Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Being Jewish is in your heart, not in your penis

A Jewish group is calling for the end of ritual circumcision:

The recent death of a baby boy in New York City has prompted some Jewish groups to call for an end to the practice of male circumcision. City investigators believe the boy died after contracting herpes from an infected mohel who sucked the blood from the baby’s circumcision wound. Two other boys circumcised by the mohel have also contracted herpes, including the dead boy’s twin brother.

Also known as Brit Milah, circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. Although circumcision deaths in the U.S. are rare, the ritual is facing heavy criticism as it becomes synonymous with genital mutilation.

“What happened to this innocent Jewish baby in New York is especially tragic,” said Gillian Flato, Director of Jews Against Circumcision, an international organization of Jews who have re-examined the practice and have found it to be immoral. “I think this is a wake up call for the Jewish community. Are they willing to blindly follow tradition and jeopardize their sons' lives? Circumcision does not make one Jewish. Being born to a Jewish mother makes you Jewish, or a Jewish father in the Reform tradition. Being Jewish is in your heart, not in your penis.”

This is especially true for women.


At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Reuben - London, UK said...

I have 2 points. 1. Surely the issue here is not about circumcision, but about the mohel "sucking the wound". What the hell is that about? I am circumcised and that didn't happen to me, nor to my brother (whos bris I attended). It is this wierd practice that is the problem not circumcision.
My 2nd point is that, if circumcision is so wrong, why do scientists say that being circumcised reduces tha chance of catching Aids by between 4 and 9 times? (my source is a Panorma programme about this subject on the BBC).

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

I don't think that anyone is saying that circumcision is "wrong" just that it is no longer necessary in the modern world. On the AIDS issue, I would imagine that condoms and HIV testing would be much more effective in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger kinsmancove said...

A thorough analysis of both metzitzah b'peh and the medical evidence puts this issue in more perspective. It can be found at the Toward Tradition websie:


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