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Kvatterin and Kvatter

The Kvatterin, commonly referred to as Godmother, and the Kvatter, commonly referred to as the Godfather, receive the baby from the mother before the Brit and return him to her after the Brit is done. Often a childless couple is designated for this honor is auspicious for having children. The Kvatterin hands the baby to the Kvatter, who carries him to the Brit area and back to the Kvatterin after the Brit is done. (Note: certain communities have the custom to pass the baby from man to man until finally reaching the Brit area).

To and From the Throne of Elijah

The Kvatter then hands the baby to the person honored with laying him on the chair designated as Throne of Elijah. Another individual is honored with removing the baby from the Throne of Elijah and giving him to the father, who places him on the sandak’s lap.


The Sandak holds the baby during the Brit. Since this is the highest honor bestowed at the Brit, many choose the Grandfather or a revered individual to be the Sandak. Click here for more information about the role of the Sandak.

From the Sandak’s Lap and Standing Sandak

After the circumcision is done, another person is honored with taking the baby from the sandak and giving him to the standing sandak, who holds the baby while blessings and prayers are recited.

Blessings and Giving of the Name

Another honor is given to someone to recite two blessings that are said following the Brit. This honor is often given to the Mohel, Rabbi or Sandak. Following this there is an honor which can be given to a separate person or to the same individual who recited the blessings namely, the giving of the Name, in which a prayer is recited and the baby is given his Hebrew name.

Leader of Birchas Hamazon

The final honor is Leader of Birchas Hamazon (grace after meals) in which an individual is designated to recite the invitation to the prayer, which is said following the festive meal. This person also recites Harachamon prayers, the additional blessings recited at the end of the festival meal of a Brit. In some communities the Mohel is chosen for this honor. In others, a different person recites each Harachamon prayer.