Criminal trials can go on recess for a variety of reasons, death, illness, new evidence -- and also, as it happens, for the Jewish tradition known as the bris.
A Manhattan defense attorney asked U.S. Judge Kimba Wood for a day off during an upcoming criminal trial in the event that his pregnant daughter gives birth to a boy. In what he called a "writ of possible simcha" (footnoted as Hebrew word for "joy' or "happy event") attorney Bennet M. Epstein implores the judge for a brief recess should the bundle of joy indeed be a male.
Under Jewish Law, a newborn boy's bris must take place during daylight hours on the eighth day after his birth. Epstein wrote, the "eighth day after December 3rd could be right in the middle of the trial."
Epstein said the bris would bring hoardes of family and friends for celebration -- but should it be a girl, no recess would be required. "Should it be a girl, not much will happen in the way of public celebration. Some may even be disappointed," Esptein writes the judge.
Judge Wood, in deciding on the request, responds to Epstein that he will be allowed to attend the bris, should one take place. But if the baby is indeed a girl, the party will take place in court.
"The court would like to balance the scales. If a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women," Judge Wood ordered.