By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
First of all, I must thank my youngest sister, Sharon Wisch-Ray, TJP publisher and editor, for covering my column last week. For those of you who may not know, Sharon was born the week that I left for Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. She was a gorgeous baby, and it was hard for me to leave — but she got my room at the inn.
Unbeknownst to me, I found out that I had a nasty case of mono. Who knew? Surprisingly, it is not uncommon for “senior citizens” to contract the disease. My PCPs, Drs. Risha Kopel and Hania Alaidroos, stated that they are seeing more of it in their practice these days. The best medicine is rest and tincture of time. By the way, Dr. Kopel is the wife of Dr. Steven Reiman, son of Dr. Lionel and Gloria Reiman. Although my children have multiple questions about how I contracted mono, for once, I can keep quiet and let them wonder and wonder.
Rabbi Michael Rovinsky named to top mohel list
While thinking of “Who knew,” I received the following from proud parents and dedicated community leaders, Shirley and Erven Rovinsky:
Who knew? It turns out that mohels not only have one of the most peculiar professions in the Jewish world, but they’re funny, eccentric and self-promotional in odd ways, too. JTA columnist, Uriel Heilman, decided to investigate the eccentricities of various mohels and this important ceremony as well as the eccentricities of each mohel’s performance of the ritual.
Circumcision activists pro and con can debate the efficacy of circumcision for everything from health benefits to sexual pleasure to religious mores, but Heilman, decided to go a different route with a quest to find America’s top mohels.
How were the eight honorees chosen? Heilman did not inspect thousands of instances of their workmanship. He did not rate them according to precision, style or performance. He relied on some tips from insiders, with an eye toward quantity and diversity. According to Heilman: “The list is not meant as a definitive ranking; these simply are eight top American mohels, presented in random order.”
Here’s an excerpt from Rabbi Rovinsky’s rundown in the JTA article:
- Foreskin count: Probably close to 9,000 circumcisions. Nowadays I do more non-Jewish babies than Jews.
- Market area: St. Louis and Dallas.
- Trademark: License plate reads M-O-H-E-L.
- First bris: I remember it like yesterday. It was in yuppie Baltimore, in 1988 or 1989. I had done each part of the bris hundreds of times; it was just putting it all together and doing it alone. I was nervous. It took about a year for this baby to walk after the bris.
- Most memorable bris: “I was in Dallas in 1992. I set up an adult circumcision program for the Russians. I’m in a doctor’s office, and a 28-year-old Russian immigrant who had been in America for only a week comes in. I scrub him up, give him an injection and put on the shield, ready to go. He says, in broken English, ‘Me do cut like Abraham.’ He reaches for the knife. I say the blessing, he repeats it word for word, and he gives himself a bris. After he was done I did the stitches and went back to my car and cried. What self-sacrifice!
- Most at once: I work for 150 doctors and midwives doing non-Jewish babies around the country. Those are easier because they don’t have to be on Day Eight. I’ll fly to Dallas and do 30 babies.
- Unusual location: Once I did it in the back of an 18-wheeler cab at the Flying J truck stop in Illinois. It was for a Jewish family passing through from Iowa. It wasn’t on the eighth day, but it was a kosher bris.
- Inspiration: I knew I was going to go into Jewish outreach, but I never wanted to be a pulpit rabbi. A bris is a natural entrée point into people’s lives. Once people get married and have a kid they begin to think about eternity and beyond themselves. I wanted to become a mohel to be a Jewish resource for these families. The truth is I hate crying children, and I can’t stand the sight of blood.
- Time: Less than 15 seconds.
- Anesthesia: Generally no. If a family wants it, I do it. An injection hurts more than the bris. For the bris itself, the closest parallel is ripping off a Band-Aid.
- Price: I don’t charge; people give an honorarium. It’s suggested. Depending on the city, it runs from $275 to $1,500-$2,000. Where I live in St. Louis it’s around $500.
- What you do when you’re not circumcising: I’m always working. Aside from circumcising, I raise about $150,000 a year for the Jewish Student Union, an outreach program for unengaged and underengaged Jewish high school students.
Barry Rothschild comes full circle at Scottish Rite Hospital
One of the most wonderful medical institutions in Dallas is The Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, which is in the business of providing hope, functionality and “miracles” for children and their families. Our towner Barry Rothschild was recently featured in the “The Rite-Up,” Scottish Rite’s newsletter in the section entitled “Spotlight on Donors.”
“Barry Rothschild, founder and president of Peaches Uniforms, is a company that sells nursing uniforms and scrubs. But before he was providing goods to hospital staff members, they were providing him with care. Both Rothschild and his sister are former patients of TSRHC.
“The hospital made a lasting impact on each of them. With a passion to give back to the institution that helped him so much, Rothschild found a way to combine his generous spirit and successful business.
“It’s a blessing to be able to give back and be connected to the hospital again,” says Rothschild.
“Peaches Uniforms has been donating uniforms and scrubs to TSRHC since 2003. In the past year alone, the company has donated more than 600 sets of scrubs to TSRHC staff members. The company was the first to introduce fashion colors for health care uniforms and has been known for its innovation ever since. Just like the brightly colored uniforms, Rothschild’s kind spirit and big heart can light up any room — especially when he has the chance to interact with the TSRHC nurses who proudly wear Peaches Uniforms.
“‘I believe in this place and want to continue to give. There are constantly new staff members and I am thankful to be able to contribute to them,’ he says. ‘This is just one way to pay back the place that helped me and my family and me so much.’”
Jewish Women in the Arts
The Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas will host, “Jewish Women In the Arts,” an informational, multimedia presentation, presented by Mark Kreditor from 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 10, at Yavneh Academy, Schultz Rosenberg Campus, 12324 Merit Drive.
Artists from the 20th century that changed the world from music to make up, and their contributions through their philanthropic passions, will be the focus of the evening. Interspersed throughout the evening will provide opportunities for the group to participate in a sing-a-long.
This should be a night to remember! Register at www.jewishdallas.org/WITA.
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