Pediatrician for a Circumcision

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Looking for an experienced doctor for circumcision surgery

Dec 2013

Hi everyone, I'm due in less than 2 weeks and I heard OBs or pediatrics may not do a perfect job on cosmetic circumcision surgery. So, I'm not sure to do this in the hospital after birth. Does anyone know any experienced doctor/surgeon who does circumcision surgery for a newborn?

I believe Dr. Ralph Berberich is still a practicing pediatrician in Berkeley -- he circumcised both of my sons (now 28 and 23) and the procedure, in both cases done at his pediatric offices, was excellent, humane, and free of any complications. Anon

Circumcision by Dr.James Cuthbertson

May 2012

I was wondering if anyone has ever had a physician from Berkeley Pediatrics perform a circumcision? Specifically, I am interested if Dr.James Cuthbertson has performed this surgery on any of your children, and if so, how was the experience/outcome. I am considering using a mohel, but I would love some feedback from people who have used Dr.Cuthbertson. Thank you. anon

My son, who is now in high school and was circumcised by Dr. Cuthbertson. I can recommend Cuthbertson. Good guy, good doctor. Richard S

Dr. Cuthbertson has taken care of my 9-year-old son since before he was born. He performed his circumcision on Day 2? Day 3? of his life, at Alta Bates. No problem whatever, and he's been a terrific pediatrician, too. happy customer

March 2011

RE: Mohel or pediatrician for circumcision

In December, we used Dr. Mark Rubenstein. He is a mostly- retired pediatrician and he was fantastic. He made the ceremony extremely personal and can tailor it however you would like. Everyone who attended said it was the best bris ceremony they had ever seen. Elizabeth

With complete confidence based on our experience with his work with our two sons, now 6- and 4-years old, we strongly encourage you to contact Dr. Mark Rubenstein, who is a mohel and a pediatrician.

Mark is largely retired from his long, highly-regarded and much-beloved practice in pediatrics, though he keeps his license active as he subs at his old clinic, but he has continued his practice as a mohel.

Mark and his wonderful wife Yvonne came to our home twice and performed the procedure in the context of the ceremony they led but to which we had as much input as we desired; they were pretty much custom-created and, in both cases, were perfect. They bring most of what's necessary and give complete instructions in advance, along with clear understanding of both the physical as well as the spiritual proceedings. As a great bonus, they bring whimsy, charm, humor and love, all of which go a long way toward defusing anxieties about the event.

Even though this procedure was a foregone conclusion in my thinking, it was still difficult to imagine. Mark and Yvonne made them truly meaningful, memorable experiences. To this day, at a soul level I know that this was not a bad experience for our sons but is a life blessing. I have countless reference experiences that confirm that certainty, but one that comes to mind is a dialog I had with our older son one day when he was about 3 and we were showering together. He kept looking at his penis and then at mine (as they both still do) and then he looked up and me and said, 'Daddy will mine ever be like yours?' 'What do you mean, son?' 'Well,I was wondering if mine would stay little like it is or if it would get really big like yours.' At that moment, I said a silent 'Thank you' that this was the only way in which he would have to understand and live with our differences, and I told him to point his finger at the wall. When he did, I put my 3X larger finger next to his, also pointing at the wall. I said, 'It all grows up together, get it?' 'Got it!' 'Good...'

That all felt really right and, I expect, was just an early one of many lessons that are my unique responsibility as the dad to teach our sons about the proper use, care and feeding of their penises. I also will acknowledge that I made a conscious effort to not even imagine being flattered by the way in which my son described our differences.

Mark Rubenstein came to us strongly recommended and we are happy and honored to continue that tradition. He can be reached at: MarkMD [at]

Blessings on your son(s)

If you decide to go the medical route, I recommend Dr. Chi Lee, in Berkeley. He's a urologist, and he performed a circumcision correction on my son when he was 3 months old, after the pediatric resident in the hospital botched his circumcision. Dr. Lee is extremely competent, and he really knows what he's doing. I would recommend choosing either a mohel or a urologist, unless the pediatrician you find performs lots and lots of circumcisions. -Congratulations on your baby!

Dr. Debra Weiss-Ishai as a mohel

December 2005

I am having my first son in a couple of months and will be having a bris for him. An acquaintance of mine said she recently attended a bris done by Debra Weiss-Ishai who is a mohel and pediatrician in this area. She said that this mohel did an amazing job with the whole ceremony and it was the best bris she has ever attended. I hadn't heard of her and was just wondering if anyone else has any experience with her. Thanks! Michelle

I attended the bris of a friend of mine who used Dr. Weiss-Ishai as the mohel. I thought she was great! I have only been to one other bris before and she, by far, was much better. During the ceremony she explained all the background and history behind the traditions. My friend had different family members and friends participate in readings/poems which made it much more intimate and meaningful. Best of all (I think!), the baby slept through the whole thing, even the procedure! (She numbs up the area). My girlfriend said her pediatrician informed her that the results were great! Hope that helps! Carrie

My friend said this mohel has a website. Here is the address if you need more info.


June 2005

RE: Need a mohel who can explain bris to non-Jewish family & friends

Dr. Stuart Zangwill, a Kaiser pediatrician with extensive experience in circumcisions, is a newly certified mohel based in Oakland. We attended a brit milah and simchat bat at which he officiated with my husband, Rabbi Mark Bloom of Temple Beth Abraham. Dr. Zangwill did the brit milah while Rabbi Bloom did the simchat bat. Dr. Zangwill is extremely friendly and helpful, explains the meaning of the brit milah as a sign of the covenant with God, and of course is proficient in the surgical piece as well. I'd be happy to provide more information and the names of some of the families he has worked with previously. Feel free to contact me. Karen

March 2003

RE: Planning a bris but not affiliated with a temple

Mazel Tov on your soon to be arrival. We used Dr. Mark Rubenstein. He was a peditrian for many years and he is a trained reformed mohel. Our first son was born 2 years ago and Mark and his wife came to our home and performed a beatiful service as well as the circumcision. At that time we were not involved with a synagogue. I highly recommend him. He was gentle and kind and very reassuring. He explained everything to us and allowed us to be as involved as we wished. He even provided us with some sample readings if we wanted to use them for the ceremony. We are expecting another boy and one of the first people we contacted was Mark to see if he would be available again. Lucky for us he will be. My in-laws are not Jewish (my husband converted before we were married) and they live in PA. Mark suggested that they could participate with us even though they weren't here in our home by telephone. We set up our speaker phone in the living room and fedexed the service to them so they could participate. It was wonderful and it was Marks suggestion. I think you can tell we really liked him very much. You can contact him at markmd [at] Visit for more information on Mark or if you would like to do more research try: Good Luck! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Adina

I highly recommend Dr. Mark Rubenstein. He is a pediatrician turned mohel. He does a fantastic job (both literally and with the service). He helps you (and your family) create a service that is meaningful to you.
Mark M. Rubenstein, MD Tel: 925-932-6650; Fax: 925-937-6650 E-mail: markmd AT 
Please tell him that I sent you his way. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Melissa

Ralph Berberich MD was the mohel we used. He did an excellent job on the circumcision--fast, healed well, little crying one done. Our Rabbi did the ceremony however, so I couldn't say what he would have been like for that. anon

Pediatrician Ralph Berberic as a mohel

May 2002

We are expecting in July and are looking both for a moyel and a pediatrician.... regarding Dr. Berberich: I'd like to hear people's opinions of him as a moyel.... (See Ralph Berberich, Pediatric Medical Group for this discussion.