Although circumcision has been practiced in different cultures for over three thousand years, in Judaism this act has taken on special significance and represents bringing a child into the divine covenant between God and the Jewish people.
Descriptions of circumcisions can be found in the Bible. In Genesis 17:9-13, God instructs Abraham to circumcise male children on the eighth day throughout the generations.
According to Jewish tradition, it is a parent’s obligation to circumcise a son and offer a threefold blessing for the child: a life enriched by Torah, the wedding canopy (chuppah), and good deeds. Today, a mohel or mohelet is routinely designated by parents to fulfill this custom.
In some cases where this custom hasn’t been upheld in its derived intent, there are other types of berit mila ceremonies to bring a person into the covenant, which include the following:
Tipat Dam (also known as Hatafat Dam Berit) – when an adult man who is already circumcised converts to Judaism, it is customary to take a symbolic drop of blood – effectively consecrating his pre-existing circumcision as being for the sake of entering the covenant of circumcision (berit mila). Many of the mohalim on the list perform tipat dam this service in the context of a meaningful liturgy.
Berit Bat – ceremonies that celebrate the birth of a daughter and her entry into the covenant of the Jewish people are known by a variety of names. They are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our daughters and are an important part of Reform Judaism’s egalitarian approach to Judaism. Many of the Reform mohalim are available to perform Berit Banot (the plural of berit bat).
Adult Berit Mila – While the the Reform Movement does not require that converts to Judaism become circumcised, it is increasingly recognized and practiced as an important aspect of becoming a full member of the Jewish people. A number of the mohalim on the list below are skilled urologists who can perform adult berit mila in a comfortable, safe and religiously meaningful context. Please note that The Berit Mila Program makes no claims or guarantees as to the skills or proficiency of any particular mohel/et listed on our website.The inclusion of a mohel/et on this list does not constitute a recommendation of his or her services.) As one recent convert said of his experience undergoing adult berit mila, “It was the closest I have ever felt to God.” If you are converting to Judaism and are not circumcised, you should consult with your rabbi about the matter.
All Reform mohalim/ot are licensed medical practitioners that have been certified by the Reform Movement after being trained by the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism in the history and the customs of this rite.