General Laws and FAQs about Circumcision

Rabbi Gadi Levy, Mohel

Does Rabbi Levy perform Medical Circumcisions (Bris Milah) in the general Colorado area?
Rabbi Levy has been the mohel for many Bris /Circumcisions throughout the state of Colorado. A large percentage of his work as a rabbi mohel is in the state of Colorado, outside of Denver. Many of Denver’s leading Rabbis, pediatricians and midwives, recommend him as a certified mohel for Bris circumcisions.

What is a Mohel?
A Mohel is the Jewish name for one who performs a Circumcision/Brit. The word Mohel translates to mean “one who removes the foreskin”. Since the circumcision procedure is to remove the foreskin this is the name given to the Jewish surgeon of circumcision. A Mohel has trained extensively to perform circumcision, and is well versed both Jewish scripture as well as all medical aspects of urology  and first aid.

Do Christians have their baby boys circumcised?
The simple answer to whether Christians have their baby boys circumcised is an absolute yes. Although circumcision is not a requirement of the faith, there are a number of other reasons Christian parents choose circumcision for their baby boys. Amongst others many parents choose to circumcise for Health, Hygiene and spiritual reasons.
 
What are some of the Health benefits of having my baby circumcised?
Although there is a lot of negative press about the health benefits of circumcision, the American Pediatric Association have been very clear that circumcision carries a significant amount of medical benefits. The risk of a child contracting a urinary tract infection; phimosis; penile cancer; as well as HIV and STD’s are reduced significantly by having the circumcision procedure. During it’s first year a baby is highly likely to get urinary tract infection. Getting circumcised during infancy lowers the risk of a baby contracting a UTI by up to 10 times vs after infancy.
 
Are their Hygiene benefits through circumcision?
Although issues of hygiene usually do not present any medical dangers however the inconvenience is significant. Boys who are not circumcised between the ages of four and ten find the challenge of urinating with foreskin extremely challenging. During this age boys are generally not that aware of the need for Hygiene and therefore are often challenged by the complications and inconvenianeces of having to retract the foreskin before or after urinating. Most circumcisions that are done after infancy are performed between the ages of four and eight, mostly because of hygiene issues. All children who have the circumcision procedure performed on them would have preferred it had been done on them during infancy. Although infant circumcision can be performed at home in as short as two to three minutes, children would need to undergo a full blown operation under general anesthetic in an operating room.
 
Do Christians have their baby boys circumcised for spiritual reasons?
The main requirement of the New Testament of a covenant with G-d is an acceptance and belief in the redeeming grace of Christ. Both Judaism and Christianity share the belief that Christians do not need the “mark of circumcision” in order to be bound to G-d. Despite this many Christians still see a great significance to still have their children Circumcised. From the dozens of Christians that I have helped by circumcising their baby boy, it seems to me that many Christians still wish to be attached to the spirit of the Circumcision covenant. Many Christians are not merely satisfied by just Baptism, and embracing the belief, they wish to also connect with the beauty that the mark of circumcision represents.
 
Do you have a prayer that we Christian parents could say at our sons Circumcision?
Before performing a circumcision, I like to encourage parents to take a moment to reflect over the beautiful moment that they are experiencing. I offer the parents to say a prayer on behalf of their family, and their young beautiful child. The birth of a child can be dramatic and stressful that parents do not necessarily find that opportunity to stop and express their gratitude for the wonderful gifts they have received. During a babies first month his should completes it’s manifestation of the body. The time of circumcision is an ideal for the parents to pray as a family for the success of their young child. I usually bring with me a beautiful short prayer which I offer parents to say just prior to the circumcision.  

Do you work work within a sterile environment?
One of the great advantages of using a Jewish mohel, is that the baby is circumcised in the comfort warmth and quiet of his own home. Therefore most Mohels attempt to create as sterile environment as possible while not losing the home advantage.
Almost all mohels have their tools sterilized through various techniques.  Rabbi Levy always has his tools sterilized through an autocalve (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoclave) and works within a controlled relatively sterile environment. Due to the technical challenges in working with such a small limb, Rabbi Levy prefers to not wear surgical gloves, his hands however are frequently washed prior to during and after the Bris ceremony.

