Isaac's Bris
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Photos courtesy of our friend Joe Menkhaus.

Isaac's bris and naming were held on the eighth day after his birth, Monday, November 21 at 11:30 a.m. Thanks to all of our friends and family who helped us celebrate this special occasion. The ceremony was held at our home and was conducted by mohel Dr. Donald Kaufman. It could not have been more perfect. Well, maybe more perfect if Wendy had remembered to put on Isaac's kippah that we spent so much time finding or maybe if Craig had remembered to put wine in the Kiddush cup for the mohel...

A mohel is an individual trained in the prayers and mitzvot surrounding circumcision and is also trained in performing the actual surgery. Mohelim generally fall into two categories: doctors with religious training or religious leaders with training to do circumcision. Wendy's parents were adamant that our mohel be of the first type. After doing some research, we found out that only licensed M.D.'s could administer local anesthetic, so we decided to call Dr. Singer, the only M.D. mohel in Detroit. We finally got to talk to him after several days of phone tag on the Wednesday after Isaac's birth. He said his schedule was full, so we'd need to call someone else. Wendy asked him to refer us to another M.D. mohel, so he gave us the number of Dr. Kaufman in Lansing, MI. Wendy called him--by then in a bit of a panic--and he was available. It just happened that he had a meeting the next day in Ann Arbor. He graciously stopped by our house and examined Isaac and went over the ceremony with us.

Left to right: Rabbi Bob Levy, mohel Don Kaufman, and our neighbor Decky

Isaac was prepped for the surgery upstairs in our bathroom. Wendy made Craig leave, but she stayed there during the anesthetic injection. The mohel asked us to give Isaac gauze soaked in Manischewitz (super-sweet Jewish wine) laced with sugar water. Isaac was a big fan. Mom cut him off when he couldn't hold his arm up anymore.

Wendy's sister Kim was given the honor of Kvatterin--she carried Isaac to the sandek. Traditionally, there is also a Kvatter. The Kvatter and Kvatterin are usually a married couple who are trying to conceive. Wendy wanted to ask our friend Joe Menkhaus to be the Kvatter, but considering the long and unfortunate dating history of Kim and Joe, we decided it would be more prudent to ask Joe to take photos instead...

 Craig's Uncle Manny was Isaac's sandek. We hope that Isaac can grow to be as generous and good-hearted as Manny. The surgery was performed on our dining room table. Isaac fussed a little when his foreskin was pulled away from his penis, but otherwise didn't seem to be bothered by the operation. His Dad, on the other hand, started looking a little pale. Wendy was afraid he would faint and hit the table, so she made him sit down. A minute later Craig went outside to sit in the fresh air. Our rabbi joined him for morale support.

After the bris, Isaac was given to Steve for the naming ceremony. Isaac's Hebrew name is Avraham Yitzhak. The first Avraham Yitzhak was Craig's great-grandfather. The most recent one, and Isaac's namesake, was Uncle Abe. Uncle Abe was a physician who always made sure his family was provided for. Family legend has it that Steve would still be in the hospital if Uncle Abe hadn't paid for Steve's birth. Uncle Manny says that Isaac is the first person in the family to be named for Uncle Abe.

 

 

 

 

Craig's Uncle Manny--Steve's oldest brother--was Isaac's sandek. In Jewish mysticism the sandek holds the baby above his lap during the circumcision so that all of that person's good qualities pass into the baby. Today, the sandek holds the baby during the blessings, but the actual circumcision is performed while the baby is strapped to a circumstraint.

 

Isaac's grandparents (left to right: Steve Comisar, Randy & Linda Ankrom, Becky Comisar) read a prayer during the ceremony.

 

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