Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are Women Not Part of the Covenant of the Bris?

A long essay on the subject. I was inspired!

I am a "Florence Melton Adult Mini School" instructor, and this week my assignment was to teach the class in "Rhythms" entitled "Birth and Berit." Sounds easy enough – doesn't seem like I need to prepare all that much.

[The Melton curriculum is officially "pluralistic." While I will engage all Jews where they are in their Jewish journey, I don't consider myself pluralistic in my approach to Judaism. With this in mind, let us continue…]

The class as formatted explains what the Covenant (Bris) of Circumcision (Milah) is, offers some rabbinic suggestions as to its purpose and why the mark of the covenant is placed on the particular part of the anatomy where it is.

It even asks important sociological questions that pertain to a society in which Jews and non-Jews are routinely circumcised, which would negate the "only Jews" element of circumcision, as well as a concern that non-traditional Jews continue to go through with the procedure on account of a connection based on conformity, as opposed to a religious or traditional conviction. Compelling conversation starters.

All this is fine with me.

But the part that bothers me is when the question is raised as to why there is no parallel ritual for girls, and why it seems women are not part of the covenant. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Special Feeling - Tremendous Zchut

At today's bris, the Sandak was the baby's great-grandfather. Wheelchair bound and over 90 years old, it was a true honor to tag-team with this Holocaust survivor, who has been through so much and has lived to see tens of great grand children.

We are a generation that is losing touch with the past - time takes its toll, as we all know.

For now, we can appreciate the miracles who survived and continue to live, and hope we can live up to the world they recreated from the nothing that was left to them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Metzitzah Debate with a Chabad person

Please note this is a very long entry. If you are interested in this subject, I would encourage you to read the whole thing. Please comment below!
Disclaimer: I do not believe the individual in question is a fair representative of Chabad, and I do believe Chabad representatives in general are a lot more open-minded and caring.


Over the recent holiday, I had a conversation with a person who considers himself a Chabad rabbi (I'll grant his Chabad-ness, but I don't give much credence to his being a rabbi). This was the first time I encountered him since he told someone who had hired me as a mohel that I was unfit to serve as a mohel. (The father followed his advice and cancelled the hiring)

I wanted to know why he felt this way, and we proceeded to have the following conversation, which focused mostly on our approaches to the concept of metzitzah.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Wonderful Compliment

The baby nurse from yesterday's bris said to me "You cut a perfect diamond. I have never seen a circumcision like this. No blood - nothing! Amazing job, Rabbi!"

I am not sure about the precious stone reference, but I'll take the rest of it to the bank.