By Michael Sudhalter
Dallas citizen and medical professional Lauren New understands the importance of being a mohelet in the community.
Last summer, New became the first mohelet (female certified to perform a bris) in North Texas and the second in the state. She went through a 6-month certification program through Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion offered by the National Organization of American Mohalim (NOAM).
“The certification class taught me that families who start their child’s life with a bris are more invested in Jewish education and upbringing,” New said.
New, a member of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, was mentored by Emanu-El Cantor Vicky Glikin and Dr. Michael Blum, a mohel who officiated the bris for both of New’s sons.
Blum, a past chairperson of NOAM, presented the certification to New at a recent service at Emanu-El.
“It was my honor to be able to present the certificate,” Blum said. “She will have opportunities to help young Jewish families here in the Dallas area.”
The certification course focused a great deal on the ceremonial and religious significance of the bris, which dates back to the Book of Genesis when God commanded Abraham to be circumcised on the eighth day of life.
Part of a bris ceremony is in Hebrew and part is in English. Both the mohel(et) and parents recite a prayer, and usually, the grandfather helps the mohel(et) by holding the baby’s legs.
The child also receives his Hebrew name at the end of the ceremony.
“There’s a nurturing aspect to a bris,” New said. “It’s an emotional and proud moment to be able to be part of a family’s life on their big day and to guide them through the process.”
New does not publicly advertise her work as a mohelet. She works full-time as a hospital midwife at Parkland Hospital and also co-teaches a delivery room class at Emanu-El that emphasizes the importance of a Jewish upbringing.
“I’ll only do a bris for someone who is intending to raise their child Jewish. My business card says mom, midwife, mohelet,” said New, who graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in nursing. “I explain to families that I was trained both medically and for the ceremonial portion of a bris.”
But, New said, it’s important for her clients to understand she first and foremost has the perspective of a Jewish mother.
Lauren New can be reached at email@example.com and 817-680-6597.