The new Ebionites

The Washington Post reports on a new trend. Home circumcisions. For Christians. Are these modern day Ebionites?

Mark Kushner pulled up to the Watson family’s suburban Philadelphia home a week after the birth of their first son, Colin. In the dining room, he unpacked the tools of his trade: sterilized surgical instruments, topical anesthetic, prayer shawls and a small bottle of kosher wine.

The shawls went back into his black bag. But to Megan and Christopher Watson’s happy surprise, the mohel — pronounced “moyle,” the title for a Jewish ritual circumciser — had copies of several prayers appropriate for the Presbyterian parents to read for the occasion.

“We thank You for the miracle of human experience in the birth of our child,” they recited while Kushner gently rocked their infant before the procedure.

Kushner, who is based in Philadelphia, and Philip Sherman, a mohel in the New York City area, say they have performed more than 30,000 circumcisions since training together in Israel in the 1970s. Most of their business comes from traditional brith milah ceremonies for 8-day-old Jewish boys. But in recent years, they have increasingly catered to Christian families who eschew a hospital procedure in favor of a $300 to $800 house call, a trend Sherman has dubbed “holistic circumcision.”

Many Christian clients, including the Watsons, liked what they saw at a friend’s brith milah, also known as a bris. Others are conservative Christians who want to follow Old Testament tradition or learned about holistic circumcisions from the Internet, their doctors or others, Kushner said.

Does this indicate a trend among some Christians who might want follow Jewish customs…or is it simply a fad among people looking for meaningful symbols in the marketplace?

Read the rest here.

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