Certified Mohel Serving NYC & the Tri-State Area Since 1997 || Call or Text 212-316-4784

Rabbi Zachary Hepner

Dear Parents,

Mazal Tov on the birth of your new baby boy! My name is Zachary Hepner. I am a Rabbi and a certified New York mohel. This is a very exciting time for you, your family, and your new baby boy. You may have many questions and concerns relating to your son’s bris and I am here to guide you. I will carefully help you through the process ensuring that you have peace of mind that your son’s bris is performed as safely and as pain free as possible. You should feel comforted knowing that I have been performing brit milah for 27 years. Additionally, my goal is to conduct a warm and spiritual ceremony so everyone attending will be moved. Thank you for visiting and I look forward to blessing you, your family and your new son!

Mazal Tov,

About Rabbi Hepner

Rabbi Hepner lives with his family in New York City. He has been a certified mohel since 1997 and performs brit milah for a wide spectrum of the community. He approaches his responsibilities as a mohel seriously, carrying out the mitzvah with sensitivity, dignity and in as beautiful a way as possible to minimize any discomfort. He is known among parents and visitors who are religiously diverse for instilling a sense of comfort and enrichment. He is held in such high regard that he has been invited all over the world to perform brit milah. Rabbi Hepner is in touch with parents following each bris and is always available to respond to individual questions or concerns.

Rabbi Hepner received some of the most rigorous and in depth training possible. He was personally selected and trained by the prestigious Chief Mohel of Israel, Rabbi Yossele Weisberg zt”l, in an intimate one on one apprenticeship and rotation at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. His certification is issued by The Israeli Rabbinate and The Israeli Department of Health. His ordination is from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. In addition to being a practicing Rabbi & mohel, Rabbi Zachary Hepner graduated from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. He also received his MA in Engineering from UCLA, an MA in academic Talmud from Yeshiva University and an MBA from the University of Arizona. Additionally, Rabbi Hepner is a scholar of Jewish history specializing in antiquity and medieval periods. He continues to be one of the most sought after mohalim in NYC and travels throughout the United States.


“​We are very happy with the circumcisions Rabbi Zachary Hepner performed on all our sons. We found him reliable and helpful with our logistic and religious requests.”​

– A&R Gross
Englewood, NJ

“Rabbi Hepner did the bris for my son. I was pleased with his quality care, technique, medical standards, bed side manner and caring attitude he had towards myself, my husband and my son.”​

– H. Malina, M.D.
Teaneck, NJ

“He was great to work with and did a great job.”

– S. Furer, M.D.
Teaneck, NJ

“Rabbi Hepner was sensitive to the religious and cultural backgrounds of both sides of our family. My wife and I were happy with the circumcision he did on our first son and our second son, five years later.”​

– J. Abroon, M.D
New York, NY

“​Zachary Hepner did a wonderful job on all 3 of my boys. I recommend him highly.”​

– J. Rosentstock, M.D.
Westchester, NY

“Rabbi Hepner did such a good job with our first son that when we had our second we used him again. Couldn’t be happier and have recommended him to all my friends.”

– E. & Y. Mandelbaum
New York, NY

Frequently Asked Questions

For initial communication with Rabbi Hepner, please text Rabbi Hepner the following text message to (212) 316-4784:

Expecting parents:
“Hi Rabbi, My name is                        , our due date is (   date   .)  We are seeking a bris/holistic circumcision/baby girl naming. We would like it to take place at (    address    .) Please call us back to discuss.

Postpartum parents:
“Hi Rabbi, My name is                     . We had a baby at (   date & time   .) We are seeking a bris/holistic circumcision/baby girl naming to take place at (   address   .) Please call us back.”

Please note: Messages received on Shabbat will be returned Saturday night.

I make sure that my ceremony is inclusive of all family members and friends present. I take particular care to explain and translate all of the prayers, and I explain all of my actions. I take steps to include family members of different religions and cultures when the bris is performed for an interfaith family. This should be a bonding experience.  My circumcisions adhere to the highest medical and sanitary standards and use state of the art equipment minimizing pain and procedural time, while maximizing safety and precision.

While I have performed bris milah without any crying, such an occurrence is rare but possible.  I have developed a protocol that minimizes the pain of the procedure. These protocols include, systemic and local topical anesthetics, proper handling of the baby, speed of the circumcision and technique used, and carefully given instructions for the post circumcision aftercare.