 Who must do the Jewish Bris circumcision?
The Torah (Jewish Bible) places the primary obligation of performing the traditional Jewish Bris circumcision on the father. However, if he himself is not a qualified mohel, he then may delegate a qualified mohel to be his agent to perform the Bris circumcision for him. Once the father has delegated the mohel to do the Bris circumcision, the mohel is considered to be working completely on behalf of the father.

On Which day will the Mohel perform the Bris circumcision?
If the baby was born in good health then the proper day is the eighth day. Therefore, if a baby was born on Sunday at 1:00pm , the mohel should perform the  Bris circumcision on the following Sunday at anytime between sunrise and sunset. Babies born through a cesarean delivery are not circumcised on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath). If the baby is unwell, then the mohel should postpone the  Bris circumcision for one week after the baby is declared by his physician to be in good health. When there is a doubt, the mohel would usually air on the side of caution.

Who was the first Mohel?
The sacred practice of traditional Bris Milah was first performed by the Jewish Patriarch Abraham, who was his own mohel, and the tradition has continued in every generation of Jewish people.

Who is not considered a traditional Mohel?
Today, there are many Jewish children circumcised by a non Jewish doctor in the hospital within two days after birth. However, Jewish tradition teaches us that the Bris circumcision should be performed on the eighth day and only by a qualified mohel, who is Shabbat observant.

Is there a time when a Jewish Bris Circumcision is not counted?
In a case when the circumcision is performed prior to the eighth day, or in the evening, or by a non Shabbat observant person, the circumcision is not counted as a Bris Milah (circumcision) and a hatafa (drawing of a dash of blood, see below)  should be done by a mohel .

When will the Mohel postpone the Bris circumcision?
In case of a significant issue regarding the health of the newborn baby, the Bris circumcision is postponed until a week after the child has completely recovered. This decision is determined by the physician in consultation with the Mohel. If the baby is jaundice (which may be noticed by a yellowish color in the face and upper body) then sometimes the circumcision is postponed just a day or two. Where issues of health arise, the parents should consult with the doctor pediatrician.

Where Will The Mohel Perform The Circumcision?
A Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) may be done in any suitable location. Usually people choose to have the mohel perform the circumcision in their home, synagogue, or in a catering establishment.

How much does a mohel charge? How much does it cost to have a circumcision?
The honorarium a mohel receives for performing a Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) varies from mohel to mohel. Generally, an experienced mohel receives somewhere between $500 to $800 for the entire Bris circumcision ceremony.  A mohel will usually take into account travel time when he travels a great distance. Rabbi Gadi Levy has never refused to perform a Bris/Circumcision for a Jewish child due to a parents inability to afford. Rabbi Levy has helped parents with a low income, make financial arrangements to help make a dignified Bris circumcision. If you would like to sponsor the cost of a circumcision please let Rabbi Levy know.

Is Rabbi Levy an experienced Mohel?
Rabbi Gadi Levy is a notably experienced certified mohel who has been performing Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) in Israel and Colorado for a number of years. Over the past ten years, Rabbi Levy has performed hundreds of circumcisions. Rabbi Levy has traveled to Wyoming Salt Lake City, Steam Boat Springs, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Portland, Seattle to perform circumcisions on baby boys. Rabbi Levy has also performed numerous circumcisions in Canada and Israel as well.

Can a Mohel do adult Bris circumcision?
There are experienced mohels who do perform adult circumcision.
Aside from performing traditional Bris circumcisions on newborn children, Rabbi Levy has assisted numerous adults receive their circumcision. Unless the adult is Jewish Rabbi Levy will usually refer an adult to a friend a urologist to arrange for a circumcision.
For more information on an adult Bris, please contact Rabbi Levy.

Which surgical methods do mohels use?
Although there are various methods available for performing a regular circumcision, in Judaism one may only perform a Bris circumcision with a blade and shield.  Rabbi Gadi Levy is a Mohel who employs the traditional method to perform the circumcision procedure, using a shield which may also be called a guard. During his training in Israel, the Chief Rabbi of Israel asked Rabbi Levy to remain loyal to this traditional Jewish method.This method is arguably the fastest way to perform the Bris circumcision procedure, as well as the most gentle for the child.
In unique instances due to the various physical characteristics, the mohel may modify his method a little in order to perform the Bris circumcision.

Does a mohel perform a circumcision (Bris Milah) on a convert?
One of the main steps of undergoing a Jewish conversion is having a circumcision.  This circumcision needs to be done by a mohel.  If the conversion is being done on an older convert, then it is necessary to have a mohel who is trained and experienced with circumcision on older children and adults.  Rabbi Levy is a mohel with such experience.

