Los Gatos Rabbi Moshe Trager is a full-time mohel, pronounced moyel, and rabbi. His practice is based on the Torah or the Bible, which says that on the eighth day of life, a Jewish boy should have a “bris” or ritual circumcision. The Jewish people have been doing ritual circumcision for more than 3,000 years and it’s one of their most precious traditions. Rabbi Trager runs his business online and is based out of Los Gatos. He meets young Jewish families who’ve just had a baby boy and performs the bris. It’s not like a circumcision done in a hospital, he said. As a mohel, he said he does the procedure much faster in the family home and the baby is never tied down. The procedure also involves a ceremony for Jewish couples. His business website is www.calimohel.com.
Los Gatos Patch: What did you dream of being as a kid?
Rabbi Moshe Trager: Not a mohel. I don’t think I even knew what a mohel was until I was living in Israel in the early 1990s. I wanted to be a chef. I did that, too. I went to culinary school and opened my own kosher restaurant. But now, I really do have my dream job.
Patch: How does your personality play into your business?
Rabbi Trager: I think in any business where you are working in front of potentially a lot of people, it helps to be calm, warm, and confident. I also have a sense of humor, which can help relax stressed-out and sleep-deprived new parents. And I’m empathetic having five kids myself.
Patch: At what moment did you decide to open a business?
Rabbi Trager: I’ve been working as a mohel for almost 20 years. I relocated to the Bay Area from Philadelphia 2½ years ago. I’d never even heard of Los Gatos before then. Now, it’s my home base for the work I do all over Northern California.
Patch: What inspired you?
Rabbi Trager: According to Jewish law, it’s the father’s obligation to circumcise his own son. Most fathers hire a mohel to complete the commandment for them. I thought it would be cool to do it myself. So, I trained with the Chief Mohel of Israel. I spent a lot of time with him and he inspired me to become a professional mohel.
Patch: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in the Town of Los Gatos?
Rabbi Trager: Since I don’t have a storefront, I face different challenges than a storeowner. My challenge is to make people aware that I am here offering a unique service. Not too long ago, I heard about a couple that went to the unnecessary expense of flying in a mohel from Los Angeles because they didn’t know I was here. So, I’m always looking for good ways to get the word out to couples that there is an experienced mohel, living and working in Los Gatos.
Patch: Describe the best thing about owning a business in the town of Los Gatos?
Rabbi Trager: I’m in a great location to reach families in Northern California. On any day I may be in Sacramento, Berkeley, San Francisco or Los Gatos and it’s all an easy drive from here. The best thing about being based in Los Gatos is that I get to come home to beautiful Los Gatos. I have the the , and the in my backyard. Maybe you have to have lived in Philadelphia to realize it’s a slice of heaven here. Well, heaven minus a good Jewish deli.
Patch: What is one thing you would never change about your business?
Rabbi Trager: I would never change the fact that people have the freedom to choose what is right for their son. Fortunately, the proposition was found unconstitutional by the courts and never made the ballot.
Patch: What is your business' greatest asset?
Rabbi Trager: I’m the only full-time mohel in Northern California and I’m the most experienced when it comes to circumcising newborn boys. Plus, unlike other traditional mohels, I’m happy to work with Jewish, interfaith, and alternative couples. No matter your level of observance, I’m happy to make the bris a meaningful part of your life.
Patch: What is your favorite spot in town?
Rabbi Trager: A moment of silence for Borders, which was my favorite spot. Now it’s although I’d never wear Spandex biker shorts.
Patch: What's one thing the community should know about you?