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Truth is stranger…

Thursday, 3 January 2008

I was once asked (hypothetically, of course) if I would perform a wedding ceremony for two non-Jewish friends. Though I cannot officiate at a wedding between a Jew and a non-Jew, the person wondered if there would be any conflict if neither party was Jewish.

An interesting question, I suppose. I replied that the only reason that the state of California has empowered me to officiate at weddings is because I am a leader in the Jewish community and therefore I didn’t feel as though I would have any real standing to join two non-Jews together in marriage.

[Not to mention the fact that as a rabbi I would be unable to perform a ceremony that was not overtly religious.]

In any event, take a look at this very interesting article about mohels performing circumcisions on non-Jewish babies. Certainly it has been the practise of the British Royal Family to engage a mohel for the purposes of circumcising its sons for many generations. But let us not forget that circumcision in-and-of-itself is a medical proceedure. It is the ritual of brit milah that carries spiritual significance. Since the mohel (or mohelet, if the practitioner is a woman) has been trained specifically for the purposes of carrying on a religious tradition, it is just strange to me that they would consider performing the circ without the meaning.

And apparently I’m not the only one who is perplexed by this.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 7:09 am

    Frume Sarah,

    I am new to this blogging but where is the article you refer to?

    Karen

  2. Yael permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 7:22 am

    Thanks for commenting on thekvetchingrunner! So amusing to see a namesake rabbi out there. Did you get smicha from HUC?
    And shabbat shalom =).

  3. Frume Sarah permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 7:35 am

    Just pass your mouse over the word ‘article’ for the first one or ‘this’ for the second one that is the final word of the entry. Let me know if it doesn’t work and I’ll check the link.

    Thanks for asking the question. That’s how to learn all this stuff!!

  4. Frume Sarah permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 7:36 am

    Yael,

    I sure did. Class of ’99!!

    Keep reading…and I’ll do the same.

    Gut shabbos 😉

  5. Karen permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 9:50 am

    Thank you Frume Sarah it worked. I do have to share with you something. Tonight is the Hebrew naming ceremony for myself and my son (he is 13). I just received my weekly e-mail from an organization in Toronto run by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, Kolel, and the parshat is about the naming of G-d. How profound!!!! Just had to share. Good Shabbos!

  6. Frume Sarah permalink
    Friday, 4 January 2008 10:51 am

    Mazal tov to you and your son. What names have you chosen?? I am always so fascinated about the names we choose for ourselves and for our children!!

    May this Shabbat be particularly sweet for you!!

  7. Karen permalink
    Saturday, 5 January 2008 4:54 pm

    My son is Eiton David and I am Tikvah Kelila. It was wonderful. We went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and talked about Judaism the hole way up. Even with my 20 yo daughter who is only recently starting to show any interest. Karen

  8. Saturday, 5 January 2008 6:15 pm

    Many non-Jews choose Mohelim because it’s what the do… and they do a lot of them. Doctors in the hospital, however, have FAR less experience with circumcision. And when you’re handing the family jewels over… you should go with the best!

  9. Frume Sarah permalink
    Saturday, 5 January 2008 8:42 pm

    Karen — what lovely names! May they bring honour to our people.

    Nosher — I know why people would want a specialist. Just don’t know why the specialist would feel OK doing the circ without the spiritual/ritual/historical context.

  10. Wendy permalink
    Sunday, 6 January 2008 12:04 pm

    “Mohel to the Stars” or “Mohel to royalty”; it would certainly
    look impressive on a Resume’ or make for a good reference!
    Other than that, I guess it depends on how much they need
    the $.

  11. Frume Sarah permalink
    Sunday, 6 January 2008 1:48 pm

    Wendy you are late to the party!! There is a local mohel here (won’t name names!) who bills himself as exactly that — Mohel to the Stars.

    And I agree completely — money is sadly the name of the game.

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