Debate Magazine

Star of Davida Interviews Mohelet Stacy Rubtchinsky

Posted on the 20 September 2011 by Starofdavida
Star of Davida Interviews Mohelet Stacy RubtchinskyThere has been debate in theJewish community since the time of the Egyptian enslavement as to whether ornot a woman can perform a brit milah(ritual circumcision). Most opinions believe that they can. In recent years,women have embraced the ability to perform the brit milah ceremony and become mohelot(female circumcisers). One such woman is Stacy Rubtchinsky,a Massachusettsmohelet who I had the honor ofinterviewing
Did you aspire to be a doctorwhen you were a child, or did you fall into it?  I have wanted to be a doctorsince I was a young child. Then, I went to college and did not like chemistryand did not like the competition in the pre-med classes, so I stopped beingpre-med and instead studied linguistics and cognitive sciences. I learned a lotof different languages and loved my studies. When I graduated, I taughtelementary school for two years and during that time, I remembered my passionfor medicine and so, I went back to school to finish those dreaded pre-med coursesand went to medical school. 
Why did you become a moheletBeing a mohelet is aperfect fit for me. I love being a doctor and have the skills to perform safe,quick circumcisions. I also love being Jewish and practicing the rituals andtraditions associated with our religion. On top of that, I love being aneducator. When I go into families homes, I am a Jewish ambassador who has theopportunity to teach them about the beauty of this ritual into their lives
Does your family - parents,husband, children - support you?  My parents and husband and fourchildren all love that I am a mohelet!
Do you find that being femaleadds or detracts from your role as mohelet? I find that the families who callme are not looking for the stereotypical Orthodox mohel. They arelooking for a modern, traditional, spiritual, painless ceremony andcircumcision and that is what I can bring them.  I think that being afemale adds to the spirituality and warmth of the ceremony. I think that beinga mother also adds to my credibility (I hear “If you could circumcise yourown twin boys, then I trust you to circumcise my son” all the time). 
Do you have an opinion on howgirls should be welcomed in the Jewish community in a celebration parallel to abrit milah? Absolutely!  I have twodaughters and had beautiful ceremonies for each of them. I chose to have theirceremonies at Havdalah (the ceremonial separation between Sabbath and weekday), since it is a time of transition andrebirth of the week, just as a new soul in our world is a time of rebirth. Theceremonies are a time for a community to come together and welcome a child andexpress it’s hopes and dreams for the baby's future. It is a wonderful time ofcelebration!
What advice would you give toother women who want to follow your lead and pursue a position as mohelet?My advice to anyone who wants tobe a mohelet is to go to a lot of britot and learn what you wouldwant if the ceremony were your own. Then study with your rabbi/cantor/educatorand learn the halakha (Jewish law) behind brit milah. Mostimportantly, though, during the process of training and thereafter remember whyyou pursued this wondrous journey. If you do that, you will always hold on tothe passion that brought you to your dream!

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