We thought we had experienced all possible brit options – first one a small event in our home in london. Number 2 celebrated in shul on rosh hashanah with about 100 Olim. Third one on our yeshuv with an open invite. But this baby was born on shabbat. Which means a shabbat brit. Slightly more complicated as we needed a mohel who was willing to come here for the entire shabbat. Also, since the brit would be done in shul, it was important to us to hire someone who could create a little atmosphere. (i.e. carry a tune).
Thankfully, a good friend of mine has a brother in law who ticked all those boxes. BenYishai Hoter was a mohel I first spotted 2 weeks after arriving here 5.5 years ago. I wanted him to do Yaroni’s brit 3 weeks later but it was a 3 day chag and he wasn’t willing to spend it in Karmiel. (if you have ever been to Karmiel, you will understand why…. although its a bit more lively these days). Larger than life and bursting with song, we decided he was the man for the job. So we shlepped him up all the way from the Shomron.
Since hosting a fancy function was not really an option what with all our house expenditure, we had to rely on community kindness. Luckily, Eshchar is well versed in organising in-house kiddushim and the local ladies (and a few men) put together a nice spread. We also hosted a small lunch for the mohel and his family, Husbands cousins who journeyed especially, a few friends who shlepped from far and wide, and some olim on our yeshuv who I invited as replacement family. Everybody chipped in with the food and we only needed a small amount of catering. Our yeshuv are incredibly generous with this sort of thing. There is no Keeping up With the Joneses mentality (at least I haven’t noticed it) and people just sort of muck in.
The atmosphere in shul was lovely, the poor baby was almost late for his own brit since by the time my friend and I had managed to get toddler and baby and various paraphernalia down the stairs and out the door and into buggies a massive downpour started and we had to stand there wondering what to do. Eventually we made a dash for it and got there in the nick of time.
All was well until that dreadful moment when I realised with all the things I had to remember I had totally forgotten to give the baby his paracetemol. I felt awful. But later found out many people don’t give this and in any case I’m sure it wasnt around back in the day and everybody survived it…I just felt bad for the poor little mite. Anyway, he didn’t cry. My experience since we made Aliyah has been brits without crying babies. Thank god.
The mohel got everybody singing in shul, and despite half the community being away that week (I have no idea where on earth everyone was on a grey weekend in February) it was still very nice. My brother kindly wrote a dvar torah on my behalf and I informed the shul committee I would be giving a talk. Somehow I got dragged right up to the bimah and it was only afterwards I was informed that I was the first woman in the yeshuv to do that.
Heck, turns out I’m an accidental feminist radical.
Like most people I normally get a bit twitchy about speaking in public but I was so ecstatically happy with my lovely new baby I can honestly say I was not even vaguely nervous. I have no idea if anybody understood me. But the entire community seemed to sit quietly, amazingly enough, whilst I explained the meaning of the name Yakir, which means “precious” or “treasured”. Afterwards there was more singing and my lovely little family did a small dance on the bimah with Husband holding our sleeping treasure.
My highlight of the day was definitely just after the mohel gave him his name. My other 3 boys were standing on the bima WATCHING THE ENTIRE THING (??!!) and Little Jojo (now 7) came running straight up to me; “Mummy, mummy, the baby’s called Yakir!”
Who knew?! 😉