Abraham Mordechai Schachter-Zwirnbaum was the great-grandfather of Denise Azbill, a member of the Skala Research Group [SRG]. By profession, Mordechai Schachter (as he was known) was the shochet or ritual slaughterer for the Jewish community of Skala. His work ensured that the Jews of Skala had kosher meat.
When we began receiving vital records from Europe for our relatives from Skala, two members of SRG were amused and delighted to learn of an unexpected connection between them. It seems that Mordechai Schachter not only was the shochet for Skala’s Jewish community: he also was the community’s mohel. In his capacity as mohel, Mordechai performed the ritual circumcision [Brit Milah] on Skala’s male babies. In page after page of the records we obtained, “M. Schachter” was inscribed in the column naming the baby boys’ mohel. We have documented confirmation that Mordechai served in this capacity at least from 1888 to 1897 and reason to believe that his term of office was much longer.
We already have verified that Mordechai Schachter was mohel at the Brit Milah of Yankel (Jacob) Wiesenthal [grandfather of SRG’s Helene Kenvin] and his brothers Schmiel (Sam) and Moses. As we acquire more records from Europe, we are certain to discover that Denise Azbill’s great-grandfather was the man who ensured that even more of our male ancestors bore the traditional sign of the ancient biblical covenant.