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  #1  
November 10th, 2005, 01:27 PM
Sunflower_Mommy2003's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Bris Backlash

Some Jews are going against tradition and not circumcising their baby boys.

An increasing number of Jews oppose circumcision, and many of them are holding alternative ceremonies to welcome baby boys into the Jewish community without circumcising them. Many Jews say circumcision is a crucial commandment, handed down since the time of Abraham, and that an uncircumcised boy is not Jewish and cannot participate in Jewish rituals such as marriage. But anti-circumcision activists and an increasing number of "regular" Jews say that the removal of the foreskin is not a prerequisite for living a Jewish life. Authority once rested with rabbis and tradition, but increasingly--as with many religious communities--"authority" today rests in the personal beliefs and decisions of the individual Jew.

Jews have for millennia circumcised their male babies when they are eight days old (or later, if there is a health-related reason to postpone the ceremony). In place of the traditional circumcision, "Intactivists," the name of the movement of Jews who oppose circumcision, have created various forms of a "brit shalom." These rituals are designed to welcome the baby boy into the covenant of the Jewish community without removing the infant's foreskin.[/b]
Circumcision Choices

http://www.noharmm.org/choices.htm

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center

http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/

THE GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED by Moses Maimonides, translated by Shlomo Pines. University of Chicago, 1963.

http://www.cirp.org/library/cultural/maimonides/

The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments

http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/moss.html

Bris B’lee Milah

http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/bris_shalom.html

Bris Shalom

http://www.notjustskin.org/en/BritShalom.html

Bris Shalom Ceremony

http://www.nocircofmi.org/Bris%20Shalom.htm

Jewish Circumcision Referrences:

http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish2.html

Brit without Milah

http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish.html

Circumcision for Religious Reasons

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/religious.htm

Jews Against Circumcision

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

Circumcision: A Source of Jewish Pain

http://jewishcircumcision.org/spectator.htm

Bris Shalom Celebrants/Providers in the US

http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish-shalom.html

Alternative Bris Support Group

http://www.fathermag.com/health/circ/bris/

HTHs those exploring this option!



Jen
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  #2  
November 10th, 2005, 09:17 PM
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Ashley - you were asking - did you see this thread?
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http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.acts15.org/

Galatians 5:2: Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 2:21: I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
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  #3  
November 11th, 2005, 05:45 AM
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bumping for Ashley....
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  #4  
March 11th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Sunflower_Mommy2003's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Here's a wonderful link that contains many personal stories from Jewish families who struggled with the circumcision decision, many of whom decided to forego the procedure:

Berkely Parents Network: Advice About Circumcision

A few examples:

Quote:
I am Jewish, and we chose not to circumcise our son. For us, the family pressure didn't last too long. My parents were sceptical but are generally very good about being hands-off since they know that our parenting style is way different than what they would do. What I was really surprised at was that my sister was ADAMANT that we HAD to circumcise. We held firm, and told her (in a non-confrontational way) that we thought it would be cruel, and that the research did not support it being medically beneficial. She backed off eventually and doesn't mention it.

On the bigger issue of family pressure about parenting decisions... we definitely get it from both sides, about various issues (my parents don't understand that we don't want our son to have EVERY toy in the world, my husband's mom thinks I'm doing my toddler a disservice by still breastfeeding). We are just firm - this is what we want to do, and thanks for the advice but we're doing it differently. Jen

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am a Jewish woman raised in a fairly nonobservant household. My partner is a completely assimilated Jewish man whose mother didn't identify as Jewish at the time he was born and didn't circumcise him. We chose not to circumcise our son despite pretty heavy pressure at the time from some family members, including my mother-in-law (!), who felt that he ''wouldn't be Jewish'' unless circumcised. We told critics that we would agree to disagree with them, that we were the people who were supposed to make the decisions like this, and that if he really wanted to have a circumcision later he could get one himself (with anesthetic!). When he was 3 weeks old we had a naming ceremony where we explained his name and everyone held the baby and said a wish for him, and it felt wonderful to have our community gather and help launch our son.

I did ask a rabbi (Reconstructionist) about it later and she said of course males can be Jewish even if uncircumcised. It has been helpful to have that information sometimes in responding to comments. As far as the family stuff, it was hard, but when we decided the same thing about our second son the naysayers didn't bother us. And all the relatives love the boys.

