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American and Israeli Jews are Keeping Their Sons Intact -............ A Peaceful Jewish Covenant Brit Ceremony (Without Cutting): Brit B'lee Milah

American and Israeli Jews are Keeping Their Sons Intact ............ A Peaceful Jewish Covenant Brit Ceremony (Without Cutting): Brit B'lee Milah

'AS AN INCREASING NUMBER OF AMERICANS – including a sizable number of American Jews – question the act of male circumcision, a group of San Francisco activists are advocating to ban circumcision, or what they call male genital mutilation... Many of the leading activists against circumcision around the country are Jewish.'
- JERUSALEM POST, Challenging the Circumcision Myth, (Israel) 04/10/2011

'BUT CHOOSING TO LEAVE A SON INTACT IS NOT JUST a choice being made by American Jews. Increasingly, Israeli Jews are making this choice. Kahal ( http://www.kahal.org ) was established in June 2000 by parents in the Tel Aviv area who decided not to circumcise their sons. The community is not a formal organization and includes only parents with intact sons.
Raquel Lazar-Paley is a parent who chose not to circumcise her son and she says she has several friends in the Haifa area who made the same decision.

JEWISH WORLD, 3/11/10.
In Israel, opposition to circumcision has happened in just two decades, and now these “rebels” number in the tens of thousands, according to Ronit Tamir, founder of Kahal, a support group for parents who choose not to circumcise their children.
- JEWISH WORLD, 3/11/10.

'Circumcision is child abuse...It is a poor way to introduce a newborn male into the world and into the Jewish community.
This presentation will focus on my experience as an active Jew living in an observant Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, who chose not to have his son circumcised. I will present the brit (literally 'covenant') b'lee milah (without circumcision) ceremony that my wife, a full participant in the decision, and I held on the eighth day of our son Sammy's life.'
- Moshe Rothenberg, Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community.
Read in Full > http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/rothenberg.html

Humanistic Judaism, 1988.
'Coming from a European background... where many Jews reject a brit milla as an archaic and barbaric ritual... This author grew up in France in a traditional Jewish family. Not a single male of her generation or her children's generation within her large family (or in her circle of Jewish friends) was ever circumcised.'
- Nelly Karsenty, Humanistic Judaism, 1988.

Jewish Intactivst Parenting Blog and Forum
'A web-based multimedia project that puts real faces and voices to the current Jewish movement against circumcision. This dynamic site is being created by, for, and about Jewish people. We each hold our own ideas about life and our Jewish heritage. We won't always agree. But we're united by this principle: the genital cutting of infants and children is wrong and must stop, no matter their religion or gender. '

Case for Bris without Milah.
'According to modern scholars, circumcision is not even mentioned in either the earliest, 'J', version of Bereshth ('Genesis') nor the next three rewrites by other authors. Most importantly, the story of Abram is there in its entirety, except the part about the Covenant being 'sealed' with circumcision. The parallel Covenant story of 'a smoking kiln and its blazing torch' passing between the halves of animals and birds sacrificed by Abram is in J. Many biblical scholars agree on this point, and it is in accord with the mitzvot against desecrating the body.... It has even been suggested that early Judaism forbad circumcision!'
Case for Bris without Milah.

TIKKUN, Volume 16, May/June, 2001.
'as recently as the mid-nineteenth century, in Eastern Europe and Russia there was a widespread move to stop the practice... Led by women--what a surprise!--who thought the practice barbaric and patriarchal, the movement eventually even convinced Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, who refused to allow his own son to be circumcised.'
- Michael S. Kimmel, Professor, SUNY Stony Brook
TIKKUN, Volume 16, May/June, 2001.
Read in Full > http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/kimmel1/

'Another American Jew who works against circumcision is Laurie Evans, the director of the New York Hudson Valley chapter of NOCIRC ( http://www.nocirc.org ). “I went to a brit and couldn’t believe I was standing in a room of people who usually question so much, but didn’t think of the baby. It was one of the worst days of my life. I feel our religion is in our heart and soul, not in our genitals.”
When Evans’s children were born, she wanted to be more involved Jewishly, despite not being brought up to be practicing. She still maintains some of the Jewish customs, but her difficulty with circumcision has created a fissure between her and Judaism. “It’s hard for me to accept that we don’t accept tattooing and we like questioning, but this can’t be talked about. I see it like foot-binding in China

