Speaking with several mohels about how the coronavirus has affected their work, Menachem Wecker found that the answers vary:
Avraham Rappaport, an Orthodox rabbi who also runs a Columbia, Maryland, financial-services company, typically performed five to seven circumcisions a week. Since mid-March, that number has soared to ten to fifteen weekly, which he believes is mostly due to restrictions on elective surgery related to the coronavirus pandemic.
But other mohels have different experiences. April Rubin, a Washington, DC-based obstetrician and gynecologist who trained as a mohelet in the Conservative movement, has seen relatively constant volume in the past three months. . . . “I am aware of several couples who have chosen to forgo the traditional ceremony and opt instead for a medical circumcision in the hospital prior to discharge after birth,” she said.
Eliezer Lawrence, an Orthodox rabbi and also a Manhattan mohel, and dozens of colleagues worldwide in a mohel group of which he is a part, have seen a reduction in circumcisions of late. In Lawrence’s view, some families have forgone a bris for a secular circumcision in the hospital to avoid the risk of having a mohel come to the house. “It is one of the last almost universally practiced things of the Jewish people,” he said. “We mark a generation of catastrophe in Judaism by the number who went uncircumcised.”