Elisheva, Noam and Eden Vogel
Elisheva, Noam and Eden Vogel
before the ceremony
Elisheva, Eden and Noam Vogel before the circumcision ceremony

New Zealand father circumcises own son under COVID-19 lockdown

Accompanied by rabbi and under close supervision of local physician, Jewish couple performs traditional ceremony on newborn after 5-month wait as mohel is stopped at country's border

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 08.27.20 , 19:36
A New Zealand Jewish couple circumcised their newborn child on their own as the country's extensive COVID-19 lockdown made it impossible to reach a certified mohel (circumciser).
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  • Jewish Agency emissaries in New Zealand, Elisheva and Noam Vogel, waited 5 months to circumcise their son, Eden Raphael Vogel, who was born two days before New Zealand closed its gates to travelers from abroad.
    Elisheva, Eden and Noam Vogel before the circumcision ceremony Elisheva, Eden and Noam Vogel before the circumcision ceremony
    Elisheva, Eden and Noam Vogel before the circumcision ceremony
    According to New Zealand's law, any mohel wishing to perform a circumcision must be a registered certified physician - which there are none in the country.
    New Zealand's Jewish community usually flies in especially a mohel from Australia, but due to the pandemic, he cannot enter the country.
    After consulting rabbis and mohels from around the globe, Noam decided to perform the ritual on his own, under the close supervision of a doctor and a rabbi.
    "We consulted rabbis and circumcisers from Israel and around the world, and decided that I would perform our son's circumcision, under the close supervision of a local doctor and community rabbi," said Noam.
    The circumcision was performed at a local clinic while the child was under local anesthesia. Noam performed the incision and then a doctor stitched the area.
     Noam and Eden Vogel Noam and Eden Vogel
    Noam and Eden Vogel
    "We are happy and thrilled that Eden Raphael has finally been circumcised. It is definitely a happy moment but also emotionally charged," said Elisheva. "We are waiting for the day when we can tell him what he went through. Today, more than ever, we appreciate the fact that Jewish life is possible in the State of Israel even in such difficult times."
    The Jewish community in New Zealand, located in the southwestern Pacific, is considered one of the most remote communities in the world.
    According to the Jewish Agency, the community numbers around 8,000 members, mainly in Auckland and the country's capital, Wellington.
    New Zealand's Jewish community is involved in all areas of the country's public life and promotes its values through Zionist youth movements, a Jewish school and synagogues that also serve a meeting place for community members.
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