The Bris Shalom Ceremony

An empty chair is provided as a symbol for the presence of the prophet, Elijah. A cup of wine is poured.

(Steph holding baby)


We want to thank everybody for joining us in welcoming our new son. It really means a lot to us to have you all here.
Typically in the Jewish religion a circumcision is performed on the 8th day after birth—the bris milah. However, for a number of reasons—personal, social, and political, Steph and I have decided not to perform a bris milah, but instead wanted to have a welcoming ceremony—a bris shalom or bris b’li milah (a ceremony without cutting). In following this part of ancient Jewish custom, we mark the beginning of our commitment to raise him in the Jewish cultural tradition.

Steph M.: In every birth, blessed is the wonder
Bob: In every creation, blessed is the new beginning
Mike: In every child, blessed is life.
Yuh Min: In every hope, blessed is the potential.
Jerry: In every transition, blessed is the beginning.
Lonny: In every existence, blessed are the possibilities
Mary: In every love, blessed are the tears.
Lois: In every life, blessed is the love.

(Steph passes baby to Mary)

Lois and Steph light 3 candles: Ba-ruch a-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam, bo-rei m'o-rei ha-eish.
Let us bless the Source of All, that creates the illuminations of the flame.

Steph: There is a new light in our hearts and in our home. These candles celebrate the birth of our child.

Lonny: (from Genesis 22:10):

Abraham stretched forth his hand and took a knife. And the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven, and said: ‘Abraham, Abraham!'

And Abraham said: ‘Here am I.'

And the angel said: ‘Lay not your hand upon the lad nor do anything to him.'

Jerry: Even in the Torah itself we see conflicting ideas regarding circumcision.

All say: Ba-ruch Ha-bah! Blessed is the one who has come! Blessed is the newborn!

Lois: Ba-ruch Ha-bah! Blessed is the one who has come for the Covenant!
Blessed is the spirit of the universe that has graced us with new life.

Lar: By this ceremony your mother and I formally welcome you to our world and our family. As we name you today we undertake our traditional responsibilities as your parents to take you forward into the world as we know it, to love you, to guide you, to educate you, and to cherish you. You are whole, complete, and perfect. We promise you, before our family gathered here today in your honor, to do our very best for you each and every day hereafter.

Lonny: We assemble now to welcome this newborn into this Covenant and into our lives, the world, and the Jewish community.

Jerry:  To see life through a child’s eyes
Innocence to hide all life’s lies
Peace of heart and mind
Freedom to dream in kind
To reach for the stars
And be able to grasp them
What is to remember
What can only be seen through a child’s eyes

Steph: Baruch ata Adonai, Elohahynu melech ha-ohm she-heh-cheyanu, v'kiy-'manu v'higi-yanu la.zman ha-zeh.
Lar: Blessed is the Universal Spirit that has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season!

Steph: K-sheym she-nlchnahs la-brit, keyn yi'kahnes la-Torah la-Chupah u-l'mah'asim tovim.
Lar: As this child enters this Covenant and the community, so may he enter the ways of wisdom, the canopy of love and the doing of good works.

Lois points to the chair of Elijah, and says:  This is the chair of Elijah the prophet, who is remembered as the protector of children.

(The baby is passed from Mary to Lois, who now sits with him on the chair of Elijah)

Lois (from Leviticus 19:28): In the Torah, the Lord said, ‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor imprint any marks upon you'.

Everyone says:  Let this boy be happy in this world,
In the goodness of this home,
In the sacredness of this place.

Lar and Steph:  This child is whole, complete and perfect.
We give to him our Covenant of Peace.

Lonny (holding up glass of wine):  Baruch ata Adonai, Elohahynu melech ha-olam bo ray p'ri hagafen.

Everyone says: Blessed is the Universal Spirit that creates the fruit of the vine.

(Lonny sips, gives cup to parents, who sip and then place drop of wine on baby's lips.)

Mary says:  Blessed is the way of the universe which makes children sacred and beloved as their birthright, which keeps the laws of the world in our flesh, and seals our offspring with a mark of sacred promise.

Lar and Steph:  We pray that our son grow up in a world free of violence and with great joy and peace.

Everyone says:  Blessed are all who are assembled here and who join in this sacred Covenant.

Lois holds up the baby and says:  Give thanks to the spirit of life, with its kindness that endures forever!
This little one, may he become great!
Go forth, you are perfect!

(Lois passes the baby to the mother and father.)

Lar and Steph: Blessed is the Universal Spirit that has honored us by sending this child to bless our home and family.

Lonny:  May this child thrive with his mother and with his father.
Let his name be known among us as
Ariel Benyamin Rosenmader Ben Lar Christopher Mader and Stephanie Anne Rosen

Everyone says: As he enters into the Covenant, so may he enter
into Truth,
into Love,
and into Happiness.

Mary:  May life bless us, keep us, and be gracious unto us. May life shine upon us and grant us Peace.  Amen.

All say: Mazel Tov!

Blessing over the bread:

Steph and Lois: Ba-ruch a-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hei-nu meh-lech ha-o-lam, ha-mo-tzi leh-chem min ha-a-retz.

Mary: Blessed is the Universal Spirit that provides us with the staff of life.

Steph: Bread is the symbol of sustenance and honey the sign of sweetness. We dip the bread in honey to wish our son, Ari, a sweet life.

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