Certified Mohel Serving NYC & the Tri-State Area Since 1997 || Call or Text 212-316-4784

Rabbi Zachary Hepner

Helpful Suggestions When Planning Your Son’s Bris

  1. If your baby has been born, DO NOT WAIT – call or text me immediately at 212-316-4784. Text message is the quickest and best way to reach me.
  2. A bris takes place on the eighth day. The day of birth counts as the first day so if the baby is born on a Monday before sunset, the bris will take place the following Monday. If the baby is born Monday after sunset (not midnight), the bris will be the following Tuesday. There are a number of exceptions to the eighth day rule.
  3. Please confirm the proper day of the bris before making any arrangements.
  4. A minyan (quorum of ten) is preferred, not required.
  5. I travel throughout the entire tri-state area including New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island), New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk), Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties and internationally.
  6. I will not know about my availability for any specific day or time until you email me after the birth of the baby. My schedule is very unpredictable and can change very quickly. It is always very helpful if you have an idea of what time you would like the ceremony to take place whether it is a weekday or a Sunday. Depending on when you contact me, I may have only one event scheduled or I may have three or four events scheduled. As long as families are flexible, there is a significant chance that I will be able to perform the bris. As I have mentioned elsewhere, if your top priority is the time or location and not the mohel, that will most likely take me out of the picture. Choose the mohel first and then the time or the location. I schedule on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to find out about my potential availability or the fee, please email me at imohel@imohel.com​.
  7. I am a traditional, modern Orthodox mohel. I perform Brisses and circumcisions for Jewish families of all backgrounds (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Sephardic and Ashkenazic), Interfaith, Alternative and non-Jewish families and Baby Naming ceremonies for girls, as well.
  8. Baby girls are given their Jewish names by their parents at birth—not on their first birthday! For example, “Daughter, your Jewish name is Chana Rivka.” That is all that is required. Once that is done, one may then go to the synagogue and get called to the Torah where the name given to the baby girl is announced to the community. They are not naming her in the synagogue; she was already named by her parents when she was born. Or, one may also schedule a Baby Naming ceremony.
  9. I do not perform metzitzah b’peh.
  10. For the actual bris, the baby rests on a double pillow on the lap of the Sandek. The baby is held by the warm loving hands of the Sandek and not placed on a table or restrained by any device.
  11. The food is served after the ceremony. It is preferred (not required) that the food be kosher.
  12. I introduce and explain the ceremony in a tasteful and dignified manner. I do not tell jokes, talk about myself or hand out business cards or refrigerator magnets.
  13. The entire Bris ceremony is about ten to fifteen minutes in length. The actual circumcision takes a few seconds and under a minute under twenty seconds and it should not take much longer than that. There are no technical advance preparations required before the Bris.
  14. I recommend that the Honors be kept a secret until right before the ceremony begins. Just in case someone shows up unexpectedly or someone doesn’t show up, you will be able to rearrange the honors without offending or insulting anyone.
  15. The baby’s English and Hebrew/Jewish names do not have to correspond to each other. Also, I strongly suggest that you keep the baby’s names a secret until it is announced at the bris.
  16. The best person with whom to speak to help you figure out the Hebrew/Jewish name for your child would be me – the Mohel. Do not use the Internet to find a Hebrew/Jewish name. Also, with no disrespect intended, rabbis or Israelis are not experts in naming customs or Jewish names, either.
  17. Please make sure only one person is making arrangements with only one mohel.
  18. Please do not commit to any Mohel until you have spoken to your family, your rabbi, the caterer or the venue and confirmed the time with them. Once you commit by phone or email, my Cancellation Policy goes into effect immediately. The Cancellation Fee is $400.00. Please do not schedule a bris and then cancel.
  19. The Bris is a profoundly beautiful and spiritual Jewish life cycle event. A circumcision is a medical procedure.
  20. Use a traditional, properly trained, religiously observant, rabbi or cantor mohel to perform your son or grandson’s bris. If you want a Bris that will be performed properly, gently and quickly that will also be recognized by all the movements of Judaism and in Israel, use a Sabbath observant, kosher-keeping rabbi or cantor mohel. Do not use a doctor/mohel.
  21. Photography and video are not permitted on Sabbaths, Jewish holidays and when the baby’s diaper is off. Please have everything set up (computers, cameras, cell phones, etc.) prior to the start of the ceremony. The photography should not interfere with the ceremony.
  22. A Brit Milah is a simcha (a joyous event) and a mitzvah (a positive commandment).