Frequently Asked Questions
I’m expecting and we don’t want to know the gender. Should we call and discuss things with Hazzan Glantz even though we might have a girl?
Absolutely! Hazzan Glantz is happy to discuss everything by phone, text, skype and email. If after spending time discussing the possibility of a bris, you call with news of a baby girl, he will be thrilled for you. In some cases, families have asked Hazzan to arrange and lead a Simchat Bat also known as a Zeved Bat, or simply as a baby girl’s naming ceremony. These services can be in your home or elsewhere. They can be very creative and beautiful.
Now that we have spoken once, when should we call again?
Sometimes people actually call during early contractions, but it is not necessary. When your son has arrived, feel free to call your closest family and friends first, but give Howard a call soon after birth so he can more likely accommodate the proper day and your preferred time.
How far will you travel?
The answer really is - it depends. Best to just call me and discuss. more here
How does one count the 8th day?
In Jewish law, a day begins at sunset. A bris is improper if performed after sunset or before the morning star. Generally, when a baby boy is born during daylight hours, the 8th day is the same day of the following week. Still, there are exceptions and special cases, so it is always best call the moyel before telling friends and family the day of the bris.
We are not Jewish or... We are not both Jewish. Will you perform a circumcision for our son?
Yes. In the case of one parent being Jewish, Hazzan Glantz will ask some questions for clarification, but he absolutely takes good care of interfaith families. Read the many testimonials from interfaith families and how Howard made their non-Jewish family and friends feel extremely comfortable.
If neither parent is Jewish and you simply want your son circumcised by Hazzan, visit his website specially created for this purpose - circumcisionpro.com
Should we let the baby's siblings or young cousins be part of or watch the bris?
There is no reason from a Jewish perspective for the them to be excluded. It may be more memorable to them to be excluded but there are also legitimate concerns you may have. I often hear worries that they will be unruly, disturb the services and become distractions for others. These ideas have worked for families over the years. the tzedakah box / the pillow case
Feel free to discuss them with me further.
We have heard and read negative things regarding circumcision. Why should we go through with it?
As Jews, we are commanded in the Torah itself to perform this ancient rite. Arguments having to do with sensual sensitivity and or violating the baby's own freedom of choice are incongruous with our Jewish tradition and the Jewish view of parenting. Each Jew is a link in an unbreakable chain from Abraham our patriarch and Sarah our matriarch. We make decisions for our children before they are born and we have a responsibility to make decisions until they can live independently (whoo - that seems like it's far off!! huh?)
There are legitimate considerations for a bris to be postponed and many are consistent with Jewish law. see pikuach nefesh.
While studies favoring circumcision are not needed for us as Jews to maintain tradition, nonetheless, they abound.
Follow this link for more on the subject.
What is the price or fee for a bris?
Hazzan has never set fees. Call and he will give you an idea, based on distance, etc., BUT if payment is a serious concern feel free to call. Learn more here.
What time should a bris be held?
As early as the morning star and as late as 1/2 hour before sunset.
It is customary, but not required, that a mitzvah be performed at the earliest possible moment. Many britot are conducted early in the morning, sometimes as part of a Shacharit Service, however, the ceremony may take place any time up to sunset.
Can we take pictures? Video?
You may videotape and photograph at nearly all times during the bris. Considering that your baby will grow up and look at these pictures/videos, it would be in bad taste to record the actual cut, but it is fine to pan the room at all times.
What kind of food should we serve?
Mohels like Hazzan Glantz, have seen it all... from sushi chefs and carving stations and custom omelettes to cereal and milk. That said, bagels and breads with cream cheese and fish trays are definitely the most common. Families of Sephardic origin may follow customs that include trays of Chick peas representing fertility.
What is Kosher Style?
For those who keep kosher, the term is actually meaningless. It usually refers to deli meats of a certain cut and flavor, but for any friends or family who are observant of kashrut, a caterer that provides food that is kosher in style only, will not likely be acceptable. PLEASE do NOT (despite good intentions) order a special separate meal for Hazzan Glantz. Be in touch with any need for clarification or recommendations.
Do you follow up with an exam or check up on the healing?
Yes. Hazzan Glantz offers unlimited aftercare - read more here.
Do we need a minyan?
It is not required to have a minyan at a bris though it is certainly more festive with more of the people important to you and your family.
Should we provide kippot (head coverings) for our guests?
It is appropriate to have kippot available for your guests. Unless different arrangements are made, Hazzan Glantz custom inscribes a suede kippah for Dad and baby that match.
Do we have to appoint Godparents?
No. The term godparents alludes to legal guardians and it is not necessary to have this determined prior to the bris. Although the terms Kvatter and Kvatterin (the ushers who carry the baby into the bris room) are often incorrectly translated as godfather and godmother, Judaism does not have a concept of godparents. If you want them announced, I can certainly do so whether or not they are given another honor during the bris, however, Judaism does deem any legal or special religious responsibilty to godparents. Read more about the honors at the bris here.