Jewish rite no longer is solely in men's hands

With a surgeon's steady hand and a Jewish mother's heart, Dr. Carol Gerson placed baby Hudson Firsel on a kitchen table and delicately made the incision that bonds him to the Jewish people. Full Story
anon

United States

#1 Sep 28, 2008
Judaism is a religion. Religion is an action of the mind which requires the use of language. A newborn who has not gained the use of any language is not physically (not to mention legally!) capable of being a member of any religion, or none; and is certainly not capable of consenting to circumcision. Something done to a person's physical body without his consent or understanding cannot possibly mark him as a member of a religion, which requires his verbal understanding and voluntary participation. It may be a powerful Jewish event for the adults. But it is nothing more than physical pain for the baby. It's an "indelible physical mark" of coercion and attempted brainwashing. Because adults did this to you when you were a baby, you are supposed to adhere to their religion? Where is your freedom of thought? Even if it were not mutilation, circumcision as presented here has absolutely no logical argument behind it. Except for bona fide medical necessity, no one has any right to mutilate a person's body without his legally adult consent.
Suze

Salisbury, MD

#2 Sep 28, 2008
In Genesis, Abraham is commanded by
G-d to circumcise himself, his child, and the males of his household. In Judaism, circumcision is a sign of the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people. Judaism is not a faith-based religion like Christianity where one has to consent to certain beliefs in order to be a member of a religion. In Judaism, a child born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, enters into the covenant by virtue of circumcision if he is male, and remains a Jew unless he or she actively converts to another religion either by baptism or whatever is requred of other religions or is married in a religious ceremony that is not a Jewish ceremony.

While I understand your point of view, it does not take into account the Jewish way of looking at things. While I also understand your point of view regarding physical pain, and from what I've seen of circumcisions in hospitals, I'd have to agree, if a circumcision by a mohel is done correctly, the pain is minimal. I know with my sons, it was very quick, they were in my arms immediately thereafter, contently nursing and not crying any more. This is very unlike what I saw in hospitals where the babies were left to cry by themselves.
anon

Chicago, IL

#3 Sep 29, 2008
Suze wrote:
In Genesis, Abraham is commanded by
G-d to circumcise himself, his child, and the males of his household. In Judaism, circumcision is a sign of the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people. Judaism is not a faith-based religion like Christianity where one has to consent to certain beliefs in order to be a member of a religion. In Judaism, a child born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, enters into the covenant by virtue of circumcision if he is male, and remains a Jew unless he or she actively converts to another religion either by baptism or whatever is requred of other religions or is married in a religious ceremony that is not a Jewish ceremony.
While I understand your point of view, it does not take into account the Jewish way of looking at things. While I also understand your point of view regarding physical pain, and from what I've seen of circumcisions in hospitals, I'd have to agree, if a circumcision by a mohel is done correctly, the pain is minimal. I know with my sons, it was very quick, they were in my arms immediately thereafter, contently nursing and not crying any more. This is very unlike what I saw in hospitals where the babies were left to cry by themselves.
Comments like yours are why people like me hide behind anonymity. The rules of logic come from reality and are for ALL people, not just non-Jews. No one can decide what someone else's religious affiliation is! Your criteria for exiting from other-defined Judaism doesn't include the person's declaration of agnosticism or atheism. And "minimal pain" is not "no pain without informed consent" by the infant. Endlessly saying 'this is what Jewish law says' doesn't make an idea either logical, moral, or factually correct.
Agh

Crystal Lake, IL

#4 Sep 29, 2008
Ramirez: There is an anti-semitic tone to your article. "Most Jews hold the image of the mohel to be a bearded Rabbi type..." WRONG - most mohels are not. If you didn't want to do the article, say so and have someone who can be impartial write about this.
And: the blurb in the Sunday issue of the Tribune has a GLARING error. Rosh Hashanah welcomes the New Year of 5769, not 5,769. YOU don't go around saying 2,008, do you? Geez.
merlelynn

Skokie, IL

#5 Oct 3, 2008
anon wrote:
Judaism is a religion. Religion is an action of the mind which requires the use of language. A newborn who has not gained the use of any language is not physically (not to mention legally!) capable of being a member of any religion, or none; and is certainly not capable of consenting to circumcision. Something done to a person's physical body without his consent or understanding cannot possibly mark him as a member of a religion, which requires his verbal understanding and voluntary participation. It may be a powerful Jewish event for the adults. But it is nothing more than physical pain for the baby. It's an "indelible physical mark" of coercion and attempted brainwashing. Because adults did this to you when you were a baby, you are supposed to adhere to their religion? Where is your freedom of thought? Even if it were not mutilation, circumcision as presented here has absolutely no logical argument behind it. Except for bona fide medical necessity, no one has any right to mutilate a person's body without his legally adult consent.
And, you have a right to your opinion but I disagree with it. I suspect we'd disagree on many things, for you don't seem to have respect for anything but your opinion.
appalled

London, UK

#6 Oct 3, 2008
We know now, through advances in biological science, that a baby's degree of pain and distress may not always be fully represented by his (or her) facial expressions or degree of crying - sometimes they just shut down in order to try to evade pain, but their blood shows the biological evidence of deep trauma. Even if we didn't know this, is it really decent behaviour to say 'he didn't cry much when i sliced off the most sensitive part of his genitals, and it's an ancient rite so that makes it ok,...'?

It's quite unbelievable to have people say this in a first world country in the 21st century. For the apologists above to begin to understand how wrong they are, they just need to imagine exactly the same cut but on a female victim - immediately even they see it's an act of horrifying ancient brutality. As an illustration look at the New York Times article 20th January 2008 about FGM in Indonesia (which typically removes a small slice of her clitoral foreskin and has been referred to as 'The Indonesian Bris').

Women there are just as committed to cutting little girl's sexual parts as these Reform Mohelet are committed to cutting little boys sexual parts. Both types of victim bleed, both scream, both lose precious prepuce without consent in the name of an ritual whose origins are lost in time and go back way beyond Abraham or Mohammed. The main difference as far as I can see is that the little Muslim girls don't get a wine soaked rag put in their mouth to shut them up.
rezasantorini

Skokie, IL

#7 Oct 4, 2008
appalled wrote:
We know now, through advances in biological science, that a baby's degree of pain and distress may not always be fully represented by his (or her) facial expressions or degree of crying - sometimes they just shut down in order to try to evade pain, but their blood shows the biological evidence of deep trauma. Even if we didn't know this, is it really decent behaviour to say 'he didn't cry much when i sliced off the most sensitive part of his genitals, and it's an ancient rite so that makes it ok,...'?
It's quite unbelievable to have people say this in a first world country in the 21st century. For the apologists above to begin to understand how wrong they are, they just need to imagine exactly the same cut but on a female victim - immediately even they see it's an act of horrifying ancient brutality. As an illustration look at the New York Times article 20th January 2008 about FGM in Indonesia (which typically removes a small slice of her clitoral foreskin and has been referred to as 'The Indonesian Bris').
Women there are just as committed to cutting little girl's sexual parts as these Reform Mohelet are committed to cutting little boys sexual parts. Both types of victim bleed, both scream, both lose precious prepuce without consent in the name of an ritual whose origins are lost in time and go back way beyond Abraham or Mohammed. The main difference as far as I can see is that the little Muslim girls don't get a wine soaked rag put in their mouth to shut them up.
You obviously don't know much about the difference in boys and girls biology/

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