When mohel is not available, family takes circumcision into its own hands

Noam and Elisheva Fogel, Jewish Agency emissaries to New Zealand, welcomed Eden Refael to the world just two days before the coronavirus lockdown in the country began.

Relatives look at a baby after his brit milah in Jerusalem September 24, 2012.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Relatives look at a baby after his brit milah in Jerusalem September 24, 2012.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish parents in New Zealand decided to conduct the brit (circumcision) ritual for their newborn son five months after his birth, as coronavirus regulations made finding a mohel (professional circumciser) impossible, according to Ynet.
Noam and Elisheva Fogel, Jewish Agency and Bnei Akiva emissaries to New Zealand, welcomed Eden Refael to the world just two days before the coronavirus lockdown in New Zealand began, leading the parents to delay the brit multiple times.
In New Zealand, mohels must be certified doctors. There are no such mohels in the country itself, so the local Jewish community uses a mohel from Australia instead. Due to the lockdown, the mohel could not arrive.
Last week, the parents decided to do the ritual themselves under the close supervision of a rabbi and doctor at a local clinic. Noam, the father, carried out the brit itself and the doctor stitched the wound.
The brit ritual is usually carried out within eight days of a Jewish boy's birth. The circumcision is required by Jewish religious law for all Jewish males, including converts, and symbolizes the covenant between God and the Jewish people.

The Fogels left Israel as emissaries to New Zealand two years ago.
"We consulted with rabbis and mohels from Israel and around the world and decided that I would carry out the brit of our son, under close supervision from a local doctor and the community rabbi," said Noam to ynet.
"We are happy and joyful that finally Eden Refael will undergo a brit," said Elisheva. "This is definitely a happy and emotional moment. We are waiting for the day when we can tell him what he went through. Today more than ever we appreciate the fact that in Israel a Jewish life is possible even in difficult times such as these."
The Jewish community in New Zealand is made up of about 8,000 members focused mostly in Auckland and Wellington. Smaller communities can be found in other locations.