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Performed upon the Jewish male child on the eighth day of life. In Genesis 17:10-14, God commands Abraham to circumcise the foreskin of all males of the house as the sign of the covenant between God and the children of Abraham. It has become a basic law among Jews. In times of persecution, Jews risked their lives to fulfill the commandment. Traditionally, the ceremony is performed by a trained mohel, or circumciser, the child being held by an honored guest, the sandek, or godfather, who occupies a seat designated as Elijah’s chair in honor of the prophet Elijah. This custom stems from the belief that the prophet is witness to the ritual. The circumcision ceremony is an occasion for rejoicing and feasting, accompanied by special blessings and prayers.

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