WND, March 05, 2010
'Laurie Evans is the director of the New York Hudson Valley Chapter of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers ( http://www.nocirc.org ). She said that as a Jewish woman, it was difficult to stand up to her family.
'Once I witnessed a bris (ritual Jewish circumcision), understood the function of the foreskin and the long, lasting harm of circumcision, I had to follow my conscience and leave my son intact,' Evans testified.
'My son is now 20, is grateful, as he understands just what he was spared,' Evans said. 'When I realized how many parents were uninformed about this surgery, I founded and became director of the New York Hudson Valley Chapter of NOCIRC. ( http://www.nocirc.org )' - WND, March 05, 2010

Rabbi Natan Segal, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision, 2007
'I believe circumcision is a major mistake (male or female)...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, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision, 2007
Rabbi Natan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, the Shul of Marin County, Marin County, California, U.S.A.
Ordination: 1977 Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Yeshiva B'nai Or Philadelphia, Pa.

Yediot (Israel) - May 6, 1997
'In the Jewish state live today tens, maybe hundreds of parents who decided, for ideological reasons, to spare their sons from the Brit Milah and leave them whole the way they were born. In addition, there are quite a few adult men who never underwent a circumcision, not to mention the thousands of new immigrants who were not circumcised.
This phenomenon is getting public attention, perhaps for the first time, after the establishment of the Association Against Genital Mutilation. The organization was founded by human rights activists who see the Brit Milah as a barbarous and primitive act that must be banished forever—and quickly.
Movements against circumcision have appeared recently in the US and in Europe, claiming that it must be banned not only because it is barbaric, but also because it is harmful to health. One study found that the pain treshold of baby boys who underwent circumcision was lower than that of boys who were not circumcised. “Many more boys die from circumcision than from genital infections,” claims one of the organization’s founders, Rafi Rozen from Eilat.
The organization counts in its midtst tens of activists, among them parents who chose not to circumcise their sons. The members meet every other week and exchange ideas and opinions. They plan to be more active in the future, going to centers for natural birth to try to convince parents not to circumcise their sons.
Jonathan and Limor Enosh from Tel Aviv have been convinced already. They gave birth three months ago to their son Tzof and decided to spare him from Brit Milah. “For a long time my wife and I were opposed to circumcision, thinking it was a cruel and painful act,” says Jonathan. When Tzof was born, we told our families that we weren’t going to circumcise him...'
“I told our families that whoever believes that the Brit makes a child Jewish is wrong,” tells a woman from Jerusalem whose two sons, ages 7 and 14, were not circumcised.
- Itamar Eichner, Yediot (Israel) - May 6, 1997

'There is no reason and I don't think I have the right, even as a parent, to cut a normal part of his body....Eventually I think religious people, too, will stop doing it.'
- Kasher, co-founder of one of the biggest Jewish Intactivist groups in Israel.

Howard Stern, Jewish Intactivst by Rebecca Wald, JD, March, 2011
'Satellite radio talk show host Howard Stern told millions of listeners this Tuesday that he felt male infant circumcision should be illegal in the United States, declaring it a “mutilation.”
“I agree with you that men should not be circumcised. . . I don’t know where this circumcision came from, some people feel it’s a religious thing... There’s been all kinds of myths. I think it’s nonsense. That if you’re born that way, it seems to me it’s a mutilation to cut it off. The same way in Africa they sometimes cut off a woman’s clitoris and they think that’s justified. I think our foreskins were cut off in order to desensitize us, and I think it was a bunch of religious nudnicks who decided they didn’t want us going around fornicating so they cut off some of our penis skin.”
Many times during the interview, Stern said he agreed with Low that circumcision should be illegal.
Stern wrapped things up by telling Low, “You’re preaching to the choir . . . I happen to agree with you that foreskin removal should be illegal. It is a mutilation.”
- Howard Stern, Jewish Intactivst by Rebecca Wald, JD, March, 2011

