|Ask Rabbi Lerner|
I will be giving birth in a few weeks to twin boys. I am Jewish, but my husband is not Jewish. We decided to have them circumcised in the hospital. Although we decided against a traditional Bris, I would still like to give the boys Hebrew names. I have been told that there is a ceremony for the baby naming of girls, but I have not been able to get any information on baby naming of boys (outside of the bris ceremony). Do you have suggestions for us?
If both you and your husband agree to a circumcision, then it is best to do it as a brit milah (bris).
First of all, a mohel is a specialist who only does this kind of operation. The royal house in England used a mohel, not a doctor, for their boys! The circumcision done in the hospital is most often done by a resident or by a doctor who does not frequently circumcize. The hospital generally doesn't allow family and friends in. Lastly, the equipment generally used by a hospital drags out the procedure, called a Gumco Clamp. So, a good mohel with a recommendation is a far better choice from the standpoint of medical procedure, use of anaesthetic, frequency of experience, etc. In addition, it appears that the 8th day is optimum for the child's immune system and medical health.
If a doctor does perform a circumcision (not a brit milah) and the children decide later they want to be considered Jewish, then a ceremony called "hatafat dam brit", in which a pin-point of blood is drawn from the foreskin, is performed. Why put a child through this unnecessarily?
Lastly, if a mohel is used for the circumcision, then the issue of a Hebrew name is resolved as he can officially give the babies their Hebrew names.
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner
Foundation for Family Education (FFFE)