited

This special version of the Jewish prayer for healing invokes God to give the child special attention after having undergone the bris. Together we ask for a speedy recovery for baby.

 

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