Why and how would circumcision be beneficial to my son?
Circumcision is a practice that has existed for over 3,700 years. History indicates that circumcision has been in practice because of the various health benefits involved. The principal advantages are:
1) Religious fulfillment – by having had a circumcision, the boy has fulfilled the Biblical commandment that all males be circumcised. 2) Preventative health care – circumcision aids in the prevention of certain diseases, among them penile cancer. 3) Sociological benefits – boys feel more comfortable among their friends when they are circumcised like them.
Medical INFO frequently asked questions... click here
Which should I choose A Doctor or a Mohel?
Click here for an interesting article that debates this very issue.
Who is a qualified Mohel?
A mohel is an expert in the surgical aspects of circumcision as well as knowledgeable in the laws and customs pertaining to a traditional circumcision and ceremony. A mohel is a person who is certified to be capable and knowledgeable in both the surgical aspects of performing circumcision as well as the traditional aspects of performing a kosher circumcision and the traditional ceremony.
Who is not a traditional Mohel??
Today, there are many Jewish children circumcised by a doctor in the hospital two days after birth. However, our tradition teaches us that the circumcision should be performed on the eighth day and only by a qualified mohel.
How long does the procedure and ceremony last?
The procedure itself is very quick taking less than a minute. The ceremony is completed in approximately 20 minutes. The entire time the baby is surrounded, held and comforted by loved ones. [more here]
I have never been to a bris, what should I expect?
First relax, and enjoy the special time you will be having with your newborn. I will guide you through the process and try and make it as "painless" as possible. Most bris ceremonies take place in either a synagogue, a home, or catering hall. A home bris is very intimate usually including close friends and family. It tends to be less stressful for the new mother as there are no logistics for getting to the bris on time, resting before and/or after or having to worry about forgetting something at home. For details regarding the ceremony click here. For details regarding recuperation from the bris please see the next question and answer.
How long does it take for the baby to recuperate?
The baby should not experience any significant pain once the circumcision is complete. The bandage does cause a small degree of discomfort to some babies and this is alleviated the day following the bris with the removal of the bandage. The area around the circumcision will be swollen and will subside over a period of several weeks. During this time there is no discomfort or bleeding. Babies spring back very quickly and are back to their normal routine either immediately after the bris or within a day after the bris.
Do you use anesthesia on a newborn baby?
There has been a mixed reaction by Poskim regarding its use at a Bris in adition to the medical risk associated.
It is my preference not to use anesthesia on newborns since the entire procedure is so quick that it is possibly counterproductive. In recent years, the use of anesthetics has increased so I have rediscussed the matter with world reknowned neonatologist and they have all agreed to the following. [More here]
In a hospital it is required to give the newborn baby a nerve block (two injections into the base of the penis) because of the length of the procedure that can take anywhere from 10-40 minutes. But regarding a bris, if done with proper technique as used by myself and other traditional mohalim which takes approximately 20-30 seconds to perform the actual incision is so quick and precise that subjecting the baby to the nerve block is more painful than the bris itself. They additionally discounted the use of topical anesthetics as useless for this procedure and advised me that there is no place for anesthesia as part of a regular bris circumcision.
The head of the Anesthesiology Department of a major New York hospital stopped the neonatology unit from using the topical cream before circumcisions. The reason she gave, and I quote, "It is dangerous and inappropriate."
Truthfully, the use of an anesthetic is more for the psychological advantage of the parents to relieve some of their anxiety in relation to the baby's discomfort.
To conclude, I don't apply topical creams or use other means of pharmaceutical anesthetics when I perform brisses, and I generally advise against their use in the circumcision of newborns. However, I leave this decision for the parents in consultation with their pediatrician. If you do decide to use a topical anesthetic, kindly inform me prior to the Brit Milah.
What are the expenses involved in having my son circumcised?
For a newborn to be circumcised, the related expenses included the travel costs and a few other relatively-minor things. For an older boy, however, the expenses are slightly higher because of the anesthesia and the medical preparations. They also include the necessary follow-up visits. The average amount an experienced certified mohel receives for performing a circumcision (Bris Milah) varies from mohel to mohel. It ranges between $600 and $1500 .
Rabbi Nechemia Markovits will not ask for any specific amount to do a circumcision (Bris Milah), leaving it up to the family to decide how much to pay and will not refuse to do a Bris Milah because of a person's inability to pay. Rabbi Markovits will be honored to perform the (Bris Milah) at minimal or no charge. “The most important thing is that your son should be circumcised; payment is secondary.”
Will I receive documentation certifying the Bris?
Following the Bris you will receive a "Bris Certificate" that is universally recognized. It contains the Baby's name in both Hebrew and transliterated into English, baby's English name, Hebrew and English birthdays, date of the Bris, parents Hebrew names, and a place for the participants to sign. This Certificate will serve as a reference for future life cycle events.