I placed a small stainless steel clamp on the baby's penis between the foreskin and the glans and shut it tight. Then with one precise stroke, I removed the foreskin.
The observers gasped. I removed the clamp. A tiny drop of blood, normal for the procedure, appeared. I dressed the cut with sterile gauze. Andrew didn't cry.
"\o7 Mazel Tov\f7 ," I cried.
"\o7 Mazel Tov\f7 ," yelled the group.
"O God, we give thanks to you for the gift of our child, who has entered into the covenant of Abraham. Keep him from all harm, and grant that he may be a source of joy to us and all his dear ones.
"Be with us, and give us health and length of days. Teach us to rear our child with care and affection, with wisdom and understanding, that he may be a faithful child of our people and a blessing to the world."
When the ceremony was over, it was time for the \o7 seudat mitzvah\f7 , the feast. The Talmud says it is a commandment to celebrate the \o7 brit milah\f7 with a meal. What, I wondered, would be served?
Within seconds, caps were popped off bottles of Bud, and someone passed around a tray of sandwiches.
On the long ride back to Los Angeles, I thought to myself how the \o7 brit milah \f7 that I had just performed is God's promise that the Jewish people will continue to exist.
Even out in the Mojave Desert, in the middle of nowhere, it is imperative that the message not be lost.
I imagined Andrew grown up. If he's lucky, I thought, he'll appreciate his faith.