Colorado Mohel Records Index - Updated 12/19/2010
To date, the Colorado Mohel Records Index includes the circumcision records of Dr. John Elsner (1867-1905) and Rabbi Leopold Freudenthal (1874-1909).
Elsner was based in Denver but travelled throughout what was Colorado Territory and Wyoming performing circumcisions. There are 169 entries in this digitized copy of a handwritten journal. Organized by date of each circumcision, the male child’s Jewish name, his father’s English first and last names, the age of the child on that date and the location of the ritual are included. All entries were written in English but Jewish names were variations in the spelling of traditionally Hebrew or Yiddish names. The original manuscript is held at DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Rabbi Freudenthal was the rabbi for the reform Congregation Aaron in Trinidad, Colorado. The original copy of this circumcision registry is held at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati. 224 entries are included in a digitized copy of the original handwritten journal. The Jewish name of the male child and his father’s first and last names in English are included.
According to descendants and local historical accounts, other Colorado mohels included:
1) Other early circumcisions might have been performed by Dr. D.O. Heimberger or Rabbi Elkin of Temple Emanuel. (Uchill p. 45) The existence of these records is unknown.
2) After 1880, it is likely that the Orthodox used the shochet Rabbi Arager for circumcisions (p. 225 Uchill).
3) Dov Rubin (of Jerusalem, Israel) corresponds that his great grandfather Berel Wolf KIMMEL was a mohel in Denver for five years during the 1890s before returning to Kishinev by 1899.
4) Werner S. Prenzlau, M.D. was known as the “flying mohel” who traversed 12 states in 30 years circa 1949-1979 (Shapiro p. 132).
5) Ivan Geller and Jay Feder (303) 534-0251 were contemporary mohels.
6) JGSCO members Gail Dym and Sandy Lustig tell us that Charles HELLER was a mohel in Denver circa 1930-1965 and that other mohels were Btzeil BARASH and Yankel GORDON.
7) JewishGen lists four Colorado Jewish gravestone inscriptions with the words mohel. These may provide clues to the identity of other local mohels. These are the gravestones of 1) Rev. Jacob Gorden, died 1977 - "Head and gabbai of the congregation, shokhet and mohel." 2) Deborah Pelton, died 1893 - "Devora bat David the mohel(?)." 3) Rev. Max Robinson 4) Rev Jacob Tamarkin, died 1919 - "Yaakov Tamarkin shochet and mohel ben reb David."
8) Currently practicing Denver mohels are Dr. Kenneth Katz (303) 779-3013 and Dr. Sheldon Ciner (303) 377-9773.
These and other Colorado mohel records have not been identified. If you have information about the whereabouts of historical mohel records, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for JGSCO volunteers to help with creating a searchable online index to them.