BErit Mila - the Covenant of Circumcision

​Jenelle E. Little, MD, FAAP

  • Sandak(iem) – the person who holds the baby for the circumcision. This is often a grandfather, but can be any Jewish male you would like to honor. It is thought that the good qualities of this person will be absorbed by your son. If there are two grandfathers, they may share this role.
  • Kvatter/Kvatterin – a man and woman who are to be the religious Godparents of your son. They are responsible for ensuring his Jewish education. They may be Jewish but it is not required. They perform the service of bringing the baby to the sandak so the parents do not have to. 


  • Mohel/Mohelet – the person who is appointed by the parents to act as their agent in performing the circumcision. This person is trained in both medical circumcisions and the berit mila ceremony. He or she may lead ther service alon or in conjunction with a rabbi or cantor.


  • Other honorees – if desired, additional honors may be bestowed on family members or friends who may light candles, say Kiddush or Hamotzi, or offer special readings or blessings over the baby.