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The Bris Ceremony

Jewish Bris Ceremony – Ritual Circumcision by Certified Mohel

The Jewish Bris ceremony has two parts: the circumcision and the naming. There are wealth of different customs surrounding bris milah which are unique to different communities around the world. If you are unsure of your custom, then do ask the mohel or your local Rabbi. It is customary to honour family and friends to participate in holding the baby at various parts of the bris. Click here for a list of the honors that are delegated at the bris ceremony.

  • The baby is brought in to the room, carried by the kvatter and kvatterin, considered by many to be the godparents.

  • Two chairs are prepared for the Brit. The first is for the Sandek, the individual who holds the baby on their knees during the actual circumcision. The lap of the Sandek is considered analogous to the altar of the Temple itself. It is considered a great honour to be theSandek because there is a Cabbalistic tradition that links the soul of the Sandek with the child. In this way, the Sandek is considered the spiritual mentor of the child. In many instances, one of the grandfathers serves as the Sandek.

  • The second chair is set aside for the spirit of Elijah the Prophet, the "Angel of the Covenant". According to Jewish tradition, Elijah comes to every circumcision to testify before the Almighty to the commitment of the Jewish people to this great mitzvah throughout the generations.

  • During the ceremony, just prior to the Brit itself, the baby is placed on the chair of Elijah, and the Mohel recites a special prayer asking for the spirit of Elijah to stand over him as he performs the Brit.

  • After the Mohel has performed the brit, a special blessing is recited upon a cup of wine, and the baby is given his Hebrew name.

  • It is customary to serve refreshments or a meal after the brit, and this is considered a seudat mitzvah, part of the mitzvah. (Obviously all food served should be kosher.)

  • Ideally, a minyan should be present for a Brit, although this is not a pre-requisite.

The ceremony begins with a couple kvatter and kvatterin escorting the baby into the room where the bris will take place.


  1. The procession starts with the mother giving the baby to the kvatterin  and she hands him off to her husband the kvatter who brings the baby to the father.

  2. The father then hands the baby to the person honored with dedicating the chair of Elijah-כסא אליהו. The baby is held over the chair while the dedication is recited.

  3. The baby is then returned to the father by the honoree who takes the baby from the Throne of Elijah  and is placed on the Sandek's lap (on top of a pillow) where the bris will take place.

  4. The Sandek holds the baby while the mohel performs the circumcision.

  5. The baby is swaddled and given to the Sandek Me'umad person honored with holding the baby during the belssings and naming ceremony.

  6. The person reciting the blessings and naming the baby holds a cup of wine during the recitation.

  7. The naming is conlcuded and with the lyrics of Siman Tov u' Mazal Tov or to cheerful congratulations the baby is escorted back to the mother by the original couple kvatter and kvatterin and the baby can be fed. (Nursing or bottle feeding at this point is usually very calming and soothing for the baby).

  8. The bris is traditionally followed by refreshments or a celebratory meal - Se'udas Mitzvah.

Available in the New York Tri-State area and beyond

Call: 347-600-8800 or email:

Mazel Tov on the birth of your new child! May you merit bringing him into the covenant of Abraham.


Congratulations! You have chosen to use Rabbi Nechemia Markovits as the Mohel to perform the circumcision for your son.


Many people contact the Mohel well before the baby is born in order to become familiar with the many details involved in a Jewish circumcision (Bris Milah) and ceremony.


  1. Please submit the information form [here]

  2. Upon receipt of your information you will receive a "Bris-Milah package" which includes: Bris-Milah Parent Guide, forms to fill out and checklist of items that you will need to prepare for the Bris Milah .

  3. Upon the birth your child please contact Rabbi Markovits to finalize plans.

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