When should I contact the mohel?
As soon as possible! It is ideal to contact a certified Mohel about two or three months before the delivery date. Parents prefer to contact the mohel well before the baby is born in order to get to know the mohel personally and to become familiar with the circumcision process. Rabbi Levy invites you to ask him any questions you may have about the upcoming baby circumcision.  If you did not contact the mohel prior to birth,  call or text him immediately.

Which supplies do I need to have for the mohel?
Being that the supplies list varies from mohel to mohel, it is important to ask your mohel which supplies he wants you to have available for him.  If you are having Rabbi Levy do your sons’ circumcision, please ensure you have baby wipes a diaper and 3 baby blankets (a little infant Tylenol if you choose). Other than than the above list parents don’t need to have any other supplies available. Rabbi Levy has strived to enable the Bris circumcision process to be as simple and smooth as possible for the parents.

We are not Jewish, will Rabbi Levy be able to circumcise our son?
Although a mohel mainly performs the Brit milah ceremony for Jewish babies Rabbi Levy will gladly perform the circumcision for your baby boy.  Rabbi Levy has performed the circumcision on many baby boys of Christian parents.

Will circumcision effect my son’s sexual function? his sexual sensitivity or his sexual satisfaction?
A recent study was done with over 40,000 men including 19542 uncircumcised and 20931 circumcised to find out to what degree circumcision effects the sexual functionality and sensitivity of a person. The outcome of the study suggested that medical male circumcision has no adverse affect on sexual function, sensitivy, sensation, or satisfaction. Read about the study here…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23937309

Although a mohel mainly performs the Brit milah ceremony for Jewish babies Rabbi Levy will gladly perform the circumcision for your baby boy.  Rabbi Levy has performed the circumcision on many baby boys of Christian parents.

Who is a qualified mohel?
A mohel is an expert in the surgical aspects of Bris circumcision, and who has significant knowledgeable in the laws and customs pertaining to a traditional Bris circumcision and ceremony.  Mohels have had unique significant training in the surgical field of urology as well as in advanced first aid. A mohel has to be trained and certified by a Master Teacher of Bris Circumcision, and needs to be tested on the Halachic Laws pertaining to the Bris circumcision.

Where do I go to get a circumcision for my baby?
If you choose to have Rabbi Levy to circumcise your baby boy, he will come to your home to do the circumcision. By having your baby’s circumcision done at home, you not only are able to be calm and present for him, but you also enable him a warm and loving environment. Your home is the most comfortable place for your baby to be fed, be changed, and go to sleep after such a procedure. Post birth mom’s prefer to be at home, rather than travel to a clinic or hospital for their sons’ procedure.

We are Christian and would you be able to do our sons’ circumcision?
Although circumcision for a baby boy is not required according to the  Christian faith, many parents prefer to have their sons circumcision done by a rabbi mohel. I do perform circumcisions for baby boys who are born to Christian families. It would be best if you could call or text me in advance so we can schedule your sons circumcision.

When does the mohel draw only a drop of blood?
In cases when the person undergoing a Jewish bris circumcision has already been circumcised, then it is only necessary to release a drop of blood.  This is often the case when a convert has already been circumcised. This procedure is called “Hatafa dam brit”.

Will a mohel perform circumcision on a Non-Jewish child adopted by Jewish parents?
If it is the intention of the parents to raise the child as a Jew, then a mohel could perform such circumcision.  As this is a complex issue, it is important to contact the mohel and discuss such a circumcision with him.

Can the mohel perform the circumcision (Bris Milah) in a hospital?
Generally the circumcision ceremony is a family event performed in a home, catering establishment, or synagogue.  There are some medical conditions which could require the circumcision to be performed in the hospital. Rabbi Levy has participated with Dr Duncan Wilkox in performing a Circumcision in the Operating Room of Childrens University, in Denver, In each case it would be best for the family to clarify the issue with their local hospital.

Is Rabbi Levy a mohel who is able to perform circumcisions (Bris Milah) outside Colorado such as Wyoming; Utah; New Mexico or Nebraska?
Rabbi Levy has been the mohel for many Bris circumcisions outside the state of Colorado. He is a mohel with numerous  families that have been completely satisfied with his services as a mohel. He also is a mohel for Bris procedures in the entire Mid West region. In addition, he has experience as a mohel in Toronto, Canada.

