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Catering Tips for an Adult Circumcision "Brit"

Catering Tips for an Adult Circumcision "Brit"

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Herring, lox, smoked whitefish on a bed of lettuce, fresh bagels, cream cheese, egg salad--and for dessert, platters of mandel bread and ruggelach--is typically what comes to mind when one plans the post-Brit repast. And depending on the size of the crowd, a few bottles of schnapps and wine would go well. But what to serve when the meal is for your own circumcision, Brit?

In the hot summer of 1976, a baby was born in Paris to a Jewish-American mother and a French father. Due to illness and the lack of a strong Jewish community, on the eighth day of life there was neither Brit nor bagels-and-lox.

Now that I'm thirty years old, I have had quite a lot of time to reflect on the different secular and religion justifications and arguments for and against circumcisions. The traditional Brit is performed at home by a ritual circumciser "mohel" when the baby boy is eight days old, lying on the lap of a beloved and honored grandfather. This indelible mark is a pivotal feature of being a Jewish male. The concept is irrational in many ways: to purposely slice a part of oneself that is so dear? Just trying to explain it to someone, or even to oneself, is difficult. It's been said this was done for reasons of hygiene, during our historic desert days. Modern medicine tells us that another benefit is for the spouse, who has less chance for contracting various diseases. Ultimately, we do not know the reason for this practice; but as Jews we act in accordance with G‑d's commandments, then ask questions.

Suffice it to say that as I write this now, I have fully recovered from entering the Covenant of Abraham, thank G‑d. In comparison to Abraham, who at ninety operated solely with the help of G‑d, I had much assistance. The mohel, Rabbi Shechet, provided his calm demeanor, excellent surgical skills and pre and post comforting. Rabbi Loschak contributed his coordination and teachings, and Rabbi Kudan held my hand and drove me to Los Angeles. I'm certain that I would have made a U-turn somewhere on Route 101 South if he had not been there with his selection of motivating music.

I was ready. I knew that the longer I waited and the more I talked about my Brit, the less likelihood that I would have one. So we settled on the Sunday before Purim. As it turns out this was an auspicious day, as it was the birthday and yahrzeit of Moses. As such I chose to honor Moses by choosing the name Moshe as my new Hebrew name.

My mohel set up his operating theatre in the home of a talented Russian builder, Mr. Kruper. The interior of his home was classic Eastern European, adorned with a painting of a winter scene on the Volga, a large but faded color photo shaking hands with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, a beautiful oak and marble hand washing station on one end of the dinning room, all trim with elegant moldings, soffited ceilings and columns framing the soul of this Jewish home. As we entered, Mr. Kruper's compassionate wife was in the kitchen, peeling a mountain of potatoes on the granite slabs.

So without going into unnecessary and squeamish details, I will say that after an hour of donning tefillin boxes on my arm and head, prayers, singing, storytelling, jokes, and snipping, I was finally off my back, and thank G‑d, part of the tribe. A great weight had been lifted from me, as I had now completed this overdue mitzvah. Mitzvahs for a Jew are not just good deeds but obligations that allow one to constantly take steps to be closer to G‑d both spiritually and physically. Perhaps my next mitzvah will lead me under the wedding canopy "chuppah"?

So why did I elect to have a circumcision? On an intellectual level, I had my Brit for the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers, for my intermarried friends who make lunch plans from their office on Yom Kippur, for my grandparents who kept Yiddish as their secret language, for my non-Jewish French great-uncle who survived 18 months in Auschwitz, for the memory of the American reporter, Daniel Pearl, for my mom who thinks I am joining a cult, for the Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis who spread the joy of Torah, for the crazed Persian dictators who would deny the holocaust, for centuries of tradition, for all the other thirty-year-old French and Russian males who also need to make an appointment with Rabbi Shechet, for the coming of the Messiah (may it happen before the day is out), for my future wife who will G‑d willing light Shabbat candles, for the people of Israel living in the Diaspora, may we be a light upon the world, for the Ethiopian Jews who in isolation memorized the Torah, for the G‑d of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ultimately the decision to under go this life changing experience can only be understood on a spiritual level.