JERUSALEM POST, 21 November 2002
By Hilary Leila Kreiger.
Kasher says, 'I don't see any reason why I should cut my son's genitals. There is no reason and I don't think I have the right, even as a parent, to cut a normal part of his body just because other people do it.'
He foresees a time when the practice will be relegated to history books. 'Eventually I think religious people, too, will stop doing it.'
Ben-Yami counters that 'Jewish identity can survive without circumcision, in fact, even better without it because more and more non-religious Jews have an aversion [to the religion] because of some of the things it contains, like circumcision. Judaism has enough content in it to survive without circumcision.'
'It's something that came into Judaism from other religions and other tribal [customs] and it will pass from Judaism [too],' Udi says.
'It's going to vanish by itself, from the people,' he says.
- JERUSALEM POST, 21 November 2002

“You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves” (Leviticus 19:28)

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh - May 24, 2007
'Nancy Wainer is one such mother. When her son was born 34 years ago, Wainer and her husband had him ritually circumcised. She has regretted it ever since. 'I can still hear his cries,' she said. 'He cried for hours. He was inconsolable.' Now, as a midwife in Massachusetts, Wainer advises mothers to leave their sons' foreskins intact.'
- Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh - May 24, 2007

Rabbi Nathan Segal Writes That Jews Should Abolish Circumcision
Read in Full > http://www.rabbinathan.com/writings/circum.shtml

Jewish Intactivist Parenting Forum
Read in Full > http://www.beyondthebris.com

A Case for Brit Without Milah (Covenant Without Cutting)
Read in Full > http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish.html

Brit B'lee Milah (Covenant Without Cutting) Celebrants
Read in Full > http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish-shalom.html

Brit B'lee Milah (Covenant Without Cutting) Ceremony
Read in Full > http://www.nocirc.org/religion/Naming_ceremony.php

Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? by Moshe Rothenberg (New York, USA)
Read in Full > http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/rothenberg.html

Being rational about circumcision and Jewish observance by Moshe Rothenberg (New York)
Read in Full > http://www.noharmm.org/rationaljew.htm

The Kindest Un-Cut Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin by Professor Michael S. Kimmel
Read in Full > http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/kimmel1/

A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision by Laura Shanley
Read in Full > http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/miscarticles/circarticle....

Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Dr Jenny Goodman
Read in Full > http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/fourth/goodman.html

Rabbi Steven Blane: 'It is a violation of Torah law to physically assault or harm another person (Exodus 21:18-27). Jewish law recognizes a newborn infant as a person if the infant has been born after a full-term pregnancy.
With circumcision though, we generally overlook the humanity of the newborn infant and his awareness, perception, sensitivity, and meaningful responsiveness, though these abilities have been thoroughly documented by the latest research.'
- Rabbi Steven Blane

Mercury News, 6/12/2003
Rabbi Yeshaia Familant ( http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish.html ), who is also a marriage and family counselor in Menlo Park, performs circumcision-free ceremonies, which are often called brit bli milah (covenant without circumcision) ( http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish.html ), brit shalom (covenant of peace), brit shem (covenant of the name) or brit hayim (covenant of life) ( http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish.html ).
'Sari Singerman, 37, and her husband, Moses Goldberg, 35, did not circumcise their son, Julian Zion. The couple said it's about time Jews against circumcision speak out -- even if it means stirring up controversy at the Petaluma Hebrew school where Goldberg is principal.'
- A Few Jews are Breaking with Tradition and Having Alternative Birth Rights Instead, By Lisa Fernandez, Mercury News, San Jose, California, Saturday, 6/12/2003

Dr. Jenny Goodman, Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective
'I am confident that my people have such an abundance of life-enhancing, life-affirming and mind-opening traditions, that our identity and sense of cultural self-heed will happily survive our outgrowing of circumcision, a cruel relic which has always felt to me like an aberration at the heart of my religion.'
- Dr. Jenny Goodman, Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective
Read in Full > http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/goodman.html

