Saturday, December 10, 2016 Kislev 10, 5777

Mohel Joel Shoulson


Having served in the community as a Mohel for 50-plus years, chances are you’ve probably attended a Brit Milah that I have performed — or you know of someone who has. These days, it seems that I’ve become the inter-generational Mohel, having circumcised both father and now son! On occasions, I have even served three generations of a family, have ‘done’ the grandfather, too! The emotion a father feels at his own son’s bris is profound but when the same Mohel that circumcised him is now there to circumcise his son —or grandson for that matter, well, that experience is beyond words. (For me, too.)

I know well the deep bond between father and son, for I trained at the feet of my own father — a Jerusalem-born, renowned Orthodox Rabbi who was Chaplain and Official Mohel at Albert Einstein Medical Center, (his affiliation began in 1933, when it was known as the Philadelphia Jewish Hospital.) My apprenticeship began as soon as I was old enough to see over the table.

My father was an expert on Jewish Law pertaining to Brit Milah and taught me all that he knew. I received intensive operating room training at Einstein, and after years of studying and keenly observing my father, I performed my first circumcision under his very close supervision at the age of sixteen.  

Determined to forge my own path, I pursued college, the army and cantorial music (I still fulfill duties as Cantor of an Orthodox synagogue), before I decided to continue the family legacy as an eighth-generation Mohel.  The dynasty stops with me, for my own children (two sons and a daughter) have their own callings.

The day of your son’s bris is the celebration of a new life. Together we will witness the power of this ancient tradition that symbolizes the covenant between God and the Jewish people.  Be mindful that the word ritual is the core word of spirituality. As we welcome your baby into the fold we will be profoundly reminded of the miracle of birth and the hope that each new child represents, not only to Jews, but to all of humankind.

It would be my honor to serve as Mohel to your newborn son.

MOHEL JOEL SHOULSON  610.747.0242  800.700.JOEL

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