This is the most honored role. The Sandak holds the baby while the brit is performed. The Sandak should be a Jew who can testify that the brit was performed in accordance with Jewish law. While traditionally, the Sandak is a male, there is no reason a woman cannot be a Sandak. The high esteem in which the Sandak is held is manifested by a position of honor standing next to the chair of Elijah. Traditionally, this role is given to a grandfather. In some communities, it is customary to give the rabbi this honor. And some suggest that the father of the child should himself be the Sandak, for since the mitzvah to circumcise the child is incumbent upon him, he should assist in the ceremony in every way possible. This is the custom in many Sephardic communities.

Kvatter(male) and Kvatterin(female)

This couple (not necessarily husband and wife) brings the baby into the room where the brit will take place. They are colloquially known as the godparents. It is not necessary to fill both roles.

Candle Lighter

Generally a relative or close friend.

Tallis/Kiddush Cup/Candlesticks

It is especially meaningful to use ritual objects that have some family history such as used for a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, bris etc. Please check with your family to see if they have special ritual objects. If either the Kiddush Cup or Candlesticks have special significance, please let me know so that I can make reference to them at the brit.


Parts of the ceremony need not be read by the mohel. If there are individuals whom you would like to read during the naming ceremony (in either Hebrew or English) or the preceding blessing over the wine, please let me know. Non-Jewish family members are welcome to be readers and to participate in the Parents and Grandparents blessings.