Calendula lament conservative conversion to intactivism libertarian traditional intactivist law pray Lubavitch cultural restore Philippines grandfather Ohio Russia intactivist covenant culture France Hasidic intact Germany reform foreskin tradition AIDS Gilgal Herpes orlah history virus Rabbi mother Orthodox cut milah Priah debate Talmud birth intact Islam intactivist covenant Pagtutuli Hungary Africa cantor father Menachem Mendel Schneerson Rebbe grandmother intactivist mitzvot childbirth restoration neonatal Arnica wound Muslim moyel prayer foreskin insurance HIV remove American Academy of Pediatrics ban cut mila Spain Chabad AAP STDs intactivist Congregation community Mexico Metzizah African kashrut biblical Sabbath foreskin Genesis circumcision Exodus moyel temple branch Italy procedure synagogue

The American Society to Abolish Genital Mutilation
Read in Full > http://www.intactamerica.com

Society of Nurses for the Rights of the Child. (International)
(The founder of this organization is a Jewish nurse who refuses to take part in circumcisions.)
Read in Full > http://www.Nurses.cirp.org

The Founding Seeds of an Islamic Intactivst Movement
Read in Full > http://www.cirp.org/library/cultural/aldeeb1/

The History of Circumcision
Read in Full > http://www.HISTORYOFCIRCUMCISION.net
[message edited by Homeopathy International 1 on Sat, 07 May 2011 18:59:19 BST]
  Homeopathy International 1 on 2010-08-13
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
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A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision

'I was raised as a Jew and yet I never even considered circumcising my sons. Reason told me that God or nature doesn't make mistakes. Obviously there is a vast intelligence behind all of life, and just as our eyes have eyelids to protect them, foreskins must serve a similar purpose.
When all is said and done, circumcision is really a human rights issue. What right do any of us have to permanently remove a normal, healthy, sensitive part of another person's body without their consent? I have no problem with an adult male who chooses to be circumcised. I do have a problem with an adult who makes that decision for a child. I have known too many men, both Jewish and Christian, who resent the fact that they were circumcised.'
- Laura Shanley, A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision

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'...support can be found from many Jewish sources for the view that circumcision of infants is unethical and should therefore be abandoned...in the final analysis, circumcision is not symbolic for the baby: it is horribly real. Now is the time to lay the knife aside and to move forward into the 21st century with a form of ritual that is truly welcoming and that is truly purely symbolic.'
- J. Goodman, MA, MBChB, Jewish circumcision: an alternative perspective. BJU Int 1999; 83 Suppl 1:22-27.

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Jewish Women Speak Out: Miriam Pollack
'So we use the word 'circumcision,' but this is a euphemism What we are really talking about for females as well as males is culturally and religiously sanctioned sexual mutilation and child abuse. ...lest we open ourselves to the immense grief that inevitably follows the awakening to the profound injury we have caused to our most beloved treasures: our beautiful, perfect babies.
This treatment of the newborn is not consistent with traditional Jewish values. Judaism places infinite value on life, particularly human life. The principal of pikuah nefesh is fundamental to Judaism; that is, for the sake of saving a life, even the Sabbath may be desecrated. Sh'mirat haguf, the protection of one's body, is a high biblical priority. Tattooing, cutting the flesh and amputation are all forbidden. Consciousness of animal suffering permeates both biblical and Talmudic thought as expressed by the concept of tsa-ar ba-alei hayim, or compassion for living things. In the fourth commandment, animals as well as humans are commanded to rest on the Sabbath and, according to the Talmud, Sabbath observance may be broken to ease the suffering of an animal. The laws of kashrut are specific and elaborate pertaining to permissible animal slaughter with the intention of reducing and regulating animal pain if we are to be a meat-eating people. The precept of ba-al tashhit also informs biblical and Rabbinic thought. We are not to destroy the fruit trees, even during a war. The notions of sh'mitah and yovel, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, require that every seventh year, and again in the fiftieth year, the earth be allowed to rest from deliberate economic use. The message seems to be clear: we are stewards of this earth and it is our task to protect it and, more than that, l'havdeel bain kodesh v'chol, to make distinctions between the holy and the profane, so that we may consciously and continuously sanctify life.
We must envision a Judaism that can welcome all of our children, nonviolently, into the brit b'lee milah, a covenant without circumcision.... Only in these ways will we begin the restoration of the holy and establish tikkun, healing, between the sexes.
Ultimately, we all must know that it is not possible to violate or suppress the sexuality of one gender without doing harm to the other. Opposing circumcision is men's work; but it is also most profoundly, women's work. Our babies know and we know: it begins with us. '
- Miriam Pollack from Jewish Women Speak Out, p. 171-185, Canopy Press 1995

