Published On: Thu, Apr 14th, 2016

More than 130 Rabbis Offer ‘Brit Shalom’ for Intact Jewish Sons

Menora-cropped-Rabbi-David-Mivasair-is-one-of-the-Rabbis-from-Canada-on-the-Brit-Shalom-celebrants-list - 11
Rabbi David Mivasair is one of the Rabbis from Canada on the Brit Shalom celebrants list
If you need more evidence that a new generation of young American Jewish parents are bypassing circumcision and keeping their sons intact, while still honoring their Judaism, here it is.

A list of Rabbis and other Jewish leaders who perform a bris, without circumcision has grown to record numbers. Over 215 officiants are now available, all over the world,  to perform the peaceful welcoming event for Jewish parents. More than 130 of these are rabbis. Many of these officiants are members of the Reform, Humanistic, Renewal, and Reconstructionist Jewish movements. Not all of the officiants on the list are opposed to circumcision, but many are. Several Rabbis on the list have intact grandsons,  much to the surprise of many,  a couple even have intact sons themselves.

Many Jewish parents are finding that their regular Rabbis in the Reform movement and even sometimes in the Conservative movement are happy to do a brit ceremony without circumcision. A couple leading Jewish Intactivists speculate that this list doesn’t include most of those Rabbis who’ve already done these welcoming’s at the request of parents. In fact, many Rabbis who do such a ritual at the request of parents are not even aware that there is a greater movement around the subject.

Called brit shalom  (Hebrew for covenant of peace), this alternative naming ceremony corresponds with traditional brit milah welcoming ceremony, except that there is no cutting of the baby. “They’re especially happy ceremonies, for that reason, ” says Mark Reiss, M.D.

For 15 years, Dr. Reiss, has been recruiting celebrants of brit shalom for his website. He estimates that an annual 300-500 boys are welcomed into the Jewish community with brit shalomceremonies in the United States. Most U.S. states, several Canadian provinces, and other countries are represented on Dr. Reiss’ celebrants list. Twelve of the celebrants are in Israel, where a young Jewish Intactivist movement is budding.

“The celebrants include rabbis, cantors and other lay leaders, who need not reject circumcision themselves, but want to accommodate parents who do. New celebrants are always welcome, ” says Dr. Reiss.

Many Jewish parents including Natalie Bivas, Moshe Rothenberg, Diane Targovnik, Michael S. Kimmel, Sara Rockwell and Shawn Stark have written about their experiences holding a Brit Shalom and raising intact Jewish sons.

Websites such as BeyondtheBris in America, and Kahal.org in Israel explain this Jewish phenomena more deeply.

While most celebrants are Rabbis and Cantors a variety of other Jewish Leaders are available to lead these rituals. Other celebrants include professors of Jewish Studies, Synagogue leaders, leaders of Jewish retreats, and Rabbinical students in a variety of Jewish movements.

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