Tzohar rabbinical group to start secular-friendly brit milah program


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Tzohar rabbinical organization, which helps to involve non-religious couples and their families in religious wedding ceremonies, is introducing a brit milah program.

The initiative, which will assist parents in circumcising their sons according to normative Jewish law, was created in response to an increase in the number of Israeli couples foregoing ritual circumcision, according to a news release from the organization.

The new program will use mohels, or ritual circumcisers, certified by the Israeli Health Ministry and Chief Rabbinate who also have undergone additional training through Tzohar that will "focus on making sure that the parents feel best informed about the experience that their new son will undergo," according to the organization.

The mohel will meet with the parents before the procedure to check on the condition of the baby, and to go over the medical and ritual aspects of the brit. The mohel also will commit to showing up on time and to charge a flat fee of about $250. The mohel also is trained to remain in touch with the parents after the procedure and be available to answer all medical questions that might arise.

“Beyond the physical aspects of the Brit Milah which parents naturally find stressful, we know that secular couples in particular can find the rituals associated with this process to be confusing and even alienating,” Rabbi David Stav, chairman and co-founder of Tzohar, said in a statement.  “The goal is therefore to provide parents with an informed and compassionate partner in this process so they can appreciate the importance of this historical Jewish custom.”

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