Secret Bris?


Our daughter with whom we have a strained relationship has entirely abandoned Judaism, identifies herself as a non-religious atheist rather than a Jew, and lives in sin with a non-Jewish man. She is due to give birth to a baby boy next month. She adamantly refuses to have him circumcised. At the same time, she is depending on me to give her free babysitting when she and her boyfriend work during the day. Do you think we should go behind her back and hire a mohel to circumcise our grandson? Yes, it is illegal and is a betrayal of trust, but she would never press charges against us because she is too dependent on us for money and childcare. My hunch is that she would be angry at first, but then get over it.



  1. My personal feeling is that you should not go behind your daughter’s back and give your grandson a Bris. I do feel that you can tell your daughter that you are more than happy to babysit and to help them but that you want their son to have a Bris Milah. It shouldn’t be presented as an ultimatum. Rather, that you would like to receive something back in return for all your help that you will be giving them.

    However, due to the acute sensitivity of your question, I feel that the answer requires very broad Halachic shoulders, which I do not possess. Personally, I would recommend that you consider speaking with Rav Dovid Cohen, the Rabbi of Gvul Ya’avetz in Brooklyn. Rav Cohen is one of the foremost Poskim in America today and he is eminently qualified to answer you. Rav Cohen can be contacted every day at 718 376 7423 between 3pm-4pm (except Tuesdays) and 10pm-11pm.

    Best wishes from the Team