Jenelle E. Little, MD, FAAP
Prior to the start of the formal ceremony, I will prep the baby in a back room. This includes examining him, placing the anesthetic block, cleansing the area, and placing the clamp. When this is completed, the formal ceremony will begin.
There are three parts to the Berit Mila. The ceremony begins when the kvatterin takes the infant from his mother and brings him to the room where the circumcision will occur. The guests rise (and remain standing throughout the formal ceremony) and greet the infant as the kvatterin passes the baby to the kvatter. The kvatter then brings the infant to the place of the circumcision. The baby is placed on a special chair designated as the Chair of Elijah. The kvatter then hands the baby to the mohel and the sandak who restrains the infant during the physical circumcision. The baby is then passed to the father and mother.
The second part of the ceremony begins with the recitation of kiddush. Next comes the kriat ha’shem, when the infant receives his Hebrew name. Prayers and blessings are then offered for a life of good deeds and learning of Torah, and also for a swift and complete healing from the circumcision. Some guest may be honored by offering readings or special blessings over the infant.
Finally, the third and last part of the ceremony is initiated with the blessing over the challah, The joy and happiness we feel at this special event is enriched by having a festive meal afterward. The se’udat mitzvah, the special joyous meal, begins with the ha’motzi, the b’racha over the challah. The formal ceremony is concluded and the meal begins.