YEKATERINBURG, Russia – Dr. Yeshaya Shafit, the Mohel of Russia, has just carried out his 3500th circumcision this week. This notable event took place in the Synagogue of Yekaterinburg, a major Russian city and the capital of the Urals Federal District.
In all, ten Jewish children of various ages came forward to enter the Covenant of Avraham by having their Brit Mila. Among them were several newborn children and students of the Ohr Avner Chabad Day School. In addition to undergoing a ritual circumcision, the participants adopted their new Jewish names.
Each of the boys received gifts from the Chief Rabbi of Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk Region, Zelig Ashkenazi.
This event involved Chief Rabbi of Kfar Chabad, Israelá Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi, who is the father of Rabbi Zelig Ashkenazi. Rabbi Menachem Barkan, the father of Rabbi Ashkenazi’s wife, also participated in the Brit Mila during his current visit to Yekaterinburg. “It is always heartwarming to witness such events and to see that Jewish life and traditions are indeed being revived here," commented Rabbi Barkan. "A wonderful Community Center has been built here in Yekaterinburg, but now the challenge is to fill it with the meaning."
Today, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, in strategic partnership with the 'Brit Yosef Yitzhak' organization, supports two full-time certified mohels – Yeshaya Shafit, who performs circumcisions in Russia and other former Soviet republics, and Yakov Gaisinovich, who mainly covers Jewish communities in Ukraine.
Based in Moscow, Yeshaya Shafit is a certified physician and surgeon. After immigrating to Israel from Russia in 1992, he has returned to his native country on this important mission. Dr. Shafit also serves as the Director of the 'Brit Yosef Yitzchak' Center in Moscow.