Brit Rechitzah is an alternative ceremony to Brit Milah performed by progressive Jews who are opposed to circumcision as a blood ritual. It is often a part of the liturgy of ceremonies such as Brit Shalom, or Brit B'lee Milah (covenant without cutting). Those who perform it include Rabbis in the Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Renewal Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism movements of Judaism.
Rechitzah involves the washing of the babies 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. It also seems to be an ecumenical allusion to Jesus's practice.
Professor Michael S. Kimmel's account of Rechitzah at his son's Brit Shalom ceremony:
"Then it was the moment for which we had all carefully prepared, about which we had endlessly talked, debated, argued, discussed. We took a pitcher of water and a bowl to the door of the house. Amy and I carried Zachary over to the threshold. With one hand I held his little body and with the other held his tiny legs over the bowl. Amy poured some water over his feet and rubbed it in. Then she held him and I did the same. Throughout, the mohel chanted in prayer. And in that way, we welcomed Zachary into our home and into our lives."
"We welcomed Zachary into our family on that morning without a circumcision. We decided that we want him to live in a world without violence, so we welcomed him without violence. We decided that we want him to live in a world in which he is free to experience the fullness of the pleasures of his body, so we welcomed him with all his fleshy nerves intact. And we decided that we want him to live in a world in which male entitlement is a waning memory, and in which women and men are seen--in both ritual and in reality--as full equals and partners. So we welcomed him equally, his mother and I, in the time-honored way that desert cultures have always welcomed strangers to their tents: We washed his feet."
- Account of Rechitzah. The Kindest Un-Cut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin by Michael S. Kimmel.
- Rabbis and other Jewish Celebrants who perform Rechitzah. Brit Shalom Celebrants