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To Bris or not to Bris

June 17, 2011

For those that do not know, a Bris is a Jewish ceremony that takes place 8 days after the birth of a baby boy. At the ceremony the baby boy is circumcised.  Now my wife and I disagree about this. Despite some crazy controversy in San Francisco, we are both fine with the baby being circumcised.  Our disagreement is over timing.

My wife’s view: We should follow Jewish tradition and do the circumcision at the Bris 8 days after birth.

My view: Waiting 8 days is a rather arbitrary tradition. When the baby is first born it goes through a crazy and strange journey full of lots of confusion and probably some pain. A quick clip after being born is painful but so much is going on that the baby will be too much in shock from being born to notice. On the other hand, after being born the baby settles in. He sleeps a lot and starts to really enjoy the world. He realizes he has got a great mommy and daddy and everything is wonderful. Then suddenly, out of nowhere a savage stranger slices off part of his manhood. The baby is in pain and no longer thinks the world is a nice place. The baby becomes pessimistic about the world and begins to understand Woody Allen movies.

My wife thinks my theories are wacky and I am sorry to say to my future son that I think she may win this Bris battle. One thing I would not compromise on is that I insisted on having a Mohel who is also a licensed doctor.  Speaking of Mohels, here are some of my random thoughts especially about Mohels who are not licensed doctors:

  • How do you choose the best Mohel? Are there recommendations on Yelp? Will anyone tell you “oh he’s good, you should see my boy’s penis.”                                                                                                                                                                                              
  • How do you decide to become a Mohel? Are you just a deli slicer looking to make some extra cash?
  • Are there Mohel’s who are passionate about their jobs?
  • How do Mohel’s advertise? Do they use facebook and twitter to promote?
  • Will there ever be a tell all book about the life of a Mohel and will it be called “Running with Scissors”?
5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 3:27 am

    Hey Newdaddy
    I came across your blog post quite by accident, but thought I’d respond to your questions and conclude with a comment on your post.
    You choose the “best” mohel either based on word of mouth from friends, or from whichever website you believe the most. Do your research, know what to look for, interview mohels over the phone, and find your guy.
    Most people don’t discuss “how my boy looks” – though some people are pleased and will tell you something like “he did a great job and was a great guy to boot” (or maybe they didn’t care much for his personality.)
    I decided to become a mohel as part of my quest to be a well-rounded Jew who knows how to do Jewish things. There is a lot more to the role than just the circumcision. It is also about walking a family through a celebration, dealing with a somewhat stressful time, and sharing in what is also a very joyous time (as you mentioned) in the arrival of their new baby.
    Are there Mohel’s who are passionate about their jobs? — YES!
    Some mohels are on Many have websites. I blog about bris and being a mohel. Some use print advertising, but it is not very effective.
    There are books about mohels. I believe the one about the NY mohel is called “The Yankee Clipper” 😉
    Avi Billet

  2. August 3, 2011 4:26 pm

    Yes. I saw them after I had responded. I read your date of “june” as “july” by accident.
    Mazal tov! Enjoy your baby and keep up your blogging.


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