Will a mohel perform the Bris circumcision if our family is not religious?
Rabbi Gadi Levy believes that each and every Jewish child is entitled to a proper traditional Bris circumcision by a qualified Jewish mohel regardless of the family’s level of religious observance. One of Rabbi Levy’s favorite quotes is “a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.”

How Do I Locate A Mohel In My Area?
There are many people who live in locations where they cannot find a qualified mohel to perform the traditional Jewish Bris circumcision on their newborn baby boy. In some cases there is no qualified mohel to perform circumcision where they live. In other cases there may be a qualified mohel for circumcision in their area, but the family of the newborn baby boy does not know of the mohel and/or does not know how to contact the mohel.
Rabbi Gadi Levy may be able to help you, by giving contact information for a Rabbi or mohel in various communities throughout the country. In many cases Rabbi Levy will be able to guide you to a mohel who can perform the Bris or circumcision.
Rabbi Levy can not and does not assume responsibility or liability for such information. It is up to the family to do the proper research and make sure they are obtaining the services of a qualified experienced mohel.
Rabbi Levy has traveled great distances to be the mohel for Bris circumcision nd may be contacted about traveling out to distant locations to perform a traditional circumcision.

How do I choose a mohel?
Parents should feel comfortable and confident in their sons’ mohel. When calling  the mohel do you find him to be personable, knowledgeable and experienced?
Often Mohel’s will provide testimonials on their websites which should attest to their ability and bedside manners. When choosing a mohel,  look for an experienced professional in both the surgical aspects as well as the religious aspects the traditional Jewish ceremony.
Take the time to read through the mohels’ website and testimonials. See if they have any Google reviews or Yelp reviews.
Most importantly listen to your intuition,  speak to the mohel by phone. Rabbi Levy or for testimonials from people who are familiar with Rabbi Levy’s services as a mohel, please contact Rabbi Levy.

Can I contact the mohel last minute?
Although it is not ideal to call the mohel last minute, Rabbi Levy has been flexible in helping parents to ensure their sons Bris will get done on time.

Can the mohel help us choose a Hebrew name?
A mohel or rabbi can be very helpful in guiding the parents to decide which Hebrew name to give the baby.  Naming the baby is sometimes one of the more difficult decisions confronting the parents. Ones Mohel/Rabbi can often be very helpful in ensuring that everyone is comfortable and pleased with the name. Rabbi Levy is fluent in Hebrew and will gladly explain the deeper meanings behind various Jewish Hebrew names. Please feel free to contact Rabbi Levy about this topic.

What time will the mohel perform the circumcision?
The mohel will want to perform the circumcision on the eighth day (the day of birth is counted as day 1, therefore a baby is , during the daytime, at anytime between sunrise and sunset.  After it is known exactly which day the circumcision will take place, then the parents and the mohel decide on a time that works well for both of them.

Can you explain the recovery process when circumcision is done by a mohel?
It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that the recovery process from a Bris performed by a mohel is gentle and smooth.  After the circumcision the mohel should give the parents instructions about after-care.  It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that most babies resume their normal pre-circumcision routine soon after the circumcision.

Do I need a Rabbi besides the mohel?
Although it is not necessary to have a Rabbi at the Bris, a Rabbi certainly helps guiding the parents to ensure a meaningful ceremony. Rabbi Gadi Levy is a certified Mohel and practicing Rabbi, he is available to give guidance and consultation for parents before during and after the Brit.

Do I have to watch the mohel perform the circumcision procedure?
It is not obligatory to watch the mohel perform the circumcision procedure.  It is the experience of RabbiLevy that some mothers choose not to be present when the mohel performs the circumcision procedure.  This is perfectly acceptable.

Is the third day after a Bris performed by a mohel the most painful?
It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that the third day is not painful at all, and that most babies resume their normal pre-circumcision routine soon after the circumcision.

When will a mohel perform the circumcision (Bris Milah) on a baby delivered through a C-section?
Assuming that the baby is in good health, then the mohel will perform the Bris on the eighth day.  The only exception to this rule is when the C-section occurred on the Sabbath or Jewish holiday.  In such a case, the Bris is postponed to the next weekday.  Therefore a baby born on the Sabbath would have his Bris performed by a mohel on Sunday which is the ninth day.