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: 6/18/20

I hope you and your family are safe and well. Things continue to improve. More people are scheduling Brisses and more people are attending Brisses. Up until recently, it was only the parents, the baby and me. Now grandparents, other family and friends are able to attend, as well. Some Brisses are being held outdoors with proper social distancing and masks. As long as the weather cooperates that’s fine, but we still have to be careful.

Even though things are opening up and easing, I encourage everyone to continue to be vigilant.

I was tested for Covid-19 on April 17, May 6 and June 3 and am pleased to report that all of the results came back negative. I was tested for the antibodies—also negative. I will continue to have myself tested periodically.

My goal remains 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. I have all of the necessary PPE equipment which includes goggles, mask, gloves and covering for my clothes. For now, the following protocols are still in place for Bris families:

  • Masks and gloves are required for the parents and the person who holds the baby for the Bris (the Sandek) if it is someone other than the father of the baby.
  • Anyone holding the baby should wear gloves, as well.
  • Everyone else in the home should be wearing a mask and socially distanced.
  • Make sure all the technology is ready and everyone is ready and/or online fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony.
  • 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 or in another room.

Here are some new questions that I am being asked:

Q: Cantor Sherman, what is your comfort level regarding the number of guests?
A: The number of guests permitted to attend will be determined by local and/or state guidelines and common sense. Everyone present should be wearing masks and observe proper social distancing.

Q: Cantor Sherman, can the Bris be held outdoors?
A: Brisses may be held outdoors weather permitting. If it is too hot, too humid or raining, the bris will be held indoors.

Q: Cantor Sherman, what if we don’t have enough people for all of the Honors?
A: The Honors can be performed by anyone attending the Bris. If it is just the parents of the baby, that’s fine. Please make sure that all of the technology is set up in advance and that everyone is online and ready fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the ceremony.

As a precaution, I am still limiting the number of Brisses I perform each day. I continue to reevaluate the situation on a week-to-week basis. 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.

If your baby was circumcised in the hospital or did not have a proper Bris performed by a certified rabbi or cantor mohel, he will need a Hatafat Dam Bris ceremony to turn that circumcision into a Bris. Remember, if you don’t do that, it may impede his ability to have a Bar-Mitzvah or get married someday. If your son decides to follow a more traditional Jewish path in life, this will remove any obstacles. You will receive a certificate attesting that a Hatafat Dam Bris was performed and that your son was properly entered into the Covenant of Abraham. This should be done as soon as possible and certainly before he is three years old. That’s when a child develops a memory.

Summary:

  • Have a proper, traditional Bris for your son performed by me. It will be quick, 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. If parents knew how a doctor or hospital circumcision is performed and how long it takes, they would never allow that 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 do this for the sake of your son’s Jewish future.

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 or Baby Naming ceremonies for girls, 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.