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Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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'This is precisely what happened in England, a nation formerly obsessed with circumcision. In the 1940s, following the release of information that supported leaving male babies fully intact, England's circumcision rate plummeted almost overnight to less than 1 percent. Similar information is beginning to gain ground here in the United States, so I'd like to share it with you.'
- Christiane Northrup, M.D.

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Call to end circumcision of baby boys

Posted Sat Dec 8, 2007 9:00am AEDT

Tasmania's Commissioner for Children has again called on the State Government to review laws covering the circumcision of baby boys for cosmetic reasons.

Paul Mason says the practice is painful, inflicts permanent and irreversible disfigurement, and is a breach of human rights.

He says parents do not have an unfettered right to do whatever they like with their children.

Mr Mason says with Human Rights Day approaching, it is important to remember that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law, regardless of their gender, culture or race.

'If I have a religious obligation, a religious belief that my child should do X, Y and Z and that conflicts directly with a human right of the child, then the human right of the child will prevail,' Mr Mason said.

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Previous Jewish Movements Against Circumcision

'as recently as the mid-nineteenth century, in Eastern Europe and Russia there was a widespread move to stop the practice... Led by women--what a surprise!--who thought the practice barbaric and patriarchal, the movement eventually even convinced Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, who refused to allow his own son to be circumcised.'
- Prof. Michael S. Kimmel, TIKKUN, Volume 16, Number 3, May/June, 2001. Michael Kimmel is the author of Manhood in America and, most recently, The Gendered Society (Oxford University Press). He teaches sociology at SUNY Stony Brook.

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The Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine
May the foreskin be with you

Dr Karl S. Kruszelnicki tackles life's myths, curiosities and absurdities

Dr Paul Fleiss, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California Centre, says the foreskin is 'a uniquely specialised, sensitive, functional organ of touch.' It makes proteins that fight bacteria and viruses, and produces a moisturiser that keeps the surface of the glans sensitive, soft and moist. Indeed, it has more specialised nerve endings than any other part of the penis, and is as sensitive as the lips of the mouth.

As far as personal hygiene is concerned, removing the foreskin to have a cleaner penis makes as much sense as removing the eyelid to have a cleaner eyeball.

- May the foreskin be with you
The Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine

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Ending Circumcision In The Jewish Community? By Moshe Rothenberg
Moshe Rothenberg, CSW, is a social worker for the New York City Board of Education. He received his MSW in Social Group Work at Yeshiva University - Wurzweiler School of Social Work (1973) and did post-graduate work in group and family therapy at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Mr. Rothenberg initiated and coordinated two parent groups providing advocacy and counseling services for the Miskon-Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in New York. He is an educator on the subject of Brit B'lee Milah both within and outside of the Jewish community in which he lives.

