Monday, March 13, 2017

Perceptions, Perceptions

I should probably learn how to do circumcisions on adults (Rephrase: I know how to do circumcisions on adults. I should learn how to administer local anesthetics and how to suture). What is it about adult men who want to get circumcised, and rather than going the medical route, they seek out a mohel? I've gotten 3 requests this month alone.

Which brings me to the irony of other conversations I've had in the last few weeks. I blogged about one here. And I received another email (from someone out of state who had been in touch with me - no local mohel options available in that town): "we are going to go with a local pediatrician to perform the brit."

And then there was the doctor from a northeastern state who called me today asking if I could advise him on where to train to hone his circumcision skills. Seems he recently watched a bris performed by a certain mohel (he did not identify the mohel) and felt, as a meticulous physician, he could do a better job. And yet, he is turning to mohels to seek that training.

Then there is this article from the Atlantic (goes back to 2015) entitled "Why Non-Jews Are Choosing Jewish Circumcision Ceremonies."

Bottom line: Who is better - a mohel or a physician? A silly question gets a silly answer.

Each mohel - whether medical doctor or simply mohel-specialist - must be judged as a practitioner on his own merit. Either he is good at what he does, or he is not as good as the other guy. Either he works well under pressure or he does not. Either he delivers a beautiful cosmetic result or he does not. Either he is the right person for your family or he is not. Your preference for one type over the other boils down to your perception, but should really boil down to your research.

Make no mistake. Mohels have been doing this for a very long time - much longer than it became "in vogue" for circumcision to be widespread and for doctors to get in to the "circ-service" industry.

Feel VERY comfortable trusting a specialist. Feel free to call me to have a conversation. The doctor I spoke with today was grateful, and I trust you'll find our conversation pleasant and informative as well.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Metzitzah in the News - Again

Is it a witch hunt? More like "which" as in, "which mohel is responsible for being irresponsible?"

http://nypost.com/2017/03/08/new-case-of-neonatal-herpes-caused-by-jewish-circumcision/

Seriously, this is beyond ridiculous. I have it on high authority that metzitzah is not even required today (Rabbi Herschel Schachter and his reporting on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik), let alone the permissibility of doing it without a barrier (Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler, who has told me it is forbidden to do metzitzah with direct oral contact - not that I was ever doing it that way anyway).

For those of us who are not abandoning the practice of Bris Milah, there is a very simple way to avoid these kinds of stories - completely sterile technique. No exceptions.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Doing Research Properly

I got an email today from someone with whom I had been in contact for a little while about possibly doing her soon-to-be-born son's bris.

She apologized profusely, saying "my husband wants to try a doctor this time." This was followed by "Hope no hard feelings."

First of all - there are NEVER hard feelings when people are doing research and being open. You must do what you feel is best for your son and your family. And I support that.

However, you must also do RESEARCH and know what you are getting into, no matter who you hire for your son's bris.

This isn't a question of Dr. v. Mohel. A mohel, after all, is a specialist in this field. So being a Doctor doesn't make anyone better at circumcisions than a mohel.

What DOES matter, is how the circumcision is performed.

What METHOD is used

Whether the precaution of a marker is utilized

How much foreskin (see #5 there) and membrane is removed

And, of course, the follow up.

There are MANY fine mohels. There are MANY fine doctor-mohels. The questions every person must ask before hiring either one is, "Have I done my research? Do I know what I want for my son? Have I found the right mohel-specialist for the experience I want my son to have, and the experience I want to have?"

When the answer to all of these questions is YES, then proceed accordingly. Until that time, there is work to be done as a parent. Best of luck!!