Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting Around Florida

In the last few weeks I've been as far north as Gainesville (by plane) and Port St. Lucie (by car) and I've gotten inquiries from Naples, Tampa, and Sarasota from parents to be.

I've been recognized by participants who've seen me at other brisses in further from home places.

Which is always very flattering.

Thank God, this mohel in South Florida is getting around.

As always, I appreciate the trust and the opportunity to serve.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Workshops Announcement

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Topic That Won't Go Away

That's right. Another article in the Forward about... metzitzah.

Here is the link. http://forward.com/articles/213364/is-controversial-circumcision-ritual-dangerous/?p=all

Unfortunately, this article is very long and says very little. It may have some or most of its facts straight, but there are too many questions left unanswered.

Of course, much of this is a response to this article I neglected to post last week.

The bottom line is that - as I wrote in my article in the Jewish Week - nothing will change based on the outside. The change must come from within. Rabbis must teach their constituents that this practice is no longer acceptable, and they must insist and demand that the mohels stop performing it.

When the internal community pressure brings about a cessation of direct contact metzitzah, these stories will cease to occur.

We will also rid this horrible "chillul Hashem" from our midst (just see the way the obviously not-Jewish media paints the metzitzah ritual).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Basic Information - All You Need to Know Consolidated

I get many phone inquiries months in advance of births. Sometimes the baby is a boy, and sometimes the parents don’t know yet. (Obviously those who know they are having girls don’t call!)

I am always happy to discuss all matters in advance of the bris. But for ease of reference, here is all the information you need (some of these links are at the top of the page as well). Of course, any topic you'd like to research more can be found in the Topical Index.
Here are the supplies you need for the bris, and for the aftercare.
Here are the honors you need to think about and assign for the bris ceremony
Here is a summary of what a classic bris ceremony looks like.     
Here is an explanation of how things will look like in the few days and weeks following the bris.
Here is a long term care reminder for some babies, and another for babies who gather much baby fat over the next several months. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Another Metzitzah Tale Gone Bad

NOT BY ME, of course. This is out of New York. My method is completely safe, as there is no contact or transfer of fluid from mohel to baby (or vice versa).

See here: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/jewish-baby-contracted-herpes-bris-article-1.2055911

This story has a happier ending, as it seems the baby has been treated and will be OK.

But the beginning of the story is not so happy, because this baby should have never needed this kind of treatment.

A bris done under sterile conditions - with metzitzah being accomplished via sterile tube - does not produce an infection.

Properly sterilized instruments, sterile gloves, a sterile metzitzah tube, sterile bandages + the correct amount of skin being removed = job well done, quick healing time, healthy baby.

End of story.

Mouth on baby and whatever other ingredient which removes another step of sterility = good chance of infection.

I am not ashamed to be a mohel. But I am ashamed to share in a profession in which practices that can lead to this result (herpes infection on a newborn) are maintained by fellow practitioners, and desired by an ignorant herd who do not think for themselves and demand otherwise from their mohels.

Many non-observant Jews ask me "What is your policy on metzitzah?" (here it is)


We need to put these guys out of business, or force them to change their ways.

No baby need ever be put at risk, even the slightest risk, beyond the risk of the circumcision itself, which is commanded to us in our Torah. But metzitzah is not a commandment. And this method should be banned by rabbis, community leaders, parents, and mohels. NO MORE EXCUSES.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When Bris is on a Fast Day (Tosafos insights)

In a much larger Talmudic discussion (Eruvin 40b) that involves the question of whether one must eat/drink after saying a blessing (instead of having someone else, such as a child drink), as well as the propriety of giving alcohol to children, Tosafos record two stories, which are instructive as to how people conduct themselves with reference to eating and drinking on a fast day.

I share because when there is a bris on a fast day (10th of Tevet, referenced below, is coming up), this information is instructive.

תוספות מסכת עירובין דף מ עמוד ב 
ומעשה היה בחופה בעשרה בטבת נתנו הכוס לתינוק לשתות [ומעשה היה בברית מילה ברבינו יעקב בר יקר שחל עשרה באב בא' בשבת והוא היה אב"ד וצוה להתפלל מנחה גדולה ורחצו ואכלו מפני שי"ט שלהן היה כדכתיב שש אנכי כו' והאי דלא מברכינן שהחיינו משום צערא דינוקא תוס' שאנ"ץ].

"It happened that there was a wedding on the 10th of Tevet (a fast day), and they gave the cup (of wine) to a child to drink (the word "Tinok" means baby - but sometimes refers to a child)."
"It happened that there was a bris with Rabbi Yaakov bar Yakar which fell on the 10th of Av which fell on Sunday (meaning it was the day they were observing the 9th of Av fast, pushed to Sunday). He was the Head of the Rabbinic Court. He instructed everyone to pray the early Mincha, and then to wash and eat, for it was a Yom Tov for them, as it says, 'I rejoice at the fulfillment of Your word...'
And the reason we do not say "Shehechiyanu" at a bris is because of the pain the child experiences."
When we say a blessing over wine on a fast day, we have the custom to give the wine to the child - which at a bris is the baby. This may or may not be the source for our giving wine to the baby at every bris anyway.

But the points we take from these tales for bris practices on fast days are the following:
1. The easiest person to give to drink on a fast day is the baby
2. A fast day which is pushed off, even a fast day as important as 9 Av, is a day when participants at the bris may eat. While this is not a common practice, it is mostly due to lack of awareness of the rules.
3. A baby does feel pain at a bris. This is not something we celebrate through the recitation of Shehechiyanu. [This is a confirmation that this mitzvah is one of the rare mitzvos in the Torah that has pain associated with it (the other being fasting on Yom Kippur). This is why numbing the baby is advocated, while some argue that the speed in which we operate serves as its own numbing.]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

News Monitor: the circumcision debate

This debate has been ongoing for many decades, with medical views going back and forth on the subject of "to circ or not to circ." This is the latest installment (text embedded below).

As always, this is irrelevant to the Jewish people on account of it merely being a footnote to why we do what we do.

But the STD concern is real.

See also this article and newsreel from today.com