Child Mohelester

Well, I’ve become a grandfather again.  My son, EsseJ and his wife, Fets had a baby boy last week.  This has renewed my concern about what I am to be called.  Their first baby, Julian, is about twenty months old and even though I am referred to as “Grandpa” as in: “give Grandpa a kiss”, he is not yet fluent with his “G”s and “P”s and it’s hard to tell what he’s calling me.  So it seems there’s still time to come up with an alternative name.  But I’d say I only have about a month, maybe six weeks at the most before he gets it and that will be a point of no return. Clearly, I’m running out of time. Kind of the same situation Israel finds itself regarding Iran’s developing a nuclear bomb.   Gee, that makes me wonder… what do  Netanyahu’s grandchildren call him.

The same mohel, Phil Sherman, who is a cantor and had circumcised Julian, was called upon again.  Since that bris he has become something of a celebrity mohel; there was a glowing piece about him in The Times recently.  Even before the notoriety he didn’t come cheap.  I considered  hiring someone less expensive, but I don’t think a bris is the place to, pardon the pun, cut corners.  That Sherman is a cantor has nothing to do with his being a mohel. In fact, there are very few requirements for the job.  Oh, of course you have to be Jewish but really beyond that almost anybody can become one.  Obviously, it helps to be good with your hands which explains why they’re in such short supply.  Let’s see you find a handy Jew.  Actually, I’m kind of handy (and Jewish) and I’ve thought of possibly getting into the business as a sideline.   But then it occurred to me how impossible it must be to get hired for that first bris.  I can just imagine selling myself to some young couple: “Well…no…I”ve never actually performed a circumcision before.  So… yes this would be my first one.  But you should see the shelves I put up in my living room the other day!”  Probably best to stick with the real estate thing.

Our new addition is named Levi.  He is named for my father, Sam.  I know, I know, Levi sounds nothing like Sam.  But his parents did give him the same Hebrew name as my father.  In the old days,  a kid would be given the same English name  as well. But then, as parents no longer wanted to have a  “Harold” or a “Morton” as an English name, they would opt for choosing a name with the same first letter.  Apparently, that’s all gone out the window.  It’s a naming free-for-all out there now.

Since the “S” from Sam didn’t make the cut, I’m fine with any name they had chosen.  It’s okay with me that he might be named for a company that makes jeans.  However, this might be a good time to go on record that if, down the road, anyone is named for me, I’d much prefer that my “N” be used.  But, if instead, my namesake is going to be named for a clothing manufacturer I’d much prefer Banana Republic. I even have a middle name in mind: “W – 33″, L -34”.  So much better than Wrangler Stein.

W- 12", L - 10"


4 Responses to “Child Mohelester”

  1. Imim Says:


    I have a dear friend whose manner is a bit gruff despite his “heart of gold.” When his grandson was born, the parents encouraged the boy to call my friend “Grandpa” too. The first time the kid attempted it, he called out, “Hi, Grumpy !” The boy is five now, very bright and articulate, but my friend is still “Grumpy.”

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    thanks imim..

    Grumpy!? Now I’m really worried. Too close to home.

    hope all is well

  3. sister Says:

    neil, you are a riot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Mike McPartland Says:

    Now I know why my friend, to disguise his ethnicity, changed his name from Irving Slomowitz to Irving Sloan.

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