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Homeopathy International 1 last decade
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related links: (in english)
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> jews opposing circumcision (israel, uk, usa) <
> http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org <

> by moshe rothenberg, msw. ending circumcision in the jewish community (israel, uk, usa) <
> http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/rothenberg.html <

> *brit b'lee milah & bris shalom: alternative non-circumcision rituals (israel, uk, usa) <
> http://www.circumstitions.com/jewish-shalom.html <

> one rabbi speaks out against circumcision, 2007 (israel, uk, ca) <
> http://www.rabbinathan.com/writings/circum.shtml <

> by stacey greenberg, 2004. my son: the little jew with a foreskin. (israel, uk, usa) <
> http://www.mothering.com/10-0-0/html/10-1-0/little-jew.shtml.... <

> women's perspectives: dr. ron goldman's website (israel, uk, usa) <
> http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/women.htm <

> http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html <
> paul m. fleiss, md., the case against circumcision (uk) <

> by lisa braver moss, jewish roots of anti-circumcision arguments (uk, usa)<
> http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/moss.html <

> by laura shanley. a jewish woman denounces circumcision (israel, uk) <
> http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/miscarticles/circarticle.... <

> dr. ron goldman's site <
> http://www.circumcision.org/contactus.htm <

> jewish women speak out: miriam pollack (uk) <
> http://www.noharmm.org/pollack.htm <

related links: (in hebrew)

> israeli association against genital mutilation (israel, in hebrew) <
> http://www.britmila.org.il <

> gonen al hayeled / protect the child (israel, in hebrew) <
> http://www.gonen.us <

> kahal / intact israelis' parents' rights group (israel, in hebrew) <
> http://www.kahal.org <

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Homeopathy International 1 last decade
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SALEM NEWS, January 15, 2008.
Legislation could change the future of American males.

Is Circumcision Another Form of Genital Mutilation?
Tim King Salem-News.com
Legislation could change the future of American males.

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) - Circumcision is flying to the front of medical and political arguments as Americans face the idea that we as a society may be gravely in error in our choice to allow doctors to complete circumcisions of young boys, particularly those just born which is the common approach in most cases... a closer look at what circumcision really brings us; campaigns for Viagra and a lack of sexual satisfaction in men, shows that it may be among our worst and most cruel cultural practices.

Now the movement is stepping forward with legislation that would curb or end the practice in our hospitals. The MGM Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation in the U.S. could change the way our society treats its young boys.

'The legislation that we are proposing would give boys the same protection from genital cutting that girls have enjoyed since 1997,' said Matthew Hess, the group’s president. 'Circumcision removes erogenous tissue in both sexes and results in a measurable loss of sexual feeling. It is a traumatic and disfiguring surgery that should not be performed on children unless there is a clear, compelling, and immediate medical need – period.'

Hess says genital cutting of girls has been prohibited in the U.S. since 1997 when the Female Genital Mutilation Act took effect, requiring women to be eighteen years old before consenting to any type of genital surgery. The law has been credited with helping to keep forced female circumcision from spreading to the U.S. from Africa and the Middle East, where it is much more common.

A Frankfurt, Germany, regional appeals court pushed circumcision further into the legal gray area recently when it found that the circumcision of an 11-year-old Muslim boy without his approval was an unlawful personal injury. And in November, the Oregon Supreme Court heard a case filed by the mother of a 12-year-old boy trying to protect him from being circumcised by his father for religious reasons. (Oregon Courts Have No Right to Force Circumcision) The court’s decision on the Oregon case is pending.

Perhaps the word 'convince' says it all. Doctors make money from circumcising young male children.

If you jump past the Biblical origination of the story and flash forward about 1850 years, you learn that Jewish people were actually scorned for their circumcisions in most western societies. But then a belief developed in England that circumcising boys would reduce masturbation. That is all it took, along with the money the practice represents for European and American doctors and hospitals.

This practice according to Milos, reduces the feeling that men experience during sex. That diminished quality has lifetime implications. She says it is that diminished feeling that leads to men seeking cures for erectile dysfunction.

She says pro-circumcision advocates also released through medical journals decades ago, a connection between uncircumcised men and penile cancer, which was proven to be false information. Instead, she says that in the case of many circumcised men who contract penile cancer, it begins at their circumcision scar.

This is a subject just gaining momentum in this country and it isn't likely to lose steam as parents and others become increasingly aware of a number of problems associated with the practice. The online dictionary Wikipedia clearly defines the practice of circumcision as mutilation.

