For liberal Jews, the ritual of Jewish circumcision (Bris or Brit Milah) need not be extremely painful for the child (which it almost certainly is) nor for the parents, if they choose a symbolic ceremony known as a Brit Shalom.
In this ceremony, all of the rituals are covered, except for the actual circumcision.
Although most Jews circumcise their children as they are under tremendous pressure to conform to religious norms, it is important to remember that today for non-traditional Jews, circumcision is an option. An alternative ritual to the Brit Milah combines the "Baby Naming Ceremony" with the symbolic "Bris" or "Brit Milah" to create a "Brit Shalom” ("Covenant of Peace").
I will be happy to conduct a Brit Shalom ceremony that is joyful, spiritual and devoid of the pain of circumcision.
"I wanted to thank you for the beautiful Bris Shalom ceremony you performed for my son, Brandon. We invisioned having an intimate ceremony with our family to welcome him to the world and to Judaism, that incorporated the spiritual aspects of the ritual, without a circumcision. What you delivered was that and so much more. Your ceremony was educational, touching, meaningful, and an overall delight. It was important to me to include an explanation of Bris Shalom, so our guests could have a better understanding of our decision to go that route, and your words on the subject were just right. The folks in the room that day weren't all Jewish, and you went out of your way to be inclusive, so that everyone not only understood what was going on, but could participate in the proceedings. I liked how you asked everyone in the room to offer a few words on how they would participate in our son's spiritual upbringing, and I also liked how you incorporated time for us to say a few words about the people Brandon was named after. We were especially grateful that you paused and asked my husband to translate for his mother who doesn't speak English. And bringing your guitar to lead us in a few songs brought a festive musical element that we thoroughly enjoyed!
My husband and I aren't particularly religious, but between the beautiful ceremony you prepared, your generally lovely demeanor, and the music, our Bris Shalom was a very beautiful and meaningful occasion that we and my family will always remember. Thank you!" Julian & Jamie
For more information on Jewish Circumcision, here are some excellent sites:
Dr. MarK Reiss, M.D.