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Rabbi Tries To Halt Cut In Circumcision Specialists

June 12, 1987

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A rabbi seeking to counter the lack of specialists to perform circumcision rituals has set up a group practice of experts who can be reached through a national toll-free phone line.

″There’s a shortage of people with this specialized training,″ said Rabbi Pinchas Aloof of Temple Anshei Shalom. ″We want to bring the mohel to the family in need of the services so the requirements of Jewish law can be fulfilled.″

A mohel is someone trained to perform circumcisions, which Jewish law mandates must be done on a boy’s eighth day of life.

Aloof, president of the Southeastern Regional Brith Milah Board, said that because of the mohel shortage, he has had to travel through Southern states at a moment’s notice to perform briths.

One day he performed five briths in four states, he said.

Aloof has set up a toll-free line to his group, called Brith America, which now has about 20 certified men on membership rolls.

Brith America hopes to link Jewish parents with mohels and is sending letters about their service to hospitals, obstetricians and synagogues around the country.

Rabbi Israel Barzak, vice president of Brith America, said the group hopes to expand to 200 nationwide.

″We want to make sure that all Jews have the opportunity to reaffirm their ties with the Bible,″ Barzak said. ″It’s such an important ritual, we want it to be perpetuated.″

Performing the circumcision before the eighth day is forbidden. Performing it afterward is permitted, but to fulfill the commandment from the biblical book of Genesis, it should be done on the eighth day, rabbis say.

The ritual includes blessing and naming the baby. A celebration with family and friends often follows.

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