In Bet Shalom we welcome the families that wish to perform the Brit Milah or the naming ceremony of their child.
If your child is a boy, the circumcision or Brit Milah is carry out on the eighth day from his birth, in a ritual that also includes the naming of the child. If the boy has already been circumcised in the hospital, a naming ceremony similar to the brit is conducted in which the child receives his Hebrew name.
If your child is a girl, she receives her Hebrew name in a special ceremony that includes the prayers and blessings of the ritual.
The Brit Milah or circumcision symbolizes the pact between God and the Jewish people (Gen.17:11), and, throughout our history, it has played a major role in the preservation of Jewish identity.
The reform movement, in which our community is ascribed, recognize as Jews the children of either a Jewish father or mother that are raised and educated as such. Therefore, to perform the Brit Milah or the Naming ceremony is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds with the community and to connect the families with their Jewish legacy and identity.
The mitzvah of performing the Brit Milah is entitled to the parents, but usually these delegate the task to a mohel or a mohelet, who is the responsible for performing the circumcision and conducting the ceremony.
The Brit Milah may be celebrated at home, in the synagogue or in a hospital (depending on the age of the child, or if the person is a young boy or an adult). The ceremony has three parts —an introduction, when the godfathers (kvater and kvaterin) introduce the child; the circumcision, that it is performed by the mohel while the child is hold by the “sandek”; and finally the blessings and the public naming of the child (his Hebrew name chosen by the parents).
There are customs and traditions that have been added to the ceremony throughout the years: lighting a candle in the place where the brit is performed, to keep a free seat to the prophet Elihayu and to wet the child’s lips with a little bit of wine.
The girls’ naming ceremony, called simjah bat (girl’s joy) or zebed ha-bat (girl’s present) by Sephardic Jews has two parts: the introduction of the child by her godparents (kvater and kvaterin) and the blessings and the public naming of the child (her Hebrew name chosen by the parents).
Once the Brit Milah or the naming of the girl ceremony is finished, it is customary to have a lunch to celebrate with friends and family.
ADULT CIRCUMCISION AND HATAFAT DAM BRIT
The reform movement requires the male circumcision as part of the conversion process. In this case, the circumcision must be performed by a doctor and in a hospital before the person attends the beit din. It is strictly a chirurgical procedure without ritual or specific blessings.
If the male is already circumcised, after the conversion the “hatafat dam Brit” may be required. The “hatafat dam Brit” consists in extracting a little drop of blood in the penis while the corresponding blessings are pronounced. This ceremony can be conducted by a rabbi or a mohel.
BET SHALOM’S MOHEL
As we know that you may have some questions not only about the ritual but also about the child’s or adult’s circumcision, in Bet Shalom we have a mohel, doctor Felipe Ojeda, surgeon and mohel certified by the BERIT MILA PROGRAM OF REFORM JUDAISM (Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion) and member of the National Organization of American Mohalim (NOAM).
We organized informative meetings, conducted by doctor Ojeda, where you can learn all the aspects (ritual, identity or medical) of the Brit Milah and naming ceremonies.