Have Knife - Will Travel

Welcome to travelingmohel.com! If you are expecting a boy, or if your son has just been born, and you live in an area without a local mohel (or the local mohel is unavailable, or you are exploring other options), travelingmohel.com is the address for you.

I come highly recommended by happy parents, rabbis and physicians, and have developed the traveling for a bris down to a science so that you have the best experience possible from a traveling mohel, your baby is given the attention he needs and deserves, and we remain in constant contact until your baby is completely healed from his bris (circumcision).

I currently live in South Florida, making me an ideal candidate to fly anywhere in the Caribbean or the United States. I am open to flying just about anywhere in the world!

For more information about me and my thoughts on bris milah/ brit milah/ berit milah, please see my regular blog at http://www.mohelinsouthflorida.com/

Click here to read the inaugural thoughts of this website/blog. This posting is the important first step in understanding what I offer and how my mohel services will best fit your needs.

Wednesday

New York on a Friday

You’d think I’d learn my lesson and not travel on Friday!


This past Friday started off just fine. I was in NY for a bris, and was scheduled to take a 12:45pm flight back to Florida for Shabbos.

Of course the flight was delayed. 3 hours!!

To make matters worse, the plane we were to take (to replace the plane with a mechanical failure) had fewer seats than the number of people booked for the larger plane. So the airline (SW) was asking people to volunteer to go on a later flight that day, or even Saturday or Sunday.

[Had it not been Friday, I would have taken their offer in a heartbeat. Refund on this flight. Rebook to whichever flight you want (to same destination). Plus $600 voucher to fly whenever and to use for whomever.
Alas, Shabbos....]

Why is it worse? Because they were planning to bump the last few people who checked in if they didn't get enough volunteers! Of course, I'm number 3 on that list, so if they don't get 3 people to volunteer, I'm sunk and stuck in NY - despite my pleading and explaining why I couldn't get on a plane after 4pm.

After an hour of nervous nail-biting, a woman (I'll call her my Shabbos-guardian-angel) came along and asked about the vouchers, etc.

She was hesitant because she was traveling with her two granddaughters who were "excited to go to Floirda today." I was there as she deliberated, and I extolled to her the virtues of taking $1800 in vouchers from the airline and convincing her granddaughters that going the next day would be the greatest chesed to me in that moment.

She thought about it, called her husband, and a few minutes later I was called by the flight attendant to come pick up my boarding pass!!!!!!!!

I thanked her, thanked her granddaughters, thanked the airline people, thanked Hashem, and got on the plane 1/2 hour later. It took off around 3:40, landing 6:40, and I was in shul by 7:18pm.

Hair raising, but all worked out in the end!

Return to Curacao

The bris was supposed to be almost two weeks ago, but due to jaundice, and then the holidays, the bris was postponed. In the meantime, the baby's greatgrandmother passed away, and the bris ended up taking place the morning that Shiva ended for his grandfather.

So I was able to join the family for Maariv.

And then for Shacharis - which happened to be Rosh Chodesh (they even asked me to read the Torah!)


As an aside, the deceased was famous for her shrine in her house. I got to see it. Really incredible.
  

I also got to see the Ashkenazic shul - though it was at night. The rabbi opened it up for me.






In the morning, the bris actually took place at a hotel. The hotel put up this sign (small typo). I can only imagine what people who were unaware of what was going on were thinking. 

Nice catering. Look at these takehomes (and see my cameo in the mirror):


Some pictures of the beach! The water is amazing, the beach (private, man made at the hotel) is so calm and quiet. Really an amazing vacation spot for those who look for this kind of thing!






And this fine lady oversees everything.



So fun! Any way, I don't know when the next bris will be in Curacao. But should it come to pass that a baby boy is born to a Jewish mother in Curacao, and I am privileged to be called again, I'll look forward to returning to this beautiful island for a simcha!

Sunday

Houston, TX

Here I am, back in Houston, TX. I think I've done ten brisses in Houston in the last few years. Here was the first one... 

Anyway, that's old hat. This was my first time doing a bris in United Orthodox Synagogues since Hurricane Harvey destroyed their main building (I've been here since that flood, but the brisses I've done did not take place in the synagogue). 

The building itself is now just one big room - their social hall is now serving as their sanctuary, while one third of the room remains dedicated to whatever catering, such as their Kiddush on Shabbos, or the meal at a bris. Here's a balloon!

And here's a view of the front of the room from the "catering" area (taken while I was eating breakfast, yes.)



Being that the building now has no offices and no private rooms, I was in a bit of a quandary as to where I might prepare the baby and check him after the bris. But the rabbi had a great solution... a movable wall!

Now isn't this a nice little tucked away corner?

This particular trip was a bit of a nail-biter because the bris was Friday morning, and the only reasonably priced ticket I could find to get me back home for sundown on Friday (and the onset of Shabbos) was a 1:30pm Spirit flight.

And, of course, delayed....

But, thank God, everything worked out in the end. I got home with about 25 minutes before Shabbos, so despite any nail biting, I still have a full set of nice nails. 😁

My next travel bris is coming up Wednesday. You'll just have to check in again to see where I'm going. It's pretty exotic!

Curacao


Curacao is an island a little north of Venezuela. It identifies mostly as a Dutch colony, but I believe it is largely independent today. It has its own local language and its own local currency.

And it has one of the longest histories of a Jewish community in the Americas, including the oldest continuing-to-function synagogues in the Americas.

The Curacao Jewish community has a fascinating history, which I can't go into in this space. However, in more recent history, until this week, there hadn't been a bris in Curacao for 12 years. This is most likely a reflection of certain demographics, in that fewer younger people are remaining there, choosing to move off the island for other pastures.

There are babies, and little kids. But of the children I saw, most were girls. The occasional boy had moved to Curacao, but was not born on the island and did not have his bris on the island.

All that changed when this guy came along.


Look how he rocks that kippah!


It was an honor to be the first mohel in Curacao in over a decade. Aside from being a new destination for me, it was fascinating to see a community with such a rich history. The museum at the Mikve Israel - Emanuel  synagogue has some incredible pieces of Judaica, dating back hundreds of years. 

As for the bris: the next two pictures are of the same chair. It is an old chair, been used on the island for close to a hundred years. It has a unique form of the "kisei Eliyahu" (Elijah's chair) attached to it, with a bottom that slides out from the side of the main chair, and a back that swings around to form the back of the chair. There is also a board that comes out of the chair from the front (shown here) which was probably made for the mohel to put his surgical instruments. It is impractical for a whole host of reasons, so I slid it back into the chair, then put my Eliyahu HaNavi Chair drape.




Here are some pics from the old synagogue, Mikve Israel-Emanuel
The date of when they began building is hinted to in the verse above the door (5490 = 1730). The building was completed 2 years later.







Note the sandy floor! This was done on purpose!



I found this next feature fascinating. Note the names of the 4 Mothers of the Jewish people etched in the columns!
  
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I also enjoyed walking around a bit

Here's the old synagogue... now a law office. 

Here's some street art


Here are some panorama shots of the water and the downtown area




A few more from downtown




And finally a video of a tower clock with an interesting bell system

I also have a video of the longest pontoon bridge in the world, which opens and closes when a boat needs to go through. But it's too long for me to upload. 😲




It was a new destination, so a longer kind of blog post. Ciao!