What you have questions?? It's OK, here are some answers!!
Dr. Nash, What is your medical background/training?
I have been a board certified pediatrician practicing in the San Francisco East Bay area for 16 years. I attended Harvard University for my undergraduate education, then moved west and completed my medical school training at University of California, Davis. I did my pediatric internship at UCSF and the remainder of my residency at Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Oakland. I am currently a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics, and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society.
What is your training/certification as a mohel?
I completed my training and certification as a Mohel in April 2005 at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. I am a member of the National Organization of American Mohelim/ot. I am also a member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA.
How many circumcisions have you done and what technique do you use?
Prior to completing my training as a mohel, I had performed approximately 2000 circumcisions in my medical practice. Since then, I’ve done about 500 more. I usually use the gomco clamp during circumcisions but occasionally use the plastibell when indicated. I always use lidocaine anesthesia which I find works exceptionally well.
What is your fee for performing a bris?
My fee is $600, usually payable by check at the time of the service. I can provide you with a superbill that can be submitted to your insurance company. I strongly suggest speaking with your insurance company BEFORE the bris, taking notes about whom you spoke with and what they said regarding any possible reimbursement. Because working as a mohel is outside the scope of my work as a pediatrician, I can't bill the insurance company for you unless your child is a patient in my practice.
Can you serve as the “officiant” as well as the circumciser?
During most of my brises, I serve both as the circumciser as well as the officiant. I have done many brises with a rabbi in attendance as well and am happy to step aside for those more experienced and educated than myself.
Have you worked with interfaith couples before? Many of our friends and family have never been to a bris and are apprehensive about attending such a thing!
I like to tailor the ceremony to fit the needs of the family. At least half of the britot I perform are for mixed faith and mixed culture families. I really make it a point to be as inclusive as possible, explaining to all in attendance the background and meaning of the life event we are sharing. I also try to find a role for as many family and friends as the parents would like me to include. Creativity is the only limit here.
To make a bris “kosher” only a few things need to be satisfied. Firstly there needs to be a baby boy, 8 days old (or more in some situations). The intent of the parents is to raise the child with a Jewish education/background. The parents must both be on board with having the bris at home. It can be stressful enough having all of those friends and family over for a gathering so soon after having a baby. If one parent is equivocal about having the bris, then tensions often mount. The mohel needs to be Jewish (It’s a good thing, I am!!) The sendak (the person who has the honor of holding the baby during the actual cutting is traditionally Jewish too. Aside from that almost anything goes in regards to who does or says what. People can give readings from books, poems, or things they’ve written. People can sing, dance, etc.
What kind of care do we need to provide after the bris?
I usually apply a Vaseline coated gauze to the wound before I leave. This may stay on for a day or fall off with the first diaper change. If it stays on, then gently unravel it and remove it 24 hours after the bris. It won’t stick since it’s coated in Vaseline. With every diaper change apply a liberal amount of Vaseline to the penis and the diaper area in front. (I don’t recommend Neosporin or other antibiotics) Each time you check the wound, it’s important to make sure that you can see the entire head of the penis and that the remaining skin on the shaft doesn’t creep back up and cover the head. If it does, put an index finger on either side of the base of the penis and push down. This should expose the head. Apply some Vaseline to the the penis and diaper and put on the diaper. It’s also very common for there to be a yellow coating around the wound that appears after a few days. This is similar to how your knee looks after you skin it. Sometimes I get calls because people are concerned it looks infected. This is part of the normal healing process and will resolve after a few days.
How long does it take for the circumcision to heal?
The baby may fuss the first few times he pees after the procedure. Diaper changes might make him fuss for the first day or two. When he’s not peeing or having his diaper changed, he should feel fine. After the 2nd day, even the diaper change won’t bother him too much. Within a week, the wound should be healed.
What if we have questions after the service is over?
You call me silly!!! I’ll leave you my card with my cell phone number. I expect a call or two.