Wikipedia states, 'Mutilation is an act or physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of the (human) body, usually without causing death.' Circumcision is listed alongside burning and amputation, as a form of mutilation or maiming.
Homeopathy International 1 last decade
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Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), March 16, 2000.

'Male circumcision is also mutilation'
Professor Yngve Hofvander

Circumcision of boys is a cruel and very painful operation. It contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and should be called mutilation, just like female circumcision is now. So writes Professor Yngve Hofvander, former head of International Child Health at Uppsala University, regarding a proposed law tabled in parliament. The statement supporting the law is seriously conflicted. It would be logical even to ban male circumcision, he says. But first of all, the issue should be brought out into the light so that religious and cultural attitudes can undergo change. At the time of writing this, a tragic case has opened at the Stockholm City Court. A small Moslem boy was circumcised by a doctor in private practice, he screamed for several hours thereafter and was given a pain-relieving injection that was obviously of an incorrect dosage; shortly thereafter he ceased breathing and his life could not be saved.

This is a medically meaningless operation - thus no complications can be considered acceptable. And yet a child becomes a victim in a ritual that is characterised by the demands of adults.

In the current debate about this operation, one could easily get the impression that it is a particularly Jewish custom. Representatives of the Jewish faith have been most articulate - but Jewish circumcision is clearly in a minority.

The situation is as follows. There are four different groups that practice circumcision. The Jewish: going back to Abraham 3 000 year ago (but already in existence 2000 years before that). Done on the eighth day, involves around 100 boys in Sweden. The Moslem: going back around 1300 years to the time of the Prophet Mohammed. There is no mention in the Koran and therefore no commandment. Done in the period 2-14 years of age and involves around 3000 boys in Sweden. The traditional African: done at the onset of puberty as an initiation rite for entry to the adult world. This involves several million boys annually. See Mandela's memoirs and his anxiety due to the operation.

The Anglo-Saxon, mostly occurring in the USA: Developed in the middle of the 19th Century as a prophylaxis and treatment for masturbation, but thereafter a hundred other bizarre indications were added. Done to neonates and involves more than a million boys.

It is thus important to see the phenomenon of circumcision in this entire, global context, and not as specifically Jewish, and neither in a provincial Swedish perspective.

CIRCUMCISION IS a cruel and very painful operation. Hemostatic forceps are tightly closely in the narrow end of the immature foreskin, a brunt probe is forced between the foreskin and the glans and pushed around to break the connecting tissues that nature has put in place in babies and young children. One or two haemostats are driven as far as possible in the fold between the glans and foreskin, closed fast and the foreskin pulled out. Forceps are fastened across it and at that point it is cut off - and thus one removes the foreskin, which in the developed state amounts to 10cm2 and contains hundreds of nerve endings for erogenous purposes, and similar quantities of sebaceous glands (sic) that secrete lubricant for similar purposes.

There is really no doubt about whether this process should be denoted as mutilation - for indeed removes healthy tissue is removed from a healthy body part. There has been a mindless fear about calling things by their correct name, due to the risk of offending religious groups. It took some years before one was able to call female circumcision, mutilation - but now this term is officially sanctioned.

Nor is there really any doubt about whether this involves an abuse against a child who has not asked for the operation and who cannot defend himself, beyond trying break free and screaming loudly. One can think of the equivalent situation of an adult man being held down by forceful hands and mutilated without anaesthesia. For babies have a fully developed sense of pain - and memory. The hormonal and biochemical changes that arise in the body correspond to those found during torture.

SINCE THERE ARE currently considerable millions of boys circumcised annually - can all their parents really be at fault for having it done?

I want to answer 'unquestioningly yes' to this question. Many millions of girls are sexually mutilated annually - are their parents right or wrong? Many millions of Chinese girls had their feet bound so that they did not develop - were their parents right or wrong? It was the custom to beat children (with support from authorities, including pronouncements in the Bible!) - were their parents right or wrong? Up until 200 years ago it was the religious custom at Jewish circumcisions to suck blood from the circumcised penis (thereafter forbidden when it was shown to spread syphilis and tuberculