Yes, that would be as in circumcision….and not in the hospital, but at a private home. Exactly eight days after Baby Zev’s birth his bris took place. Many friends of Emily and Jeff’s, along with their young children, as well as three grandparents and an aunt were in attendance. Rabbi Shira was there along with the mohel, the person professionally trained to perform the procedure. She was an ob/gyn, which gave me some comfort!
The baby was laid on a small table with Grandpa Marty in charge of holding his legs down. Zev had been given a local anesthetic and a few drops of wine were ceremonially placed on his lips. I turned my back as the circumcision began and in a few short seconds baby was crying and it was all done. Emily nursed him and he then slept for a long time. It was somewhat traumatic for a number of us, including the baby, but ultimately the meaning of the ceremony won out over the pain for me.
Rabbi Shira led the naming ceremony for Zev and offered numerous prayers and blessings. The prayers sounded oddly familiar and reminded me very much of baptismal prayers. We were asked to pledge our support for the parents and our love and care for the baby as he grows. A celebratory feast of bagels, lox, cheese, fruit and wine followed.
Most of my life I have lived as part of the majority, but this afternoon I found myself in the minority, looking in. I felt respected, welcomed and embraced as someone from outside this Jewish world.