The ceremony consists of the following:

  1. A quorum of ten adults is desirable but not required.
  2. At the start of the ceremony various honors are divided among family members and close relatives.  After all the preparations are made, the mohel or an appointed person will announce the kvater (the person who carries the baby to the area where the Brit will take place) and the ceremony begins.
  3. Everyone welcomes the baby.
  4. The baby is placed on a designated chair known as the Chair of Elijah and a little prayer is recited by the mohel.
  5. The baby is handed to the sandek who will be holding him during the actual Brit for about a minute.
  6. The mohel recites the blessing and performs the Brit.  (Some mothers prefer to stay and watch the whole ceremony while others elect not watch the actual circumcision.)  The father then recites a blessing to announce the entering of the child into the covenant of our father, Abraham.  The family and guests respond:  “As he has entered into the Covenant of Abraham, so may he enter into Torah study, marriage and good deeds.  Amen”
  7. The baby is handed to the standing sandek who will hold him while the mohel (or a rabbi attending or a member of the family) officially names the baby.  Everyone attending proclaims, “MAZAL TOV!”
  8. The baby is then taken by a second kvater to the mother, to nurse.

While the baby is being fed the family and guests enjoy refreshments or a meal prepared for the occasion.  This is how most britei milah are conducted, however there are some who add speeches by family members.  The mohel’s recommendation is always “Please keep it short.”


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