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10 Facts about Circumcision

  • Circumcision is the removal of a boy's foreskin and Jews have been practising this for over 3000 years

  • The circumcision ceremony called a Brit Milah is performed by a mohel on Jewish boys when they are eight days old. Brit Milah means covenant of circumcision in Hebrew. After circumcision the foreskin is buried.

  • We read in the book of Genesis that God gave the instruction to Abraham that every male child should be circumcised. He circumcised himself and his family and servants and all his descendants were to be circumcised.

  • Circumcision is a sign of the covenant with God. A covenant is an agreement between two people.

  • The ceremony usually takes place in the home but it can take place in the synagogue.

  • The Mohel is a trained and qualified person overseen by the Jewish Ecclesiastical Court and the Initiation Society of Great Britain.

  • The child is held in the lap of someone who is chosen by the family. This person is called a Sandek and they may well be a grandparent or the local Rabbi. It is the mother who brings her son into the room.

  • There is a tradition that there is an empty chair for Elijah who oversees the tradition.

  • The ceremony is attended by all the family and is considered an important event.

  • The child is blessed and a few drops of wine are placed on his lips. It is at this ceremony that the child receives his Hebrew name

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