About Dr. Julie Kohl  



About Dr. Kohl

The Mitzvah of Circumcision

About the Ritual

Preparation for Brit Milah/Circumcision

Medical Benefits of Circumcision


Contact and Scheduling Information


Telephone 650.269.1296
Contact Dr. Kohl via email


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The Brit Milah is a powerful, yet simple, ritual which has changed little over the thousands of years it has been practiced. I can perform the ceremony myself or work together with the rabbi of your choice. I have experience working with rabbis across the spectrum of Jewish practice.

There is a tradition to schedule the Brit Milah as early in the day as is practical to indicate the family's eagerness to perform this mitzvah. Family and friends are often invited to join in the celebration, but parents can choose to make the celebration as inclusive or as intimate as they prefer.

There are a few opportunities during the ceremony to give honors to adults who are close to the baby. The honor of bringing the baby into the ceremony and/or taking him out at the end of the ritual is called kvater or kvaterin (depending on whether it is a man or a woman). This honor is usually given to the grandmothers, but it need not be limited to them. The sandek sits right next to the table and witnesses the circumcision. This honor is most often given to a grandfather, but in some communities, the rabbi is given the honor. While the sandek is traditionally a man, there is no reason it could not be a woman. It is appropriate to give this honor to someone who is considered exemplary in the community.

The ceremony begins when the kvater or kvaterin brings your son into the room. After the baby is welcomed and we say a few blessings, I perform the circumcision.

In order to make the procedure less uncomfortable for your son,  I  give him an anesthetic injection. The circumcision goes very quickly.

After the circumcision is performed, we recite more blessings. The baby is given a Hebrew name and a glass of wine is blessed. After the blessing, we give the baby a little taste of wine which often calms him immediately. He is then given a blessing for a complete healing and a good life.

Often the parents choose to explain to the guests the reasons they selected their son's name.

Then it's time for a little cuddling and feeding of the newborn in a quiet room while the guests enjoy a light repast. In Jewish tradition, we always eat together as a sign of celebration of a happy occasion. Many people also like to serve some wine in order to say l'chaim (to life) as they raise their glasses.

Before I leave, I check on the incision to be sure there is no unusual bleeding and review the post-circumcision care instructions which I leave with you in writing.

Multiple Births? No problem!
If you have a girl and a boy, we do the naming ceremony for the girl first, followed by the ceremony for your son. If you have two boys, we do them one after the other. The first one who was born gets brought into the covenant first. More than two? We can do that, too.