Debating circumcision


With a lawsuit pitting a mother and father against each other over whether to circumcise their son, the Oregonian takes a look at the ritual – and the forces fighting against it.

In addition, the paper interviews a Jewish woman about her decision not to circumcise her son:

Was [the father’s] argument persuasive?

Well, I couldn’t get my mind around it. If I were having a daughter, why wouldn’t she want a visceral, spiritual experience?

Then I asked myself, would I really accept this practice without question? It’s not something I do, especially in regards to another person’s body. I had been doing so much to protect my son – eating well, walking, doing prenatal yoga. And no matter what people told me, I could not imagine a way in which circumcision would not hurt him.

What about medical arguments?

Research suggests no medical reason to do it. Why cut off a piece of a child’s body if I don’t have to? I didn’t believe this is what would make my son Jewish.

What will?

Celebrating Shabbat, keeping Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “repairing the world”). Being Jewish is internal, a way of connecting to the rest of the world, to tradition and to history. It is a way of questioning as well.

What about the argument that circumcision connects generations of Jewish men to each other and to God?

I did think about the Holocaust, how people had not been able to practice circumcision – or risked their lives to do so. That was impressive to me.

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