Brit shalom (Hebrew: ברית שלום; “Covenant of Peace”), also called alternative brit (or bris in Yiddish and Ashkenazi Hebrew), brit ben, brit chayim or brit tikkun, is a naming ceremony for newborn Jewish boys that does not involve circumcision. It is intended to replace the traditional brit milah, and is promoted by groups such as Beyond the Bris and Jews Against Circumcision. The term is generally not used for girls, since their naming ceremony does not involve circumcision.
Brit shalom is recognized by organizations affiliated with Humanistic Judaism like the Society for Humanistic Judaism, The Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations, and the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, but not by any of the major denominations in Judaism.Reform Jewishrabbis welcome these families in their communities, although not all of them advertise this in public since it is considered a private matter.
There are different forms of brit shalom ceremonies. Some of them involve the washing of the baby’s feet, called Brit rechitzah. Brit shalom ceremonies are performed by a rabbi or a lay person; in this context, rabbi does not necessarily imply belief in God, as some celebrants belong to Humanistic Judaism.
Brit rechitzah (covenant of washing) is often a part of the liturgy of ceremonies such as brit shalom (Hebrew: covenant of peace) or brit bli milah (Hebrew: covenant without cutting). Those who perform it include rabbis in the Reform, Conservative, Renewal, and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism.
Rechitzah involves the washing of the baby’s feet and has its origins in an account in Genesis where Abraham washes the feet of angels who appear as strangers to visit him. This is thought of as a way of welcoming a Jewish boy into the faith in a peaceful way.
Moshe Rothenberg has developed a liturgy that includes brit rechitzah, and has popularized this Jewish welcoming ritual.