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Jun-26-2011 14:25printcomments

Jewish Circumcision Opponents Grow More Vocal

“Our essential message is that all Jews do have a choice; we can be fully identified and affiliated as Jews, and fully engaged spiritually in a Jewish context, without circumcising our infants,”

Jewish anti-circumcision movement
Learn more by visiting Beyond the Bris

(MIAMI) - As the legal maneuvering begins in San Francisco over a ballot initiative that seeks to prohibit the non-medically necessary circumcision of minors there, a number of Jewish people opposed to the practice are stepping forward to weigh in on the circumcision question. Earlier this week, the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center of Boston, Massachusetts, or JCRC, (not to be confused with the Jewish Community Relations Counsel) released a Message to Jewish Americans that addressed questioning circumcision from a Jewish point of view.

“Our essential message is that all Jews do have a choice; we can be fully identified and affiliated as Jews, and fully engaged spiritually in a Jewish context, without circumcising our infants,” the statement says. “Our core principles are simple and unambiguous: infants are people; their bodies belong to them alone. Every person should have the right to make an informed decision about the removal or alteration of any normal, healthy, functioning body part when he or she is older.”

The message was signed by several longtime opponents of infant circumcision who are Jewish, including cultural anthropologist Leonard Glick, M.D., Ph.D. and pediatrician Paul Fleiss, M.D., M.P.H.

The JCRC’s message also addressed issues of insensitivity toward Jewish people within the broader movement opposing circumcision. "Unfortunately, there may be statements and tactics by individuals opposed to circumcision that are insensitive and even offensive to many Jews. We regret this and absolutely reject all statements or actions, often based on ignorance, that are disrespectful of any religion or ethnic group," the statement says.

Jonah Lowenfeld of The Jewish Journal of Greater LA yesterday reported on the JCRC’s statement as part of a longer piece on a newly filed lawsuit that seeks to block a vote on the San Francisco initiative.

The Jewish Circumcision Resource Center was founded by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. in the mid-1990s and serves to support the questioning of circumcision among Jews. Goldman says his organization decided to issue the statement because of the increased attention to the topic, accompanied by a general lack of awareness about the harm of circumcision. "There may be a misunderstanding of the reasons why many people question circumcision," Goldman says. "We wanted to clarify that and take the opportunity to raise awareness about the practice." He says he also wanted to assure Jews that questioning circumcision can be done respectfully and compassionately.

In a separate comment which appears on the JCRC web site, Goldman specifically addresses the Foreskin Man comic--but does not name it--which has angered the Jewish community with it’s images of a monster mohel. According to Goldman's comment: “A publication on Jewish circumcision is receiving attention because it is insensitive and offensive to many Jews, and I regret that. Please understand that it represents only the writer who speaks for nobody else. The movement to question circumcision is wide and diverse. There is no organization that controls, or could control, what individuals who oppose circumcision may say or do.”

Goldman began to seriously question circumcision in the 1980s after attending his first Jewish ritual circumcision, or bris. “As one who is very sensitive to the pain experienced by children, I was reluctant to go, but I attended in order not to offend the family,” Goldman says. “I remember the sound of his [the infant’s] cry. I can’t imagine an infant crying any louder or with more agony, pain, and sense of urgency in his voice. Using every bit of energy he had, the infant protested vehemently what was being done to him with the best of adult intentions.”

Goldman was also struck by the response of others in the room. A few people were crying quietly, including the parents. Others were silent. There was an atmosphere of discomfort and anxiety. Goldman retreated to the kitchen, which was the farthest place in the house he could get. “I wanted to protest to others what was happening, but I restrained myself because I believed that people would not listen to me. This conflict caused me much distress. I resolved never to attend another bris,” he says.

Goldman also resolved to do something about what he’d witnessed. He eventually published a book on the harms of circumcision titled Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma, and another book that addressed concerns specific to the Jewish community titled  Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective. Both books have become primers on their subjects.

Today, Goldman is Executive Director of the Circumcision Resource Center, a nonprofit educational organization with the purpose of informing the public and professionals about male circumcision. He maintains the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center as a separate but affiliated web site. Goldman says he feels questioning Jewish circumcision is best accomplished within the Jewish community and this is happening. 