Good luck with your decision.
been there, more or less

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I could have written your message 5 1/2 years ago, except I didn't know until birth whether I was having a boy or a girl. Though I certainly had an earful from my parents ahead of time, they couldn't pressure me that much without knowing the sex of the baby. (That and the fact that they were 3000 miles away, and I could just hang up the phone!) Their arguments about having a Bris just didn't hold up for me, plus on the West coast about 70% of baby boys are NOT circumcised, so I knew he would hardly be an oddball growing up with an uncircumcised penis.

I decided ahead of time to arrange to have a baby naming ceremony, in our home, on the eighth day after the birth. I was in grad school at the time (not in the Bay Area), and not a member of a temple, but I got the name of a rabbi who was accostomed to dealing with interfaith couples. He came to the house, did a nice ceremony with a few friends and my parents, and gave us a beautiful certificate with our son's Hebrew name. My parents made a donation to his temple, and all were happy.

My parents ended up being very happy with the naming ceremony (and they got their ''bris-fix'' with my sister's two boys in the last three years), and frankly I think they were surprised that there could be a religious ceremony without the bris -- with three daughters, they'd never had a naming ceremony for any of us.

My advice is, do what feels right for you. Five years later, my parents havn't mentioned anything to me about it since, and my son is so far unaware that he is the only known uncircumcised member of my family for generations. Tara[/b]
Lots more personal stories/experiences available at that link!

This much is certain: If your family is Jewish, and you decide to have a cut-free naming ceremony, you will not be alone.



Jen
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  #5  
March 11th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Jen, I LOVE that concept of welcoming the baby by washing his feet. That's really beautiful.
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  #6  
March 20th, 2006, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Mothering Magazine: “My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin”

http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby...ion/my-son.html

What I found shocked me. There were stories of Jews from all over the United States who had decided not to circumcise their children. Not only were they talking about it, they were making it seem ok. And most importantly, they were still accepted in the Jewish community. I couldn't believe it. For the first time, I let myself really consider not circumcising my son. I also let myself read the circumcision boards at Mothering.com (which are decidedly anti-circumcision). I even found a few Jewish moms there who had kept their sons intact. I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of typing.

When you take the religion out of circumcision, and really look at what the procedure actually involves, it is easy to see why more and more people are choosing to leave their sons intact. I thank my lucky stars for the Internet and the information it provided me on circumcision (as well as a million other mommy related questions). The Internet has allowed me to question the status quo; to find out why things are they way they are. A privilege our foremothers did not have. For me, the mere thought of giving birth to my precious baby at home without any medical intervention and then cutting off a part of his body eight days later just seemed absurd. I told myself that if G-d created my son with a foreskin, then he was going to keep it.[/b]
Quote:
InterfaithFamily.Com: Why I Am Not Having My Sons Circumcised, by Dawn Friedman

http://www.interfaithfamily.com/site/apps/...97369&ct=323098

I am a child of interfaith parents now creating my own interfaith family. I know very well that one's journey to God is a very personal, individual one. I prayed hard about the issue of circumcision as I was studying for my conversion. I realized that as much as I wanted my children to be Jewish in a way that I could not, to be Jewish from the start, that I was confusing my own path with theirs. My son's legacy, like my own, is one of diversity. I do not feel that I can make the decision to change his body knowing that there is a possibility that it will not have spiritual meaning for him as an adult.

I wanted to be Jewish, and that is why I converted. Judaism is my path. I feel good about that decision for myself and I feel good about orienting my son on that path. We wanted Noah to be educated as a Jew and that is why we converted him. I want him to begin his journey in a place that my husband and myself can understand and support. However, where that path will finally lead him is between him and God.[/b]
(The following letter from a father to his son is a heartwrenching read about a decision that still haunts him.)

Quote:
RitualWell.Org: Struggling With Circumcision, anonymous.
Originally published in Reconstructionism Today, Vol. 11, No. 3, Spring-Summer 2004

http://www.ritualwell.org/lifecycles/babie...sionArticle.xml

I held you and whispered to you as the mohel did his job. He and the rabbi and I were the only people with you. Most Jewish parents gather family and friends for a bris. We couldn't. Your mom waited in the backyard, and I whispered to you as the other two men prayed. Then the mohel strapped you down. You began wailing, and it felt like a nightmare to me. At the last moment I imagined grabbing the mohel's hands and stopping him and pushing him out of the house. But we had made a decision and, unbelievably, I let him cut you.

