The Man Who Shaped 20,000 Penises

Philip Sherman has a good claim to have handled more foreskins than any man alive. And possibly more Jewish foreskins than anyone in history. He’s a Mohel who markets himself as a dependable cutter rather than someone who is going to make each bris memorable.

Based in Manhattan, but prepared to hop from borough to borough, Philip Sherman — from February 1978 until today — has been the official ritual slicer for 20,000 circumcisions. I can only speak for two of them, but those were fluently and efficiently done.

Sherman, aka the emoil, says in his interview for the mini-documentary on New York on the Clock, a series of mini-documentaries on ordinary extraordinary New Yorkers, that:

But let’s face it, he can only perform as many brisses as he’s going to get the blessings and the chopping right. That’s a lot of prepuce for one man, he must still have good word of mouth.

Still, 30 years of singing and cutting can take its toll, no?

Sherman says that knowing when to stop is the key. With which I heartily concur. As any man knows, even one cut too far would be a tragedy.

The Man Who Shaped 20,000 Penises


Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman is the director of content and communications at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Formerly the executive editor and whisky correspondent of the Forward, he is the author of an illuminating (and excellent value) book about Tears for Fears, the 80s emo rock band.

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The Man Who Shaped 20,000 Penises

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