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Aliyah Swells Demand for Mohalim

January 29, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The influx of immigrants from the Soviet Union has unexpectedly exacerbated a longstanding problem: the shortage of mohalim in Israel licensed to circumcise older children, teen-agers and adult men.

According to Rabbi Yosef Weisberg, national supervisor of circumcisions, there are only a half-dozen such mohalim in the entire country. They find it hard to keep pace with the scores and sometimes hundreds of uncircumcised males arriving each day.

Israeli law requires that the circumcision of boys 1 to 12 years old be done at a hospital under a general anesthetic. Teen-agers and adults are given a local anesthetic.

Patients who normally spend a night in the hospital are now sent home the same day because of the increased demand.

Few ritual circumcisions are performed in the Soviet Union, where the operation is frowned upon by the authorities. The handful of mohalim employed there by religious families get little experience and lack equipment.

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