Monday, July 25, 2011

BERIT MILA: Choosing the right Mohel

Today is the 23 of Tamuz, 5771

In the following lines, I present some guidelines to help the parents realize what is important to check at the time they are choosing the Mohel ('circumcision surgeon').

The two basic elements to bear in mind when choosing a Mohel are: A. The expertise of the Mohel. B. 

The personality and religious character of the Mohel ("adam tob vetzadiq")

The Mohel should be experienced and trained in the performance of the Berit Mila. The Mohel is required to study Jewish law, and be sensitive to the traditions of the community where he performs the Berit Milah.

He should also be trained in the medical aspects of circumcisions.

1. Together with the family doctor, he has to evaluate the infant's health to decide if it is safe to perform the Berit Mila.

2. He needs to know the basic of sterilization and hygiene required at the time of the circumcision. (I will have B'H a special section on Metziza)

3. He needs to be an expert not only in removing the foreskin but also the tissue around it (peri'a). This procedure is not done with instruments but by hand.

4. He needs to know how to disinfect and cover the wound, so it heals fast and well.

5. The Mohel is expected to provide post-procedural care, which is often done in conjunction with the family doctor.
6. The Mohel is supposed to have basic training in first aid, in case, God forbid, anything goes wrong.

Most Mohalim today are affiliated with local hospitals and/or certified by Berit Mila Boards, where they have got the basic training in circumcision performance, surgery and first aid. Many Mohalim will post this information in their web sites or cards.