Tzohar launches brit milah initiative
National-religious rabbinical group unveils new public initiative to help parents through process of having their sons circumcised.
National-religious rabbinical association Tzohar Photo: Yossi Zliger
The national-religious rabbinical association Tzohar unveiled a new program on
Monday to provide friendly, approachable mohels, or ritual circumcisers, to help
parents through the process of a brit mila, or religious
Tzohar is known in the secular Israeli public for its free
wedding service, as well as for its battles with the Chief Rabbinate over the
marriage project, and says that the work it has done has made it aware of the
need for the provision of similar services when it comes to other Jewish
lifecycle events, such as brit mila.
The organization was founded 15
years ago to “heal the rifts in Israeli society,” and has sought to achieve this
though the provision of services for religious lifecycle events – in a welcoming
and open manner – to less observant people.
According to Jewish law, all
males must be circumcised at eight days old (unless there are medical
complications requiring postponement) as a sign of the covenant recorded in the
Bible between God and Abraham, and his descendants the Children of
“Brit mila represents the covenant between a Jew and God,” said
Tzohar Chairman Rabbi David Stav, at the unveiling of the brit mila initiative
in Petah Tikva on Monday afternoon. “The Jewish people throughout the
generations have seen brit mila as one of the most important Torah commandments,
and sacrificed themselves for this mitzva, as in the times when [2nd century BCE
Seleucid King] Antiochus [IV], and others, issued decrees forbidding
Stav explained that through its wedding program it has become aware
of couples wishing to have the brit mila ceremony of their baby boys done “in
the same approachable, relevant and interesting manner” as their wedding was
conducted, and so the organization decided to establish the project.
added that there is also a growing, but still small trend of those who do not
want to perform a brit mila, a phenomenon Tzohar wants to prevent from
“The ceremony for a baby boy to enter the covenant is an
opportunity for all Jews to experience the deep connection between the Jewish
people and God,” Stav said, adding that his organization “feels a duty to be
partners with parents for this critical element of Jewish life, the entry of a
newborn boy into the fold.”
According to the organization, the mohels
working with their new program are highly experienced and must have
certification from the Ministry of Health and from the Chief Rabbinate. In
addition, the mohels will undergo special training through Tzohar so that they
can make the ceremony appropriate for the family they are working with.
couple who request a Tzohar mohel will receive a visit at their home from him
before the actual ceremony to explain the various technical aspects of what will
happen as well as the religious significance and importance of brit mila itself.
The mohel will also check the infant to ensure that there are no medical issues
that might require the postponement of the ceremony.
Tzohar says that all
its mohels commit to the initial meeting; being on time for the ceremony;
charging a set fee of NIS 1,000; issuing receipts; being attentive to to the
needs and wishes of the parents, as long as they conform to Jewish law; and
being available and accessible throughout the process.