RBG and Me

So, please allow me to set the stage for this week’s blog….

My son and daughter-by-marriage are expecting their first baby. The little boy is due to arrive on Wednesday, February 13. (Yes…it would be lovely to have a Valentine’s baby!)

I am very excited about this new addition. I’ve long heard that being a grandparent is far better than being a parent. They say it’s a type of compensation for the pain and suffering that came with raising one’s own children. With a grandchild, you can play with and spoil him or her to your heart’s content. Then, you return the creature back to the exhausted, frazzled, frustrated parents and go home. What could be better?

It’s been interesting to talk to people about names for “grandma” or “grandmother.” My Israeli friends have suggested “Savta” or “Savtoosh.” Meh. Some friends voted for Grammy or some other American variation. Double meh. Confused, I decided to take an online quiz to come up with a recommendation of a grandmotherly name that suits my personality. The results declared I should be called Bibi (what?!?!?!), Dede (we once had a dog called Dede), Gigi (like the courtesan from the film/musical?), Mimi (she was my daughter’s girlhood friend), or Glamma. Ah…no, no, no, no and no. None of those names felt like me at all. I’m proud of who I am and where I came from. And so, if it’s good enough for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my mom, and my grandmother, I am going to stick with Jewish tradition and be called Bubbie.

And now for the fun part….

This week I got involved with helping find a mohel.True to honoring our covenant, we will be holding a bris (brit) – a traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony that is held eight days after the baby is born. If the little rascal shows up before sundown on his due date, the bris will be held on February 20th. Now, it’s fine for a rabbi to officiate over the program. We have the family rabbi and know the program well. But the mohel is the guy who does the actual “snip snip.” The mohel can be a rabbi, a doctor, or just someone who’s be properly trained.

Now, how exactly do you find a mohel? Fortunately, the Jewish community of Chicago offers resources to find one. But how do you interview a mohel? Dear Sir, we are expecting a baby boy. What is your availability for the month of February? We don’t know exactly when he’ll arrive, so can you be flexible on the date? What is your process for cutting off foreskin? How much do you charge per cut?” Kind of weird, huh?

Finding the guy or gal is one thing. But, in all seriousness, I come from a world where, before you hire anyone, you get references. Well, how does that work? If the reference is the “patient,” can I contact a man or youth and ask to inspect the work? “Hmmm…can you take it out and let me see? Oh, my. My compliments to your mohel.” Or do you talk to a wife, girlfriend, or partner and find out if they’re satisfied with the work? Alternatively, are the references the parents? “Did the baby cry too much? Bleed too much? Get an infection? Was the mohel efficient? Funny? Would you hire him or her again?” Is this the norm?

When I volunteered to help with this, I never realized the awesome responsibility and pressure to do this right. I confess I’m a bit out of my element here. However, I’ve risen to the challenge. I’ll look at or talk about as many penises as I must. Goodness knows I wouldn’t do as well just worrying about the menu of the celebratory luncheon.

My grandson is counting on me. He’s not even here yet and he’s changed my life. I can’t wait to kiss him…to squeeze him…to make sure his bris is perfect…to look into his blue or hazel eyes…to say, “Hey, I’m Bubbie and I love you.”


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