Chef cum Mohel: “I do it all from soup to nuts”
Posted by Oyster on April 9, 2010
For “immediate release”:
One Time Chef Makes The Cut As Bay Area Mohel
Los Gatos, California, April 9, 2010 –When he was in culinary school, Moshe Trager never thought he’s end up a rabbi, much less a mohel. He is fast in the kitchen and his knife skills are impressive. In fact, watching Moshe Trager cook is like watching Bobby Fisher play chess; the movements are fast but you know there’s complex strategy behind them.
“Cooking just came naturally to me,” Trager says, in a deep voice laced with hints of Boston roots. “My Dad and uncle were both in the restaurant business, so I was always in the kitchen.” But while he met Julia Childs several times, Trager never reached celebrity chef status himself.
Today, Trager cooks less but cuts more. In addition to being a rabbi, he is a professional mohel working in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means he has been specifically trained to circumcise newborn baby boys according to a Jewish ritual that dates back to ancient times called “bris mila.”
“It’s a real blessing to be a part of this moment in people’s lives and I’ve done more than 3000 brisses in the 15 years I’ve been a mohel,” he says.
Trager was trained and certified by the world-renowned chief mohel of Israel at Jerusalen’s Shaare Tzedek Hospital.
“This was like learning to play guitar from Jimi Hendrix,” he says. “It was a really unusual opportunity for me and I jumped at it.”
His culinary training came in handy as Trager found he was able to complete the procedure with precision and speed. Where it could take a physician 10-15 minutes to complete a circumcision, Trager is able to do the same in seconds. It’s not surprising that many of his clients are the sons of surgeons, pediatricians and urologists.
“Doctors know that mohels are able to minimize the discomfort for the baby,” says Trager. “Instead of a cold hospital room, where the baby is strapped down, a bris is a kinder, gentler procedure that takes place in your home. The baby is placed on a pillow on his father or grandfather’s lap and is back in his mother’s arms in a matter of minutes.”
The bris isn’t exclusively for Jews anymore. The natural approach has gained popularity among non-Jewish parents and alternative couples.
“I get calls all the time from parents who just want a more holistic approach to circumcision,” Trager says.
Although there is on-going debate about the medical advantages of circumcision, over 80 percent of American’s request the procedure for their sons for reasons varying from religious to aesthetic.
“I’m honored to be a part of this joyful time in people’s lives,” says the chef turned mohel. “My restaurant customers joked that I really do everything from soup to nuts.”
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If you’d like more information about Rabbi Moshe Trager, or would like to schedule an interview, please call Rabbi Trager at 415-355-6757 or email him at rabbitrager<at>comcast.net.
For more information, visit: http://home.comcast.net/~marctrager/site/
(Rabbi Moshe Trager)