Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Makes YOU Different?

Someone recently asked me that - in the context of our talking about bris milah and this vocation of mine. Good question.
While some of the things I am about to describe are true with some mohels, I aim to bring them all together.
  • The Main difference is that I view the bris experience as an educational experience. I aim to share as much information as I can share with you, so you understand what will be happening to your son, and what you are really asking me to do on your behalf.
  • I am one of very few mohels who uses a surgical marker (or any magic marker) to guide the incision I will make during the bris. [Most mohels (arrogantly, in my opinion) "estimate" the foreskin, and don't pay much attention to aesthetics. I know it is important to you, however, and it is therefore extremely important to me that I 'get it right.' Using the marker assures a significantly more consistent result.]
  • I spend the time getting to know you, getting a feel for who you are and what you want the bris experience to be. You are never "a number"
  • From when bris mode sets in (beginning with our pre-bris meeting or phone conversation - not the "booking" but the "let's go over all the details" one) I am completely at your service until the last time I feel I need to see your baby. I communicate, call, keep you informed of all you need to know. If your home is within driving distance (as opposed to if I came by plane), I can come visit anytime you want afterwards to see how things are looking and let you know of what is still to come. 
  • Depending on your particular needs - participation of men, women, family, friends; as well as accomodations for religious observance and preference - I hope to tailor the bris ceremony and experience to your liking.
  • I don't have a particular formula that I use every time - it is more like a very loose script that guides our way, but is open to much ad-libbing. All to make each bris unique and special for its participants.
  • I am a superstickler for sterility
    - using sterile gloves (many mohels opt for non-sterile, which are less expensive)
    - creating a sterile field for the bris (as is done in an operating room)
    - metzitza with a tube stuffed with gauze - no passage of saliva/blood between mohel and baby
    - all sterilized instruments, drapes and bandages are opened for the first time at the bris

  • I am extremely careful to leave your baby with a clean bandage, after having observed for the requisite amount of time that his wound has clotted and that he is not bleeding.
  • I give you full instructions for how to care for the wound after the bris, and what you will be seeing.
I hope you will consider utilizing my services, and I appreciate the trust and confidence you put in me. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Important Reminders

Sometimes I put the most important information at the end of a seemingly unrelated post. Then it gets lost in translation.  At the end of this post, I wrote the following:


He's YOUR baby, you have a right to choose whom you'll hire.  You have the responsibility to ask all the right questions to every mohel you interview before you settle on the one you want


And you also must take care to know what you are looking for to have the right kind of experience for your needs.  Always remember that the wrong attitude is not to ask.


I wish everyone best of look in having a positive experience the first time, and in learning what you need to know in order to make it so. I look forward to working with you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Personal Advertisement

I have to do this every now and then. :)

I have joined facebook! There is a "Rabbi Avi Billet, Mohel" fan page which I would appreciate if you signed up to (or at least click that you Like It).

I will be blogging on my new blog: thebrisblog.wordpress.com (for now) as well - and that will be the primary feeder to the fan page.

Understanding, of course, that participation in Bris Milah is only relevant to most people in the few days from the birth of their son(s) until a few days after the bris, nonetheless, it is important to me all year round, which is why I do what I do, and why I am doing what I can to have more of an internet presence.

Thanks for your support and your friendship!

Avi Billet

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When the Baby Dies Naturally - Stillborn, complications from birth, etc

THIS IS A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT.

I was asked recently "what is the practice when a boy is born either stillborn or dies shortly after his birth? Is he to be circumcised?"

The simple answer is that it is up to the parents and what they want to have done. What follows is a more detailed analysis of the sources that address this topic, and what rabbis through the centuries had to say about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remembering Our Roles

I tell this story to a lot of grandparents that I meet at brisses.

At a recent bris, in which I knew one set of grandparents (mother's family) very well for a long time (they have other grandchildren as well) but did not know the grandparents who became "first-timers" with the arrival of this baby, my first encounter with first-time Grandma went as follows.

I was in the private room preparing the baby, when the baby's father's mother walked in.

She promptly announced: "I am the mother-in-law."

To which I said, "You mean you are the grandmother."

And she said, "Me? I'm not the grandmother!" Then she thought about it a second and said, "O Right! I AM the grandmother! I guess I better get used to that."

Don't worry. You will!

Mazal Tov!