I am a traditional, modern mohel.  I perform brisses and circumcisions for families of all backgrounds (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Sephardic and Ashkenazic), Interfaith, Alternative and secular families. Including hatafat dam brit milah, and Baby Naming ceremonies for girls.

In addition to being a rabbi, I have been performing Jewish circumcisions for almost 3 decades. My certification followed my 1997 rotation at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with the Chief Mohel of Israel. In addition to standard circumcisions, my proficiency also includes circumcisions for infants with abnormalities of male genitalia (hypospadias etc…), rare but necessary emergency post bris care, and dealing with neurotic UES grandparents.

Rabbi Hepner is a cantor, ba’al qe’riah (professional torah reader), and ba’al tekiah (shofar blower), and has led Jewish ritual services since 1993. In addition to zeved ha’bat (זבד הבת, simchat ha’bat baby girl naming ceremonies), he leads high holiday services, delivers sermons, lectures, performs weddings, and conducts Shabbat services. As cantor, he has flown to San Diego, Los Angeles, Hollywood Fl and Las Vegas, while he works primarily in the New York area.

Over the centuries, naming a baby boy and girl has evolved from a pro forma ritual into a more robust religious and meaningful experience. Zeved habat (Hebrew: זֶבֶד הַבָּת – Gift of the Daughter) or Simchat Bat (Hebrew: שמחת בת‎ – Celebration of the Daughter) is the Jewish naming ceremony for newborn girls. The traditional ceremony includes verses from Song of Songs, (Shir Hashirim שיר השירים ), followed by the traditional naming text.

Rabbi Hepner writes: I have arranged an optional ceremony that is even more robust (it could last over twenty minutes), with the intention of including the baby’s mother as an integral part of the ceremony with blessings and gratitude for the Almighty’s benevolence. Such a life cycle event ought to be meaningful and that is the intended purpose.

The pidyon haben (Hebrew: פדיון הבן), or redemption of the first-born son, is one of the 613 mitzvot still performed today, but infrequently observed because so many circumstances need to align to activate the mitzvah. By my estimate, less than 1 out of 24 (of my clients qualify for this rare mitzvah. Pidyon haben is performed on Hebrew-day 31 or later. For example, if a baby is born on a Sunday, the 1st of March (prior to sunset), then the pidyon haben takes place no earlier (but may be celebrated later) than the evening of Monday night, the 30th of March.

Reach out to Rabbi Hepner to find out if this special mitzvah applies to your family.

Rabbi Hepner performs weddings, with the goal of attending to the spiritual and emotional goals of the new couple. Meeting with Rabbi Hepner in person is strongly recommended and welcomed.

  • A certification by a brit milah board
  • Bedside manner
  • Religous training, personal observance and professional knowledgeable about and adherence to halakha, Jewish law
  • Years of experience, and having performed hundreds, if not thousands, of brisses
  • The ability to perform a quick circumcision while minimizing pain and maximizing precision
  • The modern septic techniques including proper sterilization, usually by autoclave, and the use of surgical gloves
  • Commitment to punctuality and to staying after the bris to explain aftercare instructions in detail
  • Sensitivity to all family issues and concerns

Bris Milah, ritual Jewish circumcision, is one of the most fundamental precepts of the Jewish religion. It is referred to in the Torah as The Covenant of Abraham, since our forefather Abraham was the first to receive the commandment concerning circumcision from God 4000 years ago. The medical procedure of circumcision is an important, but not the only, part. A bris takes your baby boy and and bonds him to thousands of years of tradition in the presence of family and friends. A bris can be a catered affair in a restaurant or hotel room, or a private ceremony with just the parents and baby.

As reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 1999, neo-natal circumcision helps protects against:

  • urinary tract infections
  • penile cancer
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • balanoposthisis (infection of the glans)
  • phimosis (failure of the foreskin to retract)
  • ease of genital hygiene

My ceremony is both traditional and enlightening.  In addition to the rituals recited in Hebrew, which take about three minutes, I include a brief speech to make the ritual relevant to the parents a family present. I always make sure everything present understands everything that is going on. The circumcision, which takes approximately 1 minute, is performed towards the end.  The entire ceremony lasts approximately 10 minutes.  My goal is for you and your family to have a meaningful life cycle ritual and gain a deeper appreciation of this awesome mitzvah.  A minyan present at a brit mila is optional and up the the parents.

