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: 8/10/20

I hope you and your family are safe and well. Things continue to improve, but we still have to be careful. Many people are angry and frustrated after so many months of isolation, mask-wearing and social distancing. If everyone does their part, we can overcome this. The good news is that more people are scheduling Brisses and more people are attending them.

Please continue to be vigilant with masks and social distancing. Anyone attending a 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 monthly for Covid-19. All the test results since April have been negative. I was also tested for the antibodies and that came back negative, as well.

My goal is 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 Covid-19 pandemic. I continue to maintain and follow the strictest standards with all of the necessary PPE equipment. This may change by the time your son is born as I continue to reevaluate the situation on a week-to-week basis. For now, the following protocols are still in place for Bris families:

  • Masks and gloves should be worn by the person who holds the baby for the Bris (the Sandek) and anyone else holding the baby during the ceremony.
  • 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 online and ready to begin fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony. I am happy to begin a few minutes early if everyone is ready.
  • 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 who attend and the people you include in the ceremony will be determined by your comfort level, local or state guidelines and common sense. Everyone present should be wearing masks and observe proper social distancing. Many parents assure me that they have been cautious during the pandemic, but reassurances become less certain with grandparents, aunts and uncles and other guests who may attend the Bris. The Honors can be performed by anyone attending the Bris. If it is just the parents, that’s fine.
  • Brisses may be held outdoors weather permitting. If it is too hot, too humid or raining, the bris will be held indoors.

As a precaution, I am still limiting the number of Brisses I perform in a day. 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.

For babies that were circumcised in the hospital or did not have a proper Bris performed by a certified rabbi or cantor mohel, I can perform a Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony to turn that circumcision into a Bris. It will be a complete ceremony including the Honors, the announcement of your son’s Hebrew/Jewish name followed by a festive meal if you choose to make one. At the point in the ceremony where the circumcision would have taken place, the hatafat dam brit, the drawing of a drop of blood from the circumcision site, will be performed. The discomfort to the baby is minimal and momentary. He will probably cry more when his diaper comes off and his legs are held. This will ensure that your son will have been properly entered into the Covenant of Abraham. Doing this will allow him to have a Bar-Mitzvah or get married someday unimpeded. If your son decides to follow a more traditional Jewish path in life, this will also remove any obstacles. A certificate will be issued attesting that the requirements of the Bris have been fulfilled in accordance with Jewish law. It will be recognized by all the movements of Judaism and in Israel.

NOTE: It is important to determine beforehand that the hospital or doctor circumcision was done properly. I have had two families recently who wanted the Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony, but there was so much skin left that their babies did not look circumcised. They will have to be re-circumcised before they can have a Hatafat Dam Bris Ceremony.

Summary:

  • Have a proper, traditional Bris for your son performed by me. It will be safe, 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 mohel performs a circumcision or how a hospital circumcisions are performed, they would never consider it as a viable option 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. (See above.)

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, Baby Naming ceremonies for girls, availability and fees, 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


Please visit my Facebook page (Cantor Philip L. Sherman, Mohel) for updated postings related to the Covid-19 pandemic.