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...