About the Participants:
What You Should Know

The Mohel: Traditionally, the parents engage a mohel to perform the bris. A mohel is a person who is specially trained in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision. In addition to being an expert in his field, the mohel is also an expert in the Jewish laws pertaining to bris milah. A doctor's medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital within the first few days after birth, does not fulfill the requirements of a bris milah and is therefore not considered valid according to Jewish law. The bris must be performed by a Jewish person who understands, upholds and practices the tenets of the Jewish religion and is specially trained to function as a mohel.

The Baby: The bris of a healthy baby is done on the eighth day of life (counting the day of birth). This is so even if the eighth day falls on Shabbos, Yom Kippur or any other Jewish festival. In the case of a baby born by Caesarean section, the bris is not performed on Shabbos or on a festival, but on the day following. Bris milah may not be performed before the eighth day or at night.

In the event that a baby is not in perfect health - even if not seriously ill - the bris is delayed until both the doctor and the mohel are in agreement as to the healthy status of the baby. A common example of this situation is newborn jaundice. However, in the case of serious illness, a delay of one week following full recovery is required.

The Honorees:

Kvater: a couple who enters with baby
Kisei Shel Eliyahu: person who places baby on
specially-designated chair, known as the throne
of Elijah the Prophet
Sandek: person who holds baby during
bris ceremony
Sandek Me'umad: person who holds baby during
naming ceremony
Brachos-Kri'as HaShem: person who names baby
The last two can be split into two honors each.

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