Traditionally, in Judaism, there’s a ceremony for baby boys, held on the 8th day after birth – a brit milah (a “bris”), or covenant of circumcision. It encompasses both a ritual circumcision, along with a formal baby naming/Judaic welcoming ceremony, and of course, a meal. The “public” circumcision (though you don’t actually see any of it) is one of the oldest Jewish rituals, and while a little strange, it is also one of the most meaningful ceremonies there is in a Jewish boy’s life.
Yesterday (January 25th), we held the brit milah at our home in order to rejoice in Asher, formally name him as Asher Jeremiah in English, and Asher Yirmeyahu in Hebrew, and welcome him into the Jewish community (as well as to introduce him to close friends and family as well as eat!). The size of our living room put a cap on the size, so we apologize post-fact that we were not able to invite everyone.
The ceremony was pretty special, as we performed the naming blessings while standing under our chuppah for the third time; once at our wedding, once at Aviva’s Simchat Bat, and now once for Asher’s bris. It was also extremely inspiring to have my dad and mom read letters to Asher telling him all about my Grandmother Edith (Yiddith), and my Uncles Jeffrey David and Keith Alan – Asher’s namesakes. Joelle’s mom provided Asher with his own kiddish cup to be used for years to come, and my mom even brought in my Kiddish Cup that was used at my bris; we had the gauze dipped in Manischewitz come out of that one for Asher. Thanks to my dad and Joelle’s dad for performing the Sandekim roles (holding Asher during the circumcision), as well as Joelle’s mom for doing Kvatter’in (bringing in Asher into the room), Joelle’s step-mom for lighting the bris candles, and my mom for holding Asher over Elijah’s chair.
We recorded the program in video form by recording the live stream (so it’s unfortunately not in HD – i forgot to hand someone the Flip to use), and it’s up at http://www.averbuch.net/ashers-brit-milah-video/ (along with the program – thanks Rabbi Rachel for putting this together and leading everything together with Dr. Witz, the mohel). However, as it’s very personal and emotional, I am not posting it quite publically – it’s a password-protected page. Just shoot me or Joelle an email/facebook message/phonecall/etc (keeping in mind that we’re pretty busy taking care of Asher and Aviva, so responses might be slow) and we can get you the password if you’d like to view the video.