America’s Top Mohels



Philip Sherman: “My record is 11 in one day – a pair of twins and nine others.”Courtesy Philip Sherman)

Philip Sherman: “My record is 11 in one day – a pair of twins and seven others.” (Courtesy Philip Sherman)

Philip Sherman

Foreskin count: 20,000+.

Market niche: New York-New Jersey area, with a focus on high-end clients. I’ve been to Japan, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Aspen. I do everybody: religious, assimilated, interfaith families, non-Jewish circumcisions. Most of my referrals come from the medical community – their kids, their grandkids, their patients’ kids.

Trademark: I wear a bow tie, and because I’m a cantor I can sing. I don’t tell jokes. I do not hand out refrigerator magnets or business cards. I try to make each bris warm, meaningful, inclusive and spiritual.

First bris: In Brooklyn during the blizzard of February 1978. We knew it was coming, so I stayed over in Brooklyn the night before. The snowstorm brought the city to a standstill, and only about six people made it, including the parents and the baby.

Most memorable bris: My record is 11 in one day – a pair of twins and seven others. I once did a bris in Long Island where the family built a 4-foot platform across the swimming pool. One wrong turn either way and you’re in the pool.

Inspiration: My grandfather was a rabbi, a dayan (religious judge), a shochet (ritual slaughterer) and a mohel – he did it all. I’m just a cantor and a mohel.

Time: 15-20 seconds, no prep.

Device of choice: A modified Mogen clamp. I altered it so it doesn’t close completely and stop the blood flow if it’s on too long – that was Rabbi Moshe Tendler’s suggestion.

Anesthesia: No. Many parents want to use products that are not approved, formulated or tested for use on infants of this age.

Price: $800

Entourage: I’m a solo act, but sometimes my son drives me around so I don’t have to find parking.

What you do when you’re not circumcising: I’m in the Screen Actor’s Guild, and I have a motorcycle. I’ve been in commercials, movies, TV. I did a film with Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones, “Our Idiot Brother.” I played a mohel, but the scene was cut. How ironic.


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

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