Hatafat Dam Brit

An alternative option to a Bris
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In addition to preforming a Bris, I also officiate another Jewish ceremony called Hatafat Dam Brit or “a drop of blood of the covenant.” This practice is used to welcome a male into the Jewish community after he has already been circumcised. This ritual appeals to parents who wish to have their baby circumcised in the hospital before bringing their newborn home, and yet still want to have their baby named and celebrated as the newest member of the Jewish community. This ceremony has been gaining popularity in that it can be performed on a date of the family’s choosing once the baby has become eight-days-old. A Hatafat Dam Brit is also done when a man wishes to convert to Judaism. I have been honored to have performed many over the course of my career.

During a Hatafat Dam Brit, the mohel takes a drop of blood from where the baby was circumcised, recites the blessings one would during a Bris and gives the baby his Hebrew name. Although this ceremony dates back to Talmudic times, it presents another perhaps more modern alternative to a Bris. By following this halacha (Jewish law), the baby is recognized as a full and honored member of the Jewish community, although it gives his parents a bit more flexibility and choice. New, young families may prefer this option when they do not desire to hold a large celebration for their newborn at the tender age of eight days. This also allows the mother’s OB-GYN who just delivered the baby to do the circumcision in the hospital. As an OB-GYN for over thirty years, I also perform non-religious newborn circumcisions in the hospital for my patients and recognize the convenience and logical solution of having this medical procedure completed before returning home. Because the option of Hatafat Dam Brit is not as well known, it would be my pleasure to speak to you regarding all of the sacred and special ways of welcoming your newborn into the Jewish community!

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