Menu JTA Search

America’s Top Mohels

top-mohel-2

 Yehuda Lebovics: “I don’t do metzitzah b’peh. Period. The health risks are pretty clear.”Courtesy Yehuda Lebovics)

Yehuda Lebovics: “I don’t do metzitzah b’peh. Period. The health risks are pretty clear.” (Courtesy Yehuda Lebovics)

Yehuda Lebovics
Foreskin count: My website says 15,000, but I’m probably pushing 20,000 by now. I still have a hard copy of everybody that I keep in a little black book.

Market area: L.A. I’ve done a lot of Hollywood stars, some Academy-Award winners. I can’t name names.

Most memorable bris: It was in L.A., and they had a big ceremony with lots of speeches and too much else going on. I guess I didn’t give them back the foreskin. Later, the mother calls me indignant, angry: “Where’s the foreskin!” I’m thinking, “What do you want to do with it already?” This lady went off. Maybe she was hormonal — I don’t know what. I thought maybe there was going to be a lawsuit. This woman was really meshuggah. You want a live baby, not the dead skin. I go home, open my bag of used instruments, and there in the envelope with the disposable instruments is the foreskin. They had so many speeches I must have just shoved it there. The father arranged to meet me. When I gave it to him, I said, “You can run a DNA test, this is it.”

Time: 20 seconds.

Claim to fame: I’ve done many, many fathers who have come back for their kids. When mothers are nervous and I’ve done their husbands, I tell them: “Well, you see everything came out OK.”

Device of choice: Mogen Shield. There’s a little bit of blood to make it kosher, but not enough to cause a problem. I don’t do metzitzah b’peh. Period. The health risks are pretty clear.

First bris: I practiced for a month at a hospital in Hartford, Conn., with a doctor who allowed me to help him. In those days you could get away with that. My first solo ceremony was at a private home in Hartford in the summer of ‘74. As we say in the business, everything came off OK. Thank God.

Anesthesia: Plain sugar water. A good dose and 99 percent of the time they sleep after the bris.

Price: Depends how far I have to travel. Anywhere from $685 to whatever.

What you do when you’re not circumcising: I don’t take vacations. Being a mohel is a big responsibility. For a lot of my clients, if I don’t do it, they may not do a kosher bris. Even when I go to Honolulu for a bris, I come right back.

Website: Torahview.com. “The most experienced mohel in the West.”

Looking for a mohel in your area? Check out Kveller’s national Mohel Directory.

Philip-Sherman Previous: Philip Sherman Next: Emily Blake emily-blake