Please come to synagogue on Saturday as I will be sponsoring the afternoon Shabbat meal. And yes, there will be plenty of bagels, lox and schnapps...

Elie Fouere is a captain in the US Army
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Anonymous varies, here and there August 9, 2010

The best anesthetic for mucous membranes The best, if anaesthesia is desired (in terms of taking away the most pain when resecting a mucous membrane or something of that nature) is not Lidocaine (Novocain), as Lidocaine requires to be injected underneath the skin, and in the area we are talking about there isn't that much to inject underneath. In addition to this being a mucus membrane procedure.
The far best agent to use is Cocaine (gasp), it can be ordered from most pharmacies for doctor use only or in hospital procedures. It is delivered as a creamy substance that easily penetrates thin skin. (The doctor has to have his paperwork in order with the DEA in the US or similar agencies elsewhere as in thee us this is a CII controlled substance.) Don't worry, its a one time thing, and not very inhalable, lol Reply

Judy Resnick Far Rockaway, NY December 29, 2009

Wishes at a Bris It's wished fervently at a baby's bris, that the little boy should be brought to "Torah and to Chuppah (marriage) and to Maasim Tovim (good deeds)." The same heartfelt wishes to you, Moshe - may you too be brought to Torah and Chuppah (to a wonderful Jewish wife) and Maasim Tovim (good deeds) ad olam! Reply

Lisa Providence, RI May 27, 2008

Adult Circumcision Mazel Tov!

It's NEVER too late to be circumcised - Abraham was 99! Reply

Arié Rosenfeld Grenoble, France October 18, 2007

Congratulations from France I distribute the "Sidra of the week" in synagogues and kosher groceries in Grenoble, France, and just read the french version of your story. The last paragraph, where you explain the various reasons why you did the Brit Mila, really brought tears to my eyes, because you were able to convey in words these thoughts from the heart, this powerful and "non logical" drive that makes us who we are and keeps us existing to that day.
Bravo for your inspiring testimony Reply

KL Poulsbo, WA June 15, 2007

Catering Tips for an Adult Bris Good on you, Moshe! And many thanks for your service, as well. Reply

Leonard June 15, 2007

if you plan to go: forget bagels, do a bath Take it from a 50 yrs old. Taking a bath 2 or 3 times per day for the first few days after bris, is the most important thing one can do. I did not do it at first and had a lot pain. I believe it is because the bacteria floats out and there is less infection. and yes a great weight gets of your shoulders. Reply

John South Africa June 14, 2007

Congratulations Even though I myself am not Jewish, I have to respect you for taking this unrescindable step. This is a deep mark of your commitment. Congratulations.

It must be painful that your mother views what you are doing as "joining a cult" - I pray that she may come to terms with your decision and not only asccept, but take great pride in it.
AYou are an honourable Gentleman Reply

Christine New York June 13, 2007

Beautiful Your story brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thanks for sharing it with us. Unlike the baby boy who will have no memories of completing this mitzvah, you now have beautiful memories of this important moment in your life. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY June 13, 2007

Beautiful and brave! Reply

Yoel Tustin, CA June 11, 2007

Top notch article Very inspiring. Mazel Tov! Reply

Anonymous June 10, 2007

True heroes In your humility you did not mention that your circumcision was for the sake of those such as yourself who truly make the Jewish nation proud...
It is such a joy to see that one would go through what very few would go through in order to be connected with Judaism while one is already established into life. It shows a true spark of greatness that I know will take one such as yourself to great places... Reply

Anonymous tsfat, israel June 10, 2007

amazing, inspiring! I am so inspired by your story. Thank you for sharing! Reply

Suri Brooklyn, N June 10, 2007

MAZAL TOV Mr. Feouere, you are a great inspiration to all of us. You have taught me not to let excuses hold me back from doing G-d's will.

May it be G-d's will that you should merit to find a wonderful wife and together build your own Mikdash Me'at.

Mazal Tov on your bris. Reply

Circumcision is the first commandment given by G-d to Abraham, the first Jew, and is central to Judaism.
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