Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Bris

Tomorrow, my infant son will go through his Bris--ritual circumcision.  (Side note: LO's pediatrician has called tomorrow's ceremony a "Brisk" three times now.  I feel it is too late to correct her.  I thought I misheard the first time.  The second time I was giggling a little inside.  And by the third time, I realized that I had stepped into a Seinfeld episode.)

I am somewhat ambivalent about the Bris.  I'm actually very excited to usher LO into the traditions of Judaism.  The ceremony will also include a ritual naming, prayers, and a sense of continuity between LO and the thousands of years of Jews who have come before him.  If only it didn't also include cutting a piece of skin off my kid.

J, he does not understand my ambivalence.  Whenever I express my concerns, he shrugs and says LO won't remember it and it's not a big deal.  I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that the member of this parenting team who has actually undergone this procedure is so laid back about it the word blase might even be appropriate.  However, it still feels like my kid is perfect as is, and we're messing with him.

I read a great book called the Jewish Baby Book by Anita Diamant.  In it, she expressed the opinion that if the covenant of Brit Milah required the removal of a flap of skin around the elbow, people would feel less ambivalence about the ceremony.  I frankly have to disagree.  It's the idea of my kid in pain that is really bothering me.  Also, my personal opinion is that if G-d had commanded Abraham to circumcise all boys at age 13, when they become Bar Mitzvahs, the ritual of the Bris would have gone the way of animal sacrifice.

I know that J and I are making the right decision.  I know that I will not regret having this.  I know that we have approximately 25 pounds of food arriving for about 15 people (one of whom is an infant) because we now have an overabundance of Jewish mothers making food decisions.  I just wish there were a way to do this without LO being in any pain.

In the words of Dr. B, our pediatrician, I really hope it is "Brisk."


  1. Well, you are using topical anesthesia, right? So I'm sure he won't feel anything.

  2. Isaac was circ'd at the hospital (it's how we Episcopalians roll ;) ), and the nurse said "oh, your ob-gyn is so-and-so? She just LOVES doing circumcisions..." and I was like "wha...?" WTF?