Wikipedia photo of mohel performing a circumcision by Chesdovi

Ask a Jew: What is the term used for a Jew who circumcises newborns?

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By Neal Schindler

Ask a Jew: What is the term used for a Jew who circumcises newborns?

You’re referring to a mohel, who circumcises newborn Jewish boys (if their caregivers want that).

MyJewishLearning.com states “the first mohel (usually pronounced so it rhymes with ‘boil’) was a 99-year-old ex-shepherd with no medical training whatsoever.” Ha ha — they’re talking about Abraham.

It’s my understanding that Spokane has had at least one doctor in the last few decades who has served the community as a mohel, and Montana’s Glacier Jewish Community seems to have  one too.

If you’re curious about why so many 21st-century Jews choose circumcision, check out a previous “Ask a Jew” column on the subject.

About Neal Schindler

A native of Detroit, Neal Schindler has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. He has held staff positions at Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times and was a freelance writer for Jew-ish.com from 2007 to 2011. Schindler was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and is now a member of Spokane's Reform congregation, Emanu-El. He is the director of Spokane Area Jewish Family Services. His interests include movies, Scrabble, and indie rock. He lives with his wife, son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.

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