Newborns can get sick very easily, so even putting Coronavirus aside the thought of exposing your baby to the germs of dozens of people a few days after his or her birth can be frightening.
“There are a lot of factors that one should consider when planning a bris,” says Jay Lovenheim, D.O., F.A.A.P., a pediatrician at Lovenheim Pediatrics in West Orange New Jersey. “Is the event indoors or outdoors? What are the current CDC or local government guidelines for gatherings during Covid-19? The vaccination status of most attendees? Any family who may be at special risk of complications from Covid?” How long will this gathering last? A bris (the Jewish ceremony in which a baby boy is circumcised). ceremony rarely lasts more than 15 minutes, but there is usually some down time before, and afterwards a meal and an explanation of the child’s name takes place. In short, it expect it last for at least an hour, but it may be closer to 90 minutes or two hours. Because of the pandemic, guests may decide to leave immediately after the ceremony or stay for the whole thing depending upon their comfort level.
Further, it’s imperative that anyone who is currently experiencing any signs of illness – Coronavirus or otherwise – not attend the event. “It’s a good idea to ask those that may come in contact or proximity to the baby to mask, especially indoors. Also, hand-washing prior to holding the baby is recommended.”
As for the actual cutting involved with the bris, most Mohels have a well thought out wound care plan to share with the parents so even though it can be a very stressful moment, especially for mothers, trust that you are in good hands. “Most Mohels will share their wound care plan with you ahead of time, so you can have all the supplies needed. Feel free to ask your Mohel about using a topical anesthetic for pain control,” says Dr. Lovenheim. “This is often referred to as EMLA cream. Most Mohels are rabbis, but some are also doctors. It’s most important to choose a Mohel that comes recommended and that you feel comfortable working with them.”
In the wake of the coronavirus, many families are getting creative and finding new ways to continue to honor Jewish tradition and welcome their little one by having a Zoom bris. This allows parents to broadcast the live ceremony to those who cannot be there and make them feel like they are part of the festivities.