Sunday, March 27, 2016

Well, That Was Flattering

I got a call on Tuesday, "Hi. Are you available for a bris on Thursday?"

It isn't common to be called so late in the game, unless something happened - a mohel cancelled, or the situation is complicated.

Before I got to ask questions such as, "Is the baby ok? Is his mother Jewish?" etc., my mind starting racing... Thursday? Wait... that's.... PURIM

OK. I've had brisses on Purim before - not the most convenient day, but still, a bris on the 8th day is a bris on the 8th day.

"Where are you located?"

"North Orlando."

O.

Translate to my squeezing 6 hours worth of driving into an already full Purim-day schedule - I said I don't think I can do it. And I called a colleague, asking if he's available - I'll give them his name if he has the time.

I called back the parents, I'm not available, but my friend is.

"We'll call you back."

I get a callback from the father - to whom I had explained my Purim conflicts, and he said, well, "What if we do it at the Chabad of Melbourne, FL - a.k.a "Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts."

You'd be willing to drive over an hour from your home to have the bris in Melbourne, just so I can take off 2.5 hours of  my own drive, so I can make it?

"Yes. We've done our research. Really liked what we read in your blog. And we really want you to be our son's mohel."

How could I say no? I planned for the Purim bris.

Later that night, or on Wednedsay (it's all a blur by now), the father called me to tell me the baby's jaundice (bilirubin count) was rising, and that they were going to have the bris on Sunday, would I be available?

I told them what I always tell people who are concerned about a mid-level bilirubin count. "I think your baby's numbers are fine. He should have his bris on Purim. I can make it that day if you do the bris in Melbourne. It's your call."

They decided - based on the input of their rabbis, to delay the bris to Sunday. Which was today!

I left my house at 5:30am to arrive 8:15 for davening, and for the 9am bris.

I am grateful that it worked out this way, that everyone is happy (with the bris being delayed slightly, etc).  I've had phone calls before when people were "disappointed" if I wasn't available. But they usually take the next mohel's number and move on. I can't recall the last time people were willing to so accommodate their own schedule and inconvenience themselves just so I could be their son's mohel. It was quite atypical and very flattering. Thank you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Gratitude and Your Responsibility As a Parent

Last week I was privileged to serve as the mohel for an Israeli family living in the Aventura area. I doubt this information will be enough to identify them. :)

The baby's mother called me for the first time around 3 months ago, after scouring my website. She had a lot of questions. We talked about a lot of things, mostly sterility, track record, healing time, what happens with the baby afterwards.

To make a long story just a little shorter than it could be, they hired me. The bris went beautifully. And all is good. I am always grateful for the trust parents put in my mohel-skills, and I thank God that this is the run-of-the-mill experience we share together.

When I called around a week after the bris to see how baby is, she told me that a friend of hers just used a certain mohel - who caters to a large segment of the Israeli population in Hollywood, Aventura, etc - and the child had bleeding problems and needed to go the hospital, where he was placed on antibiotics for an infection, and kept there for 3 days.

The woman I serviced was shocked and dismayed, and I am horrified as well. Because, except in the rare case of previously undetected hemophilia, THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

My "client" told me her friends ridiculed her for hiring me (they don't know me), and for not going with the go-to guy. The difference, she told me, is that she researched this, made many phone calls, interviewed mohels, and determined, through what she found, who was best for her family and situation. And was so pleased with our encounters that she said, "When we have our next son, I'm calling you first!"

This particular mohel in question has a track record of sending kids to the hospital. I have spoken to several doctors who have treated his patients. He might be a nice man when dealing with people. But he badmouths every mohel in South Florida, tells parents he is the only one who gives a "kosher brit," while he doesn't wear gloves or use safety techniques to protect the baby from harm. All of which, of course, is disgraceful behavior.

so here it comes; YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT

Do your Research
Know What Questions to Ask
Know What Answers You are Looking For
And remember, we are dealing with YOUR BABY and NOT the MOHEL'S EGO

If your mohel has an excellent track record, and babies never go to the hospital because of his work, Baruch Hashem, great.You still owe it to him to do your research.

I thank God EVERY DAY that no baby that I have circumcised has ever needed medical intervention as a direct result of the bris I have done. I bless every mohel and parent to have a similar track record.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Photo That Went Viral

Yesterday's bris was for a baby who was born on the smaller side - around 4 lbs 10 oz - so his bris was delayed until he got a little bigger and stronger.

Immediately after the bris, his mother pulled out a shirt her friend had given her. It was super cute - and quite culturally in tune.

As of this writing it has been shared dozens of times, and seen by over 15,000 people, according to Facebook's stats. 

What do you think?


OK. This is the best shirt ever.
Posted by Rabbi Avi Billet, Mohel on Tuesday, March 15, 2016