Beyond the bris: bris prep

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Bris prep can make Jewish circumcision appear easier on the infant than it is, which can in turn make parents and invited guests feel more comfortable with what is taking place. It may also make a mohel look like an expert at performing a virtually painless procedure when this is not the case. (A mohel’s skill is typically judged by guest perception of the baby’s experience, as well as the cosmetic outcome.) However, even when some of the pain of circumcision is removed from public view, it is nevertheless a full reality for the infant.

I hope that parents planning a bris will consider brit shalom, an alternative religious ceremony that does not include circumcision. Apart from the pain and possible complications of brit milah, there are other excellent reasons not to alter the natural anatomy. Of course, some parents feel a strong obligation to circumcise and will do so no matter what. At the very least, they should be fully informed of the different circumcision protocols and consider the degree of trauma each may involve.

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