1. Which should I choose A Doctor or a Mohel?
2. 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.
3. My spouse isn't Jewish, how will this affect the ceremony?
I welcome both families to participate in the ceremony. This is a milestone of their grandchild (nephew, etc.) and can join in whatever capacity the parents wish. It is a rare occasion that I conduct a bris without any non-Jewish attendees and I always try and keep everyone informed and involved. In addition, I am always available to discuss any specific concerns that you might have.
4. I have never been to a bris, what should I expect?
[Click here to view a short video of a bris ceremony.]
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.
5. 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.
6. Do you use anesthesia?
I do not use anesthesia since the entire procedure is so quick that it is possibly counterproductive. I had the opportunity to discuss the matter with Dr. Eric S. Shinwell a world reknowned neonatologist while he was doing research at Stanford University and had the following dialogue. [In summary] I asked him if I were to start using anesthesia as part of my bris milah circumcision which would be the perefered method. He replied that in a hospital it is required to give the baby a nerve block (two injections into the base of the penis)because of the length of the procedure. But regarding a bris the actual incision is so quick and precise that subjecting the baby to the nerve block possibly is more painful than the bris itself. He 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.
[Note: Dr. Shinwell used a mohel for his son's circumcision even though he is well versed in performing a medical circumcision.]