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Everything families need to host a Jewish welcoming ritual when opting out of circumcision. Includes original ceremonies and music.
Everything families need to host a Jewish welcoming ritual when opting out of circumcision. Includes original ceremonies and music.
119 backers pledged $10,013 to help bring this project to life.

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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.

A beautiful brit shalom in America—with "Celebrating Brit Shalom" families will be able to hold elegant prayer books at their brit shalom services.
A beautiful brit shalom in America—with "Celebrating Brit Shalom" families will be able to hold elegant prayer books at their brit shalom services.

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    A heartfelt thank you for supporting this project. Every dollar helps! At this level, and beyond, your name goes on our website as a project backer (anonymous upon request). We'll also mail you our bumper-sticker!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    We’d like for brit shalom to be accessible to every family. What better way than to have this book in the hands of rabbis and in Temple libraries! Choose this reward and we’ll send a copy of the book to a rabbi or congregation from our thoughtfully compiled master list. Have a particular rabbi, congregation or geographic area in mind? Just let us know and we’ll take care of the rest.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A first edition copy of Celebrating Brit Shalom plus a digital download of the album Songs for Celebrating Brit Shalom. Like all backers at this level and higher, you'll be among the first to receive the book and songs — before our official launch.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A first-edition copy of Celebrating Brit Shalom and a download of the music — PLUS the authors will inscribe your copy, thanking you for making it possible. We'll also include Lisa's 2010 book The Measure of His Grief, the first novel ever written about the circumcision controversy (please specify paperback or Kindle for Lisa's novel).

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    You'll receive a signed copy of Leonard Glick's "Marked in Your Flesh" (Oxford University Press 2005), along with a copy of "Celebrating Brit Shalom" and the songs.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    You'll receive a signed copy of Ronald Goldman's "Circumcision: the Hidden Trauma," along with a copy of "Celebrating Brit Shalom" and the songs.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    You'll receive a signed copy of Ronald Goldman's "Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective," along with a copy of "Celebrating Brit Shalom" and the songs.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    For the ultimate sharer. We’ll send a copy of Celebrating Brit Shalom to FOUR different rabbis and/or congregations from our thoughtfully compiled master list. Feel free to specify if you have a particular rabbis, congregations or zip codes in mind—otherwise we’ll choose.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    As a personal thank you, let's grab a quick bite during the upcoming Genital Autonomy 2014 conference in Boulder on Saturday, July 26th, during the lunch break. The authors will be joined by conference presenter Dr. Richard Schwartzman. No time for lunch? We'll buy you a drink or two at the dinner-dance later that evening. We'll also include the book and music download.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Multiples Pack. Ideal for parents planning to hold a brit shalom service; for brit shalom officiants; and for those who’d like extra copies to share. You’ll receive 10 copies of Celebrating Brit Shalom. (Parents can personalize the books and give them to guests as mementos; officiants can collect the books to use again and again.) Music download included.

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    Limited edition hardcover copy of the ground-breaking Celebrating Brit Shalom! Personally inscribed. Ideal as a leader’s copy, or as a special keepsake. We'll also include the music.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Upgraded Multiples Pack. Just like the Multiples Pack offered at the $100 level, but with one special hardcover edition, great as a leader's copy or a memento! (Nine paperbacks still included — songs too.)

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Unique opportunity for one year of prominent ad space on Beyond the Bris (BTB), a leading website/news source about the movement to question Jewish circumcision. With an audience of naturally-minded parents and educators from more than 150 countries, BTB is a great spot to showcase your product or service. Until now, BTB hasn’t had any ads — and may never do so again! (Content and design subject to approval.) We'll also include the book and songs.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    What a mitzvah! For your incredible generosity, you’ll receive all that’s included at the $500 level — and the fulfillment of knowing you’ve played a major role in presenting Jewish families, now and in future generations, with a peaceful alternative to circumcision. As a very special and unique thank you, your limited edition hardcover copy of the book will have a foreskin — er, dust jacket.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    The incomparable musician and performer JASON PAIGE will personally attend your Brit Shalom and sing Songs for Celebrating Brit Shalom live! For this stupendous backing, you'll also receive all that's included at the $500 level. (Jason's travel expenses are not included. Date to be agreed upon.)

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Funding period

- (45 days)