Today we are posting a different type of ceremony. It is not a wedding, and to be forewarned, it is graphic. It is a traditional Jewish male Circumcision ceremony known as a “Brit Milah”.
The Brit Milah ceremony is performed on the infant on the eighth day after its birth. It is performed by a “Mohel” who is someone (usually also a Rabi) who is versed in performing circumcisions. This one had done hundreds he told me.
Brit Milah means “covenant of circumcision”. It is said to be a symbol of the covenant that God made with Abraham. At the Brit Milah the friends and family gather, the circumcision is performed and a celebratory feast known as “seudat mitzvah” takes place.
This young family booked the Club Lounge on the top floor of this San Francisco high-rise for the venue of their event. It was a spectacular view from every angle on this sunny San Francisco Day.
When the couple booked this event, we did not know the exact day of the event, as it always has to happen on the eighth day, so we basically found out, the day after she delivered the baby, what the actual day of this event would be.
The reason why I wanted to take this event and the reason why I am posting is is important to me so I want to explain further.
To me, photography is really about learning and experiencing new things to become more knowledgeable about the world around me. As someone who has a passion for learning about different cultures, ceremonies, rituals, and traditions, I wanted to capture this event and tell the story of it in a way that had a documentary feeling, yet was artistic and beautiful.
Photography gives one the honor to be invited to another’s “tribe” so to speak. To be allowed inside to witness things that maybe some will never experience. Not being Jewish myself, in many ways I am an outsider, yet because of body of work I have and the comfortability I have with my clients, they invited me in to capture this event and tell the story through my lens, with my vision. This fresh perspective I bring also benefits my client, because I don’t take any of it for granted. I document it all in every detail, with multiple angles, being calculated and composed, yet involved, a part of it.
Being a part of someone’s life is the most special thing we as photographers receive from our clients.
I am sharing it here because it is different from our other work. With so many weddings on our calendar every year, one may think we don’t shoot anything else. Our company name is Wedding Documentary after all! However, we do shoot several things other than weddings and I want people to know that we cover all types of ceremonies, for all religions, and that we like to be out of comfort zone to grow and experience new things as artists and as people!
Being someone who gets a little “queasy” when it comes to blood and pain, I wanted to face my fears. Not that I was really afraid or anything, but I typically don’t like seeing anyone in pain or bleeding! From what I understand, the baby barely feels a thing, and in a matter of like 2 weeks, it is basically completely healed. He was actually super chill just a few minutes later. This ritual has been performed for thousands of years and so I appreciate all the historical and traditional significance of it.
So with that, scroll through to see our first Brit Milah ceremony and thanks for reading!