My friend Lizzie had a Bris for her baby boy Henry last week. A Bris is the Jewish ceremony of circumcision.
I was so excited for the event, I emailed an old co-worker of mine who converted to Judaism. I think converts are the most knowledgeable. They always seem to have the background. Whereas with my religion, I’m often befuddled. Someone asked the other day what the difference was between Roman Catholic and Catholic and I honestly did not know. Same goes for most things. I feel like I’m always saying, “Hmmm, got me there. I’m sure I learned that in school, but I forget now.”
I love how the ceremony is so embedded in tradition and family. Afterwards, I asked Dean, “If we have a son, maybe we should have a Bris.”
“But Baby, we’re not Jewish.”
Anyhow, here was the email exchange with my friend Kristy describing my first Bris experience.
Email from me to Kristy
(She changed her name to Rachel after she converted, but said I was grandfathered in and it was ok to still call her Kristy.)
Hi Kristy, I marked in my calendar to tell you about the Bris. Awesome! I love your religion and culture. So much tradition in it. You are blessed.
It was a small group: my friend Lizzie and her husband with their baby boy Henry, Lizzie’s sister and brother, both sets of grandparents, me and my boyfriend Dean, and the moyel.
Thank you so much for the background. In addition to reading it, I printed the link that you sent me and I made Dean read it prior to the Bris. So when we got there, he asked, “Are you Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews? Because Ashkenazis name their boys after someone who has departed. While Sephardic Jews sometimes name their boys after someone living.” Everyone totally cracked up and they said he could practically perform the ceremony since he had all the background.
The ceremony was really quick. The moyel said a few words and had us all repeat some of them. Henry is a strong little boy. Once they slashed him, his face turned as bright as a red wheelbarrow and he screamed, but was fine after sucking on the wine. Then we all had bagels and other breakfast goodies.
Dean and I were commenting at how 21st century it was. The moyel asked, “Ok, does everyone have their cameras, videos?” And they had a friend who was watching via i-chat/video on their computer. Hilarious! I feel so honored to have witnessed the ceremony.
Once in a lifetime experience! Thank you for for the primer. Very much appreciated.
Email from Kristy to Me
I’m so touched that you emailed to tell me about the bris. And I loved what you had to say. I’m so glad you ‘got it’. Many people see a bris as a barbaric tradition. Although I certainly understand how people walk in cold and get that impression, I think if you go into it like you did – trying to understand the tradition – you can leave in awe and reverence. Many Jews – traditional and liberal and even secular – will tell you that it is the most important Jewish tradition because it connects all Jews around the world and throughout time. OK…
enough of my Jewish soapbox. 😉
The fact that it was small and intimate and that they included you makes it even more touching. I’m so glad you and Dean had that experience.
Oh, and by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you… thank you SO MUCH for forwarding the youtube link to Susan Boyle. That was unbelievably touching and comes back into my mind so often. I don’t know if it makes me proud of people or ashamed but there is definitely a lesson in it. What a beautiful woman!
Great to hear from you Girl! Take care, keep in touch, and see you on the Playa (hopefully).