INFANT CIRCUMCISION — once routine and unquestioned in America — has lately been the subject of fierce controversy. Many parents are deciding not to circumcise, even in Jewish families.
BRIT SHALOM, Hebrew for “covenant of peace,” is a welcoming ritual for Jewish newborn boys whose parents are opting out of circumcision. It's a perfect way for these families to gather together on the eighth day and welcome their baby into the ancient Abrahamic covenant — as has been done for millennia. Brit Shalom is a joyous, participatory celebration that is quickly catching on.
BUT THERE ARE FEW RESOURCES for those seeking information on this ritual. It’s time for a book about Brit Shalom — one that parents and rabbis can turn to when circumcision isn’t in the picture.
CELEBRATING BRIT SHALOM by Lisa Braver Moss and Rebecca Wald will be perfect for those planning a Brit Shalom service. But it'll be even more!
CELEBRATING BRIT SHALOM WILL BE PART HANDBOOK, PART PRAYER BOOK & PART KEEPSAKE
• There will be A CHOICE OF CEREMONIES combining Hebrew and English text. These ceremonies are being designed to be FAMILY-LED, OR LED BY A RABBI.
• ORIGINAL MUSIC to accompany the ceremonies is being written and professionally recorded. These SONGS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD — and sheet music will be included in the book for all who would like to sing along.
• Celebrating Brit Shalom will be SIMILAR TO A PRINTED PASSOVER HAGGADAH. Ideally, parents will order a copy of the book for each guest attending their service, so everyone can follow along and fully participate.
• CELEBRATING BRIT SHALOM CAN BE PERSONALIZED. There will be a place in the book where parents can affix a photo of their newborn and write in his name and the date of the service — a great memento for guests to take home afterward.
• Celebrating Brit Shalom will include CLEARLY WRITTEN INFORMATION, ADVICE AND TIPS for hosting the service.
CELEBRATING BRIT SHALOM BRINGS TOGETHER UNIQUE CREATIVE FORCES
• Authors LISA BRAVER MOSS and REBECCA WALD are established writers who have each been researching and writing about alternatives to Jewish circumcision for many years.
• Music combines with text as an integral part of this project. STANFORD-TRAINED MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER REUBEN MOSS and WORLD-RENOWNED PERFORMER JASON PAIGE are working closely with the book's authors to compose beautiful songs that are thematically tied to the ceremonies and that capture the spirit of Brit Shalom.
• In creating the text for Celebrating Brit Shalom, the authors are in contact with RABBIS and JEWISH LEADERS to ensure that the book is thoroughly researched, respectful, and in keeping with key elements of Jewish tradition.
THE TIMING IS RIGHT
As circumcision rates in the U.S. decline, some Jewish people are finding alternative ways to celebrate the birth of their boys. Writing for Tablet Magazine in a longform piece titled To Cut or Not to Cut: Finding Alternatives to Circumcision journalist Marjorie Ingall writes on new rituals that "symbolically acknowledge Jews' covenant with God without actually circumcising infants." Writing for OZY, journalist Lorena O'neil's feature A New Alternative to Circumcision asks: "But what if the rite, commonly referred to as a bris, was replaced with a ceremony where a pomegranate was cut instead?" The news and views website Beyond the Bris features an ever-growing chorus of Jewish voices that question circumcision, and makes clear that the discomfort some Jews feel about the practice isn't going away.
Risks and challenges
A project of this scope has a lot of moving parts. Researching and writing the manuscript is just the first step. We'll need designers / photographers for the book cover, and editors and typesetters with knowledge of Hebrew for the interior text. Special features of the book's interior — such as providing a place for parents to personalize guest copies — require the skills of a graphic artist. For the music, we'll need time in the recording studio and professional mastering of the finished songs. We'll also need to get our book to the right people so it can be read and reviewed. Ideally, we'd like to be able to send review copies not only to prime media outlets, but also to rabbis throughout the U.S., Israel and beyond. The individuals involved in this project are professionals with a track record of successfully getting things done. While we'd like to have our book available to the public this October, this campaign may open up new avenues for publishing and publicizing. We want our book to have the very best chance of success — so if it takes a little more time to do things right, we know our backers will understand. We'll will work as quickly and efficiently as possible and will keep backers informed of any delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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