Rebecca Wald, J.D. received her Bachelor of Arts in English from The George Washington University and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Rebecca is a resident of the state of Florida.

Rebecca hosts Beyond the Bris, a web-based multimedia project about the current Jewish movement opposing circumcision. Rebecca's articles compliment the works of writer Hervé Navoiseau and Richard Matteoli and others who write about this important subject.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Anonymous March 28, 2012 3:28 pm (Pacific time)

Heres my take on this entire subject.

I'm not a woman myself, but thats how I feel.

Editor: Really, aren't you extra special in this world?  No, you're not.  Keep your instruments off baby's penises.

Frederick Rhodes June 27, 2011 5:11 am (Pacific time)

San Francisco, like California, is trying to get out of the circumcision trap. The lies promoting infant circumcision as beneficial caused many of it's citizens, like my brother's and I, to grow up with physical and psychological dysfunctions, leading to high prison rates, homelessness, increased long term psychological disorders requiring state funded Medical and sanitariums, increased divorce rates from sexual dysfunctions, higher crime rates, greater drug use, and more non sexual addictions from lack of a healthy sex life like gambling and shopping on credit cards, because of sexual dysfunctions. It is true that every circumcision results in the dysfunction of the prepuce, but not all are radical enough to observe the dysfunctions they cause, so many circumcised men are unaware of other peoples problems and the ignorance is perpetuated. The negative social impact upon nations who become addicted to prepuce excisions is clear. Parents who have been deceived with routine witch doctor medicine, or superstitious religious coven-ants, or myth-illogical rituals, should be prevented from allowing their children's prepuce to be castrated and taught the functions, care, and use of the male and female prepuce so as to receive the benefits of a healthy prepuce. Sorry if my words circumcise your ideology. I know it hurts but not as long as genital mutilation of infants.

Ron Low, Chicago June 26, 2011 10:30 pm (Pacific time)

To say parents should be permitted to do cosmetic amputations on their children is to say MY parents had a right to cut off MY healthy normal sexually valuable parts. That makes me angry. They did NOT. Now I must spend my entire life without knowing the fullness of nature's perfect design. It's madness. It's a human rights atrocity. How can we not be past this yet?

June 26, 2011 7:40 pm (Pacific time)

I found this and am re-posting it:

We have finally come to our senses about the cost of this unnecessary, brutal surgery that is being performed on non-consenting human beings. Now it just needs to be banned.

Infant circumcision is an inexcusable violation. No medical organization in the world recommends the routine cutting of baby boys. And religion simply isn't a valid excuse for mutilating the body of an unwilling person. Muslims cannot have the genitals of their baby girls cut for religious reasons. Boys deserve equal protection under the law.

This barbarity is what pro-cutters support:

Male genital mutilation in America:

Jewish cutting:

Circumcision trauma:

June 26, 2011 7:35 pm (Pacific time)

Colorado lawmakers have decided to cut out Medicaid coverage for newborn circumcision, making them now the seventeenth state to stop subsidizing the snip.
Officials in Colorado claim that the move to skin the procedure from Medicaid-covered procedures would save the state an estimated $186,500 a year. With a budget shortfall of $1 billion expected at the beginning of 2011, many politicians were completely in favor of the decision.
"I think 99 percent of it was completely economic," Republican Senator Kent Lambert tells The Associated Press. “We were just looking at virtually every option and trying to decide what was absolutely urgent now.”
Medicaid payments for circumcisions have already been eliminated in Arizona, Florida, Maine, South Carolina and California.
And while Colorado’s legislation will only keep Medicaid-reliant families from getting their circumcision bills comped, other locales are considering outlawing the practice altogether. In San Francisco, Californians will have the opportunity to vote this September for or against a proposed ban on circumcision, which has some religious leaders outraged.
"It's a measure that would basically infringe upon my rights as a Muslim to practice here," 31-year-old Leticia Preza told ABC News. Preza is among a group of plaintiffs that have followed suit against California saying that a ban on male circumcision would go against a state law that bars local governments from getting in the way of state legislation regarding medical procedures.
"Only the state can make rules about medical procedures and this initiative violates that law. Not only does this initiative waste time, energy and expense, but it also offends the notions of parental rights and freedom of religion. It is unconstitutional and, as we allege in this lawsuit, contrary to California law,” says Anti-Defamation League Associate Director Nancy Appel in a statement.
Another plaintiff, Jeremy Benjamin, says, "As Jews, we take the threat of banning circumcision personally. This measure singles us out, along with the Muslim community, as illegitimate and unwanted in our own city."
Meanwhile, a San Diego activist and artists is showing his full support for the California bill by way of a Web comic called Foreskin Man. In the panels of the comic, a blonde haired, bodysuit-wearing superhero saves infants from being circumcised by Jewish mohels. Appel adds about the comic’s “hero” that “he is bloodthirsty just like the grotesque Jewish stereotypes that appeared in Nazi propaganda."
The book’s author, Matthew Hess, founded MGMbill, national organization that stands to fight male genital mutilation. MBMbill was instrumental in getting the circumcision bill into San Francisco voting booths this year.
If the law passes in San Francisco, scalpel-wielding docs could face up to a year in jail if caught furrowing foreskin.

