Monday, April 23, 2012

A List of Brisses

My brother sent me this photo (taken with a smart phone - as I think the shadow indicates) of a list that is described as part of a "letter [which] lists twenty-one people circumcised by Moses Mendel Seixas between 1775 and 1796."

I hope the short list of a 21 year period is indicative of a small Jewish population at that time - and not the particular skills of the mohel in question. Although I am quite curious as to what the word that seems to say "dead" after 3/4 of the dates would indicate.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another Article on Metzitzah

This time in the Jewish Press

The author is the same Dr. Gary Gelbfish, whose article I posted over here.

In it, he sort of responds to this article by Dr. Daniel Berman (I have not linked to this article until now)

Essentially, he suggests that a complete panel of physicians gather to weigh in on their perspectives to the rabbis - with facts and opinions about the efficacy of mixing the germs and bacteria of the mouth with an open wound (knowing what we know about all these things)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

News Monitor: Metzitzah and Herpes

This from the Jewish Week.

There are those who may call the Jewish Week all kinds of names, and may disagree with their at-times slanted approach. But I don't think they are off on this one. I think sensible people want to protect babies, and don't believe that any part of the bris should "possibly" put the baby in danger (with the exception of the Biblically mandated circumcision itself - which is only done on healthy babies, and, when done properly, is a safe procedure - with a very good track record).

How to Find a Mohel

Like the medical field in general, the Bris Milah field prides itself on reputation building and reputation maintenance. While people may appreciate how nice you are, most people really (should) want to know if you do a good job. And the way they find out is by asking their friends who have had similar experiences, "Who did you go to? Were you pleased with the experience?"

No matter what the other person's experience, it is important to interview the person you may be interested in hiring. Just as every doctor has a personality and a style that needs to work for you, this is certainly the case for every mohel.

People find a mohel either by word of mouth, through a physician referral  (or mohel referral, if your first choice is not available), or on the Internet - through a Google search followed by research through various websites, most likely including the website of the mohel you end up choosing.

If you've done this before and had a good experience, you will likely call your mohel again.

If you did not have a good experience

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A word about this blog

This blog consists of practical information for those looking into bris milah and circumcision, as well as observations and thoughts about the subject in question, including some philosophical comments and reactions to news stories. Of course everything is from my perspective, based on the things I have learned, studied, been taught, and experienced through my years of training and hands-on practice as a mohel.

Over the years I've had this blog, the audience has been expanding – and for that I am grateful. Grateful that I can play a role in educating people about bris milah, and that the perspective I have to offer (which, of course, is not the only perspective out there) has an audience.

On account of the sensitive nature of this blog, I have chosen to heavily monitor the comments that come through. To bring a few examples:
  • This is a pro-bris blog, not a pro-circumcision blog. Comments from those who are anti-circumcision have no place here.

Nissan - When one Perk is Irrelevant

Every day at shacharis someone will ask me "Are you working today?" meaning, "Do you have a bris?"

The reason they are asking is because when a mohel is present in shul on a day when he is performing a bris, since it is considered to be a Yom Tov/holiday for him, the "tachanun" prayer is omitted in celebration of the special occasion. After all, who needs to beseech God with supplications when such good news is taking place? [That's not exactly the thought process, but it's a start.]

Anyway, the custom is for the entire Jewish community to omit Tachanun during all of the Hebrew month of Nissan on account of the fact that 20 days of the month (Biblically speaking) have a special event attached to them. The rabbis taught, once more than half the month is free from tachanun, we'll just apply the celebrations to the entire month..

During Nissan, bris or no bris, I am reminded "we don't need you."

I got it.