The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way that people do everything from work to shop. When you’re out of the house, you need to wear a mask and keep a distance between yourself and others. The brit milah is an important stage in the life of any Jewish baby boy and one that you don’t want to miss just because of the pandemic. Provided that you follow certain guidelines, you can still host your son’s brit milah during pandemic outbreaks and celebrate this important milestone.
Cut the Guest List
While you might want to invite dozens of people to your celebration, the rabbi performing bris during the coronavirus pandemic probably does not want to be around a large group of strangers. Now is the time to cut down your guest list to only the most important people. Many parents only invite those in their immediate families. Unless the relatives live in your household, they shouldn’t make your guest list.
When you find a mohel in Tamarac Florida to perform the ceremony, ask if he is comfortable appearing on camera. You can use Skype and other programs to broadcast the live ceremony to those who cannot be there and make them feel like they are part of the festivities. Try placing one camera in a central spot in the room that allows those watching to see everything that happens. These programs also allow you to chat after the ceremony with your loved ones.
Wearing a mask is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. You’ll find disposable masks that you only wear once as well as other masks that you can wash and wear again. If you invite even one person from outside of your home, ask everyone to wear a mask. Guests should also wear masks at the bris if they work or spend time outside of the home as they can bring the virus back with them. If someone refuses to wear a mask at the ceremony, you may think it difficult to tell this person that they cannot attend, but it’s easier than worrying about them getting sick and/or affecting others.
Keep Your Distance
The National Institutes of Health found that coronavirus can live on some surfaces for up to 24 hours and others for up to three days. While you might feel safe hosting a bris during coronavirus because your family wears masks, they could pick up the virus from the surfaces in your home and carry it into their homes. This can cause dozens of people who didn’t even attend the event to test positive later. Encourage everyone at the bris to stand at least 6 feet apart and keep their distance from each other.
Offer Goodie Bags
Offering goodie bags is a fun way to thank guests who couldn’t be there and make them feel like they were part of the ceremony. These bags can include products as simple as bagels with cream cheese or kosher snacks. Instead of giving each guest a bag as they leave, you can leave the bags sitting outside. Those who you invited but couldn’t attend can stop by and pick one up when they leave a gift or card. You can also hire a company to send gift bags to your loved ones. Local companies wear gloves and take other steps to make sure that the bags are safe and free of germs.
Host a Separate Naming Ceremony
Some parents find that they want to host a private and quiet brit milah during pandemic outbreaks. Even if they want a few loved ones to attend via Skype and other programs, they want to keep the guest list as small as possible. After reducing the guest list to the bris, you can invite more family and friends to attend a naming ceremony that you host later in the day. Zoom and other programs make it easy for people around the world to participate. The naming ceremony gives you the celebration that you originally wanted.
Outdoor Party Signs
While the pandemic will change the way a mohel in Tamarac Florida performs the ceremony, you can still celebrate in some of the ways that you planned, including placing large signs outside. You can use one big sign to let your neighbors know about the event and smaller signs to share some details such as your son’s name or the name of the person performing the ceremony. Using balloons can add a fun touch to the event. Helium balloons draw attention to your signs and will stay in the air for a few days after the bris.
Turn Your Yard Into a Theater
If you have family and friends who want to be there and hate the idea of missing out, consider turning your yard into a drive-in theater. All you need is a large sheet that you hang on the garage or a fence wall to create the screen and some simple equipment to broadcast the ceremony live. You can use the webcam on a laptop or a digital video camera that streams the celebration to a projector that then sends the image to your screen. Guests can stay safely in their cars and still see everything that happens.
Many nursing homes have hosted parades during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to show residents that their families love them when they couldn’t visit. You can do the same thing instead of performing bris during the coronavirus pandemic. Tell your guests what time they should arrive and encourage them to decorate their cars in honor of your new baby. Once you finish the bris, send a text message to let everyone know that the parade is about to start. Guests can drive by and see the baby as you stand outside without you worrying about them bringing germs into your home.
Ask for Video Messages
One thing that many parents miss about hosting a bris during coronavirus is that they don’t get to see their loved ones and hear what they wanted to say to their babies. These parents often feel lonely after the celebration, too. Asking for video messages can help your loved ones feel involved and remind you that you are loved and not alone. You can create a website and have loved ones upload their video messages or create a hashtag that they use when posting those videos online. When you save the videos that you get, you can share them with your little one as he grows.
Choosing the right person to help with your celebration is the key to your success during the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Andrew Krinsky is a licensed and board-certified doctor trained in newborn circumcision. He uses anesthesia to reduce the discomfort that your baby experiences and wears protective gear to keep your family safe. With more than three decades of experience helping parents in Southern Florida and his warm and professional manner, he can make the bris go as smoothly as possible. Call today to see how you can set up a virtual appointment or have him come to your home for the bris.