The Mother's Bris Experience

    May 2011          
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To the Mother of the Baby Boy

By Tali Tarlow

Dear Mom, (and Dads, grandparents and friends...)

After having three beautiful girls, my fourth baby was a boy.  Many of my girlfriends had experienced the “trauma” of bris’ing their boys – but I hadn’t – until then…!  A day before my bouncing baby boy’s big day arrived; a friend called.  She gave me some unsolicited advice that turned my attitude to bris’ing my little boy on its head, and now I am burning to do you a favor and share her words with you!

She said to me simply “Tali, if you are worried about the bris – forget about it!” (“Yeah sure, easier said than done” thought I!)  She then said “Tomorrow your son is becoming a Jew; this is a magnificent moment that will happen only once!  Instead of losing yourself, and the precious moment to fear and anxiety, focus on the honor and privilege that you have as a parent to enter your son into a 3000 year old unbroken covenant of Abraham. Focus on your hopes and prayers for his Jewish future, focus on your gratitude to God for being able to celebrate this special day!  ”

So yes Moms out there – I did cry during my baby’s bris!  And no, I can’t say that I would want to repeat the experience in a hurry!  But when sympathizing friends ask me if I was nervous, and intimately reveal to me that this too was the worst day of their lives, I do not identify at all!  My baby boy’s bris was a magnificent moment that I embraced with all my emotional and spiritual energy, and now it is a precious memory that I have stored away so I can refer to it in years to come!

So Moms (and Dad's, grandparents and friends)  – give it some thought – do you want to remember your son’s bris as the most traumatic event in your life, or as a crowning moment for you as a Jewish mother?

One tip: if you plan on re-framing the Bris experience, then I advise you to find somewhere quiet to think, meditate, pray or whatever, while all the well-intentioned and overly sympathetic friends and family are arriving, and ask someone special to call you to the ceremony just before it begins!

Good luck and Mazal tov – a special thanks to Debi for all the times you have offered your unsolicited pearls of wisdom!


Tali Tarlow is an experienced speech writer, and a speech writing consultant at Tali believes that every person can share a meaningful Jewish idea at their family event!


from the May 2011 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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