You cried and I cried. I got you to your mom's arms and she offered you her breast. The experienced mohel had wanted to hold you himself and "sing you to sleep." We declined, not wanting to hush you after what you'd been through. We held you and cried with you on and off into the after-noon. Crying was your only way to communicate, and we felt we needed to hear it. When you slept, we cried more. Partly we cried from shame, for allowing this.

You were perfect, and we let the mohel cut you. I've never felt so terrible.

We spent the rest of the day hovering near you, feeling sick. You were uncomfortable the whole day, fretful for longer. Before today, we had gotten to know you as a relaxed person, calm and trusting. It might sound silly, years later, but we worried that we had changed you forever.

Right now, as I write this, what we did feels like a mistake. I shudder thinking about it.[/b]
Peace to those who face this choice,

Jen
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  #7  
March 21st, 2006, 09:10 PM
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Great to know so many precious little Jewish babies are being gently welcomed into the world.
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http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.acts15.org/

Galatians 5:2: Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 2:21: I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
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  #8  
April 29th, 2006, 03:37 AM
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I think that it is brilliant that this is occuring in ever-greater numbers. I am rather worried that many seem to see the circumcision as an exclusive covenant which can not be achieved in any other way. Any ideas for opposing that view? It seems a matter of personal faith and that is never very easy to alter...
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  #9  
April 29th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
I think that it is brilliant that this is occuring in ever-greater numbers. I am rather worried that many seem to see the circumcision as an exclusive covenant which can not be achieved in any other way. Any ideas for opposing that view? It seems a matter of personal faith and that is never very easy to alter...[/b]

If you really want to explore this topic I would suggest perhaps contacting one of the links for Jewish Intactivists. I have wrestled with this question myself and ultimately decided - personally for me - the most effective awareness for Jewish Intactivism comes from within the Jewish community itself and me not being a member tend to concentrate my efforts in other areas. (Of course I do offer the common courtesy of mentioning the Jewish Intactivism Movements where appropro, their perspectives, experiences, quotations, etc. ) Many many Intactivist leaders are Jewish, I have become acquainted and/or aware of Jewish men online who are unhappy they were circed, and they would be better to ask I think... what do you think?
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http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.acts15.org/

Galatians 5:2: Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.

Galatians 2:21: I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
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  #10  
April 29th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
If you really want to explore this topic I would suggest perhaps contacting one of the links for Jewish Intactivists. I have wrestled with this question myself and ultimately decided - personally for me - the most effective awareness for Jewish Intactivism comes from within the Jewish community itself and me not being a member tend to concentrate my efforts in other areas. (Of course I do offer the common courtesy of mentioning the Jewish Intactivism Movements where appropro, their perspectives, experiences, quotations, etc. ) Many many Intactivist leaders are Jewish, I have become acquainted and/or aware of Jewish men online who are unhappy they were circed, and they would be better to ask I think... what do you think? [/b]
I know, you are almost certainly right about this one.

I just had an online talk with a Jewish guy a week or so ago where he told me that "Nothing you say can change my mind" and that he saw it as such an integeral part of Judaism and a glorious Covenant. Perhaps it is my lack of faith but I can just not imagine looking at a ritual mutilation and thinking that. I was trying to understand but he said he did not even want to debate the issue and claimed that I was going to depict him as a monster and attacking his religion, two things I would neither do and two accusations I found highly hurtful.

In the end I realised that there was really not much hope since he had stated he was totally closed-minded on the issue and I was really not in a proper faith to be fighting him on religious grounds because I am a rationalist. I did link him to some Jewish intactavist stuff but I doubt that he read it.

I suppose that the most I can hope for is that since he is gay he just never adopts. But this feels like a very odd thing to wish for considering how pro-equality a person I am so I settled for hoping he never adopts a boy. I did find it quite odd that he was challenging tradition so blatantly and bravely in some respects but in other cases he used that very thing as a defence of his future actions.

You are right really, it is best to leave this matter as an internal one. I just can not relate.

P.S. I knew about Jewish men unhappy with their cuts (sort of obvious when you think about it, especially considering the number of Jewish Atheists/Humanists there are, not to mention anti-traditionalists) but I had never heard of the anti-circ movement being headed by Jews... It makes those claims of it being an anti-semitic agenda movement I read on CIRCLIST seem all the more absurd.
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