Anonymous June 26, 2011 7:52 pm (Pacific time)

My sister chose not to circumcise my nephew and had doctor after doctor go into her room trying to pressure her. They said that it was unhygienic and the he would get infections growing up. It was as if they had never known boys not to have the procedure who grew up just fine. I had to go to Wikipedia to learn why the Jews have the bris (Brit milah):

In the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 17:1-14) circumcision was enjoined by God to the Biblical patriarch Abraham, an act to be followed by his descendants:

Abram was 99 years old. God appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty. Walk before Me and be perfect. I will make a covenant between Me and you, and I will increase your numbers very much.' [...] This is My covenant between Me, and between you and your offspring that you must keep: You must circumcise every male. You shall be circumcised through the flesh of your foreskin. This shall be the mark of the covenant between Me and you. 'Throughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old. [This shall include] those born in your house, as well as [slaves] bought with cash from an outsider, who is not your descendant. [All slaves,] both houseborn and purchased with your money must be circumcised. This shall be My covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant. (Genesis 17:1-14)


Anonymous June 26, 2011 7:42 pm (Pacific time)

I also found this and am re-posting it:

It is a little known fact that the USA is the ONLY country in the world where routine infant circumcision is practiced for non-religous reasons. The reason for this is mysterious. One's first thought is jewish influence over the US medical profession. But it is apparently partly due to a 19th century christian fundamentalist obsession with masterbation, and an erroneous belief that circumcision "cured" it.

Unwilling to admit that they have been robbed (and have robbed others) of part of their "manhood," generations of doctors have produced junk science purporting to show the "benefits" of circumcision. (Benefits the rest of the world doesn't seem to recognize) In fact no parent or doctor really seems to know why they keep mutilating male babies, except "it's standard practice." Kind of reminds you of tribes in Africa.

And given their domination over US culture and politics, it also seems a potent and humiliating reminder, every time an American drops his pants, of his country's total subordination and enslavement to jewish interests.

See: A split decision over circumcision -

Thank you, please post information like this as often as you would like!  

Anonymous June 26, 2011 6:35 pm (Pacific time)

"The after market for human foreskin is where the real money is made." See:

"Human Foreskins are Big Business for Cosmetics" See:

And - Just four days ago: F.D.A. Approves Cell Therapy for Wrinkles See:

Greg June 26, 2011 3:56 pm (Pacific time)

I'm cut, hate it, and woulda said no. Their prepuce their choice. I'm restoring my foreskin: tlctugger . com No medical org in the world recommends infant circ. Keep em whole like 80% world's men. Intact+ Religion info: drmomma . org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

A Jew Against Circumcision June 26, 2011 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

"I believe circumcision is a major mistake...The code of the Jewish law is called "halacha" (the way). Within the Code, there is a provision that if a mother looses a son because of circumcision, she is NOT obligated to circumcise her next son. I extrapolate from this, the inter-connection of my human family, that enough deaths and maiming have occured because of circumcision. Therefore - circumcision is no longer a requisite! Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition. "
- Rabbi Natan Segal, 2007
Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, Marin County, California, U.S.A.
Ordination: 1977 Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Yeshiva B'nai Or Philadelphia, Pa.

Editor: Thank you Rabbis for dropping by.

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