Why choose a midwife?
Midwifery philosophy is about listening to our clients and providing family-centered, evidence-based care. I apply this unique approach when helping a family plan the ceremony welcoming their baby into the Jewish community. I take extra care and time listening to parents (and often grandparents) to determine what is important to them so we can make the ceremony a family-oriented, spiritual experience tailored to their needs and desires.
Why choose Esther?
As the daughter of a Rabbi, I was raised with a love of Judaism. I am a life-long learner and continue to marvel at the positive impact the Jewish Tradition can have on individuals and communities. I have participated in many beautiful and joyous lifecycle events and holiday celebrations throughout my life. I try to bring this sense of joy and richness of the Jewish experience when making this introduction into Judaism for the child and their family.
What if my partner isn’t Jewish?
I have worked with many families of mixed marriages. I believe that if the parents are committed to raising a Jewish child, then a brit milah (bris) can be done. I recognize that some families have non-Jewish members, and perhaps even Jewish members who do not understand the significance of the brit milah. I endeavor to make the ceremony easy to understand, meaningful and inclusive to all. I provide a traditional ceremony with a pluralistic approach.
Is it OK to use a woman as a mohel(et)?
According to traditional Jewish law the father is obligated to perform the mitzvah of circumcising his son. Today, most do not feel comfortable or lack the skills to perform the ritual, so a mohel is designated. In Orthodox communities, if there is no Jewish male expert available, a woman or even a child who has the required skills is authorized to perform the circumcision. Non-Orthodox Judaism permits female mohels (mohalot) to perform this procedure. According to legend, the first woman believed to have circumcised her sons was none other than Moses’s wife, Zipporah. After all, he was too busy trying to get the slaves out of Egypt.
So what happens during a “bris”?
“Bris” is the shortened, Yiddish term for the Hebrew: Brit Milah. Brit means covenant, the covenant that was made between God and Abraham and all his subsequent generations. Mila means circumcision. A B’rit Mila is a ceremony of Jewish identity, providing physical identity through the circumcision and spiritual identity using the appropriate blessings of bestowing a Jewish name to males. This ceremony links Jews with over four thousand years of tradition.
There are 3 components to the B’rit Mila ceremony:
1. The Mila (Circumcision)
2. The Naming: usually performed by a member of the clergy (although the Mohelet can do this)
3. The celebratory meal!
Is anesthesia an option?
Yes. Some families choose to apply a topical anesthetic to the penis 1 hour prior to the procedure. Having the infant nurse shortly before and allowing him to suck on something sweet (traditionally sweet wine or grape juice) during the procedure has also proven to reduce the infant’s discomfort.
What about baby girls? Is there no covenant for them?
There is! A ‘Brit Bat’ is the ceremony which can be done for baby girls reminding us that the covenant is for all people, not just males. There is no physical aspect to the ceremony, although there are some Sephardic communities where traditionally female babies get their ears pierced @ 8 days of age. A mohel/et is not utilized for this ritual should a family decide to do this.