The picture paused at the mohel, the religious man who'd be presiding over this traditional ceremony, and as he prepared a table with the religious and non-religious materials needed, I asked my brother, Jared, "Is he ready for his close-up?" Jared got his attention, and the mohel turned, faced the camera and waved, apparently very comfortable at being transmitted in this way.
When the day arrived, I drove with my husband and daughter, over to my brother Evan's house (conveniently, we were staying in the town where he lives) so that we could hold our own, early morning, remote, bris bash. Evan's 2-year-old twins would be there, along with his wife, their nanny, and another brother of mine, Zach.
We walked in to their house to find my niece and nephew making the beginnings of banana bread--a seemingly appropriate activity to accompany a bris. My daughter joined in on their fun, while my husband and I did a test run of the live streaming feed coming from the actual bris location. Another brother of mine, Jared, was using an iPhone to video the ceremony, and as we tested the technology, we were given a full tour of the preparations underway. Family members blew kisses and made faces. Friends waved. We saw what appeared to be some sort of kugel mold sitting on a table.
With the previous mentions of my "mess o' brothers", all younger than me, it will come as no surprise that I'm no stranger to brises. It's a tradition that I've witnessed many times, but that doesn't mean it gets any easier.
But this was a bris with benefits.
For instance, we only had video transmission in one direction--we could see them, but they couldn't see us. So no one knew that I went and woke up my brother Zach just before the ceremony started, and that he wore pajamas the entire time. No one at the actual bris was interrupted, hearing my sweet niece Alyssa yelling, "Eek! Eek! Eek!" as she looked at the baby in the computer monitor. (This was her way of announcing the new baby's name--it's actually Zeke.) No one could see us looking silly, sitting at a very small table, made for very small children, because that's where the kids on our end wanted the computer to be placed so they could see what all the fuss was about.
We watched Corey hold baby Zeke, who truly appeared to be somewhat apprehensive even though he didn't know what was about to happen.
After the ceremony began, we saw the proud parents as they tried to pacify their baby. We saw Zeke as he was passed around to all the key players and prayers were said. And, we were able to hear as baby Zeke's cries grew louder and then grew quiet again. Another benefit, of the broadcast bris--when the baby's cries grew too loud--we turned the volume lower.
"Someone tell Jared he's giving me a headache," my brother Zach said at one point, as Jared took the phone and scanned the room a bit too quickly, leaving us all dizzy.
And then, as the moment of truth arrived, the camera moved to the back of the crowd. We could no longer see the baby, but we could see some other family and friends who weren't interested in seeing the action up close. Right then, I got a phone call from Jared's phone. "Yo wimp, I see you moved to the back of the crowd," I teased. It turned out it was Jared's fiance calling, to give us heads up that they'd been told by the mohel that they were not permitted to film close-ups of the actual "moment." We weren't complaining.
My five-year-old daughter tried identifying some attendees by the backs of their heads and then exclaimed, "I wish I could go snowboarding with Zeke on my lap." A totally random comment, but it was good for a chuckle on our end, and there were no worries about interrupting the mohel's work.
We could hear the parents being questioned, "Corey, Ari, are you ok?" And when it was over, and Zeke sat with a bottle in his mouth and a yarmulke on his head that was so big it looked like a rain hat, the blessings were said, songs were sung, the parents held hands, and there where smiles and sighs of relief all around.
Then, a wave of a hand came into the screen and the picture froze. They were done with their live feed. And for those who may have missed it the first time, there's the option to watch the instant replay. Amen. This was the best bris ever.Continued on the next page