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The Female Mohel

Can a woman perform a bris?

Jewish scholars, even the most Orthodox among them, answer with a tentative “why not?” for there is no halachic prohibition against mohelot, or female mohels. While Jewish law states that it’s preferable for a Jewish male to perform the brit milah, or ritual circumcision, if one is present, it is not mandatory. The symbolism of a woman circumcising a man is inherently provocative — touching on questions of spirituality, nurturing mothers and emasculation. Many men, when polled on the subject, reflexively cross their legs.

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Alma Heckman writes for the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Jewesses With Attitude, blog, which crossposts regularly with The Sisterhood.

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