Several honors are optionally given during the ceremony, usually bestowed upon the relatives and close friends of the baby’s family.

The couples who carry the baby in. This is often designated for grandmothers and great grandmothers.

Kisei Shel Eliyahu:
The person who places the baby on the chair designated for Elijah the Prophet. This may be split into multiple honors.

The person who holds the baby during the Bris ceremony. This is often designated to a grandfather.

​Amidah l’brachot or Standing Sandak:
The person who holds the baby during the naming. This is often designated to a grandfather.

​Brachos, Krias Ha’shem:
The person who recites the blessings and names the baby. This can be split into multiple honors and is often recited by the moyel.

When a healthy baby is born before sunset, then day 8 is the same day of the following week.
Example: A healthy baby boy is born on Wednesday at 7:00am. Day 8 is the following Wednesday.
When a healthy baby is born after sunset, day 8 is the next day the following week.
Example: A healthy baby boy is born on Wednesday at 10:00pm. Day 8 is the following Thursday.
When a healthy baby is born on Shabbat, the majority of Brisses are done on day 9, which is the next Sunday. Rabbi Hepner will ask a few questions and determine which is the proper day for the bris to take place.

Bring the following supplies to the bris:
Place all the following items (except the pillow) into one consolidated bag

  1. Diapers and baby wipes
  2. A+D ointment and Bacitracin ointment
  3. Hand sanitizer, such as Purell
  4. Small box of gauze pads at least 3″x3″
    6 disposable diapers and plenty of baby wipes
    1 swaddling blanket
    1-3 burp cloths or receiving blankets
  5. Manischewitz Concord Grape Kosher wine
  6. 1-2 pillows, standard size, heavy preferred. Pillowcases may be any color.
  7. If the bris is taking place outside the home, have two chairs, a table (card table size or larger) and a waste basket available.
  8. A few yarmulkes (kippot), 2 prayer shawls (talis) and a pillow. This is for Bris clients, holistic circumcision clients may skip #8.
  9. 1 pack of clear plastic shot glasses. This is for Bris clients, holistic circumcision clients may skip #9
  10. Print this Post Bris Care document and bring it to the bris
  1. The Hebrew/Jewish (Yiddish, Ladino, etc.) names of the father, mother and baby are needed for the ceremony. Inform me whether the father or mother of the baby is descended paternally from a Kohen or Levi.  A naming ceremony is part of the Brit Milah ceremony.
  2. Please do not feed the baby about one hour before the brit milah. The baby may be fed right after the ceremony.
  3. To reduce the baby’s discomfort, he may suck on a gauze pad dipped in kosher sweet wine before and after the Brit Milah ceremony. Parents who decline this option may give him sweet kosher grape juice.
  4. Please confirm the date, time and location of the Brit Milah with the mohel before informing your guests. Also, please make sure no one else in the family is making arrangements with another mohel. Typically, the ceremony begins around 30 minutes after the announced time.
  5. A Brit Milah can be postponed at any time (including the day of the ceremony) if there is any question about the health of the baby.
  6. Some families have a traditional or heirloom bris baby outfit for the ceremony. Families who do not plan on using a sentimental or traditional outfit should dress the baby simply for the ceremony. A gown, stretchy or kimono is fine; please avoid outfits with many small buttons or the “zipper from the neck to the foot” outfit.  Instead of a t-shirt underneath, use a onesie.
  7. A minyan (quorum of ten) is preferred, but not required. The appointing of Godparents is not a Jewish tradition. We do not have godparents for boys or for girls. In Judaism, the parents are responsible for the religious upbringing of the child. It is also a common misnomer to call the Sandak (the one who holds the baby for the Bris) the godfather. The word Sandak comes from the Greek word “syndikos” which means patron. Therefore, you may appoint as many godparents as you wish or none at all. If it will keep peace in the family by appointing godparents, then do it. Otherwise, skip it. It is up to the individual discretion of the parents.
  8. It is recommended that certified kosher food (not kosher-style) be ordered so all of the guests may partake of the seudat mitsvah (festive meal) after the ceremony.
  9. Photography or videotaping is not permitted while the baby’s diaper is off nor if the Brit Milah occurs on a Shabbat or Jewish holiday.
Rabbi Zachary Hepner

Contact Rabbi Hepner today to arrange your son's bris

While you can call Rabbi Hepner to arrange your son’s bris after he is born, it is best to both call and text him ahead of time to have everything arranged beforehand.