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  • What is a bris?
    A bris, or Brit Milah (Hebrew for the “Covenant of Circumcision”), is one of the most fundamental religious practices in Judaism. Its origins are in the Torah- "And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations." (Genesis 17:12). The first person to enter into a covenant with God was Abraham the Patriarch. As part of the covenant, God promised Abraham to make him the father of a great nation that would become known as Israel and to show him a way of life that would make his days more meaningful and inspire him to make the world a better place. Abraham pledged to live loyally according to this new way of life and to pass this heritage down to the next generation. This pledge has been reaffirmed in an unbroken chain of tradition for more than 4,000 years. A bris is a celebration of the beauty and vitality of Jewish tradition and the continuity of our religious heritage, as well as an expression of hope and confidence in the future vitality of our way of life. More than any other Jewish ritual, a bris represents an affirmation of Jewish identity. Circumcision, the making of a permanent mark on the male organ of procreation, is performed as a symbol of our commitment to transmit our values to the next generation. A bris is a wonderful way for a Jewish family to celebrate the birth of a child. It is a warm and memorable experience, replete with significance and meaning for all those involved, and the first of many milestones and happy occasions to be joyously celebrated during the child's life as he grows to be a source of joy to his family and to the Jewish people.
  • A mohel’s training
    The mohel (often pronounced “moyel”) officiates at a bris and performs the circumcision. He is an expert in performing infant circumcision and has extensive training in a hospital setting. A mohel is also an expert in the Jewish law that pertains to a bris. A mohel follows medical protocols that ensure that the children in their care are safe and well cared for.
  • When should we contact the mohel?
    Contact me by text, email or phone at the earliest convenient hour after giving birth. We’ll confirm the appropriate day for the bris and agree on a mutually convenient time for the ceremony.
  • Cost and Insurance
    The cost of officiating at a bris is $975, plus the cost of garage parking if necessary. I accept Venmo (@rabbimarkcooper), as well as checks and cash. I will gladly provide a receipt that you can submit to your insurance carrier. Check with your carrier to determine whether or not the services of a mohel are covered by your policy.
  • Multiple births
    If you are giving birth to twin or triplet boys, you can have one ceremony for all your sons, assuming they are eligible for circumcision on the eighth day. A bris for twins or triplets is much the same as for a single baby, with the honors being doubled or tripled. If you are giving birth to twins or triplets that include a girl, you can have one ceremony to celebrate the birth of all your children. There is no physical ritual enacted for females.
  • Siblings
    Depending on their age, you may want to include your baby's older siblings in the Bris ceremony. Keep in mind that the arrival of a new baby is often a difficult time for a toddler. Little children may need extra attention when a new sibling joins the family. When asked what the celebration for a new baby brother is all about, parents might respond, "We are having a party to welcome Joshua into our family and show how proud we are that he is Jewish." When asked what is going to happen at the ceremony, parents might say, "The mohel is going to remove a little piece of skin from his body, which is something that happens to every Jewish baby. Your little brother may cry because he is hungry. Mommy will feed him right away.” Little children can be included in the Bris ceremony in a number of ways. Have your older child/ren help bring the baby into the room by walking alongside the adults who receive this honor. Write a simple prayer or statement with your child/ren to be read at the bris such as "I am happy to have a new baby brother. I will help him learn and grow and I will play with him." Have your child recite the prayer over the bread (motsi) to begin the meal of celebration at the conclusion of the ceremony. If you anticipate your child will be needy or clingy, arrange for a family member or trusted caregiver to watch him/her during the service, enabling you to be a full participant.
  • Anesthesia
    A common anesthetic application is Emla which can be obtained at a pharmacy. It is advisable to check with your baby's pediatrician before administering Emla. More natural applications include nursing immediately prior to the start of the ceremony and introducing sugar or sweet wine or juice during the circumcision ritual.
  • Bathing
    As with all matters pertaining to your baby’s health, consult your pediatrician. Generally, a baby who has been circumcised should not be immersed in water for three days following the procedure. The reason is similar to the reason that a baby is not bathed in water until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off (a precaution that bacteria not enter the body through an opening in the skin). Sponge bathing is permitted.
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