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Bris Ceremony

The Bris ceremony has two parts: the actual circumcision and the naming.
It is customary to honor family and friends to participate in holding the baby at various parts of the bris. The highest honor is to be the sandak, who holds the baby during the actual circumcision.
The naming of the child is the most emotional part of many bris ceremonies. The naming of a Jewish child is a most profound spiritual moment. The Talmud tells us that parents receive one-sixtieth of prophecy when picking a name. An angel comes to the parents and whispers the Jewish name that the new baby will embody.

Further, the Sages say that naming a baby is a statement of his\her character and his\her path in life for at the beginning of life we give a name, and at the end of life a “good name” is all we take with us. (see Talmud – Berachos 7B; Arizal – Sha’ar HaGilgulim 24b)

Jews of Ashkenazic-European decent have the custom of naming after the deceased. The immortalizing of a close relative or friend is a beautiful tradition. Sephardic Jews have the tradition to name after the living. A child may have one or more names, in accordance with the parents’ desires.

It is traditional to have challah (bread) at the bris, but it is not necessary. However, wine is required as it is part of the ceremony.