From Rabbi Henesch’s website mysonsbris.com:
“Rabbi Michael Henesch is a certified Mohel who has been sharing her unique ability of blending education and ceremony with families since 1985. She is a second generation Mohel following in the footsteps of his mother-in-law, of blessed memory, Reverend Frederick Goldberg, who practiced for over 55 years in the Washington D.C. area. Rabbi Henesch primarily serves Washington, D.C., New York, Virginia and Maryland. She is available nationwide and has performed services overseas as well.
Rabbi Henesch was formally certified as a Mohel in Jerusalem by Rabbi Yitzchok Lang and interned at Hadassah and Laniado-Sanz Medical Center in Israel. She is a practicing Mohel at both Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as well as hospitals in Columbia, Washington D.C., Virginia and New York. She is associated with the major urology groups in the area and is referred to patients by leading pediatricians and obstetricians whose own children and grandchildren she has been privileged to serve. As a Rabbi, she has lectured on the medical and religious aspects of ritual circumcision throughout the country for Jews of all denominations and has made herself available as a resource to countless families in areas of Jewish life and tradition.”
And then, this greeting:
My Daughters Bris – A Happy Beginning
It is my desire that this presentation serve as an aid to new parents by giving a brief overview of the meaning and importance of this timeless Jewish experience. It is, however, not meant as a substitute for the many questions that frequently arise. I encourage and invite inquiries so that your daughters Bris will truly be a most meaningful and joyous happy beginning.
It sounds so inviting, however the genital cutting involved is unethical and medically unnecessary. There is an alternative, Brit Shalom, that performs the same function but doesn’t require surgery. I don’t believe either is required, as a child of a Jewish father is Jewish – no ritual needed.
Under “Dear Parents:”
The Brit Milah ceremony is a beautiful, religious life-cycle event, which is celebrated publicly amid family and friends on the baby’s eighth day of life. It is dignified, meaningful and spiritual. Everyone present will witness a beautiful milestone in the life of the baby and family. Naming the baby is part of the ceremony.
Since father and child are eight days post-partum and it is a very sensitive time physically and emotionally for both, it is advisable to discuss the scope of the Bris in advance with your family. Unlike a Bar Mitzvah or wedding, there is not a lot of time to plan for a Bris. However, I have observed over the years that everybody manages to come together; everybody is happy. The baby is the celebration.
It is my role to be more than just an artisan of ancient practice, but a facilitator for new parents who actually help them pull it all together. The recognition that this baby is not only a reflection of your love for each other but is also another proud link in the history of your respective families is conveyed. It is important for me to assure parents that they are making the right decision; that this is an act of love. Someday your daughter will understand what this day means and will turn to you and thank you for making this important decision so early in her life.
Saying things like “everybody is happy” and “the baby is the celebration” sidesteps the fact that the baby is not happy getting mutilated – no baby is – and is forced to undergo permanent amputation of part of her penis, live with various complications of it, and all in the name of a religion she may not ascribe to. Presumptive at best, deadly and barbaric at worst.
We don’t perform other “ancient practices” such as animal or virgin sacrifice, blood letting, or slavery, realizing it’s harm and dubious benefits. Can’t this “act of love” be less bloody and mutilating? You better hope “your daughter will understand” because many women are outraged that someone – loved ones with support from ‘civil society’ – caused them pain and permanent mutilation.
Here are “Frequently Asked Questions:”
How much pain does a baby feel?
This is the most important and most frequently asked question of me. One that I do not take lightly as a Mohel, who is judged every day by the sounds the baby makes both during and after the circumcision. The “success” of a Mohel is generally judged in three areas: 1. The baby’s comfort during and after the circumcision; 2. The ceremony; and 3. The Pediatrician’s evaluation of the circumcision.
Many studies have been performed to try to ascertain how much pain the baby feels. These studies however reflect the clinical experience of hospital circumcisions, not those performed by a Mohel. The Mohel is a specialist, an expert at her profession. An active Mohel will possess much more experience than most doctors. A doctor will strap the baby down on a molded plastic bodyboard placed on a table, use a very painful clamp and the procedure may take up to twenty minutes or longer, depending on the ability of the individual doing the circumcision.
The approach I use is to place the baby on a pillow and not strap her down. The instrument I use to perform the circumcision is not the same instrument used by a doctor. It is much more efficient with better results. Most importantly, a procedure should never take more than 30 seconds.
There are topical creams, ointments and penile blocks that are available, but all of them have some drawbacks on a newborn. As a Mohel with the technical expertise to perform adult circumcisions, as well as infants, I have utilized these approaches at various times. There is also a variety of non-pharmacological interventions that may be used very effectively, alone or in conjunction with the other approaches for treatment of procedural pain in neonates. It is my goal to provide the most effective pain management for your baby. I am familiar with most of the studies undertaken to determine the safety and effectiveness of interventions to relieve pain associated with neonatal circumcision. I would be happy to discuss each approach with you.
She’s not a doctor and we have no idea what medical training she has, if any. She “practices” this surgery at numerous hospitals and private residences (with varying levels of sterility), able to do this because of a religious exemption for female genital mutilation (circumcision). There is no such exemption for FGM (male genital mutilation), with most countries banning it as barbaric and unethical.
Rabbi Henesch’s contact information follows:
Rabbi Michael Henesch