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Welcome to -  the most comprehensive and up to date mohel blog on the internet . My name is Avi Billet, and I am so ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shalom Zachar thoughts

When my son was born towards the end of 2009, I prepared a class about the custom to have a Shalom Zachar on the first Friday evening after the baby's birth.

I summarized the class online - it can be found in my other blog over here

Once I posted the audio class (previous post), I thought to share this one as well.


Significance of Bris Milah

Click here for an audio presentation on this subject (54 minutes).
[The link sends you to Yeshiva University's online Torah website -]

Monday, June 27, 2011

San Francisco Ban - The Latest

The latest on the San Francisco ban-circumcision bill - a look at the people behind the bill, and some interesting observations about the Jewish community. It seems that even in San Francisco, where you have Jews of all colors and stripes, some of whom support circumcision and some of whom oppose it, are unanimous in their belief that a ban on circumcision is the wrong way to go.

As I have said before, the debate is legitimate, and the choice that parents make for their child is deeply personal. But making it illegal has no place in the United States of America.

Here is an article you may find of interest, from the Jewish Journal (reproduced in full below - minus the graphics - in case the link becomes inactive)

Except for the sub-headlines, the parts that are in bold are suggestive points that I have highlighted and emphasized due to their significance in this overall discussion (sometimes my point is to highlight what I see as an indication that the speaker or person in question is either hypocritical or operating with a loose screw or two)
June 21, 2011

The great California foreskin fight of 2011

By Jonah Lowenfeld

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When Baby is Really Small

A baby can only be given his bris when he is completely healthy.  When he is a preemie, or otherwise small, is he considered unhealthy?

For bris purposes, any baby over 6 pounds can be considered a "full term baby," regardless of how many weeks early he may be born. Barring any other health concerns, the bris should be on time.

A full term baby who weighs less - though almost all full-term babies are over five pounds - can also have the bris on time.

A preemie - fewer than 36 weeks, will almost always have his bris delayed until he gets a little bigger.

Many mohels have a "kabbalah" (an accepted practice passed from teacher to student) not to do a bris on a baby who is under five pounds. I have an ongoing debate with the grandfather of a set of triplets I circumcised many years ago, because he felt I was randomly picking a weight in order to have all three boys be circumcised on the same day (they all had different weights at birth - the brisses were delayed but ended up taking place on the same day). But it isn't random - a five pound baby has a different look than even a 4 lbs. 10 oz. baby.

In my case, the only exceptions I will make in order to circumcize a baby weighing fewer than 5 pounds are:
A. If the baby is full term, and both of his parents happen to be below average size
B. A case such as the triplets, where the baby is a few weeks old, in perfect health, and is gaining 1-2 ounces a day, and he has a brother who is also ready, whose bris is scheduled. If the baby is in the 4 lbs and double digit ounces range, I will consider circumcising him at the same time as his twin/triplet brother.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No indication of anti-Semitism HERE... (NOT)

The ballot in San Francisco looms nearer and proponents of the circumcision ban claim that their only agenda is to protect babies who have no ability to defend themselves, who are not given a choice not to circumcise. "It should be their choice to make when they're older, if they want it."

Let's leave aside the argument that most people really don't care if they were circumcised. And let's also leave aside the argument that for those who do "choose" circumcision, they generally much prefer (and appreciate) that it was taken care of for them when they were babies, rather than having to go through the ordeal as an older person.

The Jewish community in particular, those who respect the Torah and Mitzvot and (at least minimally) believe that the Covenant of Circumcision is a fundamental tenet of our faith, is aghast that policies of czarist Russia and many other historically anti-Semitic regimes are actually being considered for a vote in religiously-free (and tolerant) America.

Proponents claim their is no anti-Jewish bias in the proposed ban. None. It's all about the babies.

Mmm hmmm.

Then what is this?