At this Brit Shalom, the parents washed their son’s feet (Brit Rechitzah) as a symbolic sign of Jewish covenant and welcoming, rather than circumcising him. Other aspects of the service involved honoring of the parents and grandparents and giving the son his Hebrew name.
For 14 years, Dr. Reiss, has been recruiting celebrants of brit shalom for his web page. He estimates that an annual 300-500 boys are welcomed into the Jewish community with brit shalom ceremonies in the United States. Most U.S. states, several Canadian provinces, and other countries are represented on Dr. Reiss’ celebrants list. Twelve of the celebrants are in Israel, where a young Jewish Intactivist movement is budding (intactivist = intact + activist).
“The celebrants include rabbis, cantors and other lay leaders, who need not reject circumcision themselves, but want to accommodate parents who do. New celebrants are always welcome,” says Dr. Reiss.
Jewish parents including Natalie Bivas, Moshe Rothenberg, Diane Targovnik, Michael S. Kimmel, Sara Rockwell and Shawn Stark have written about their experiences holding a Brit Shalom and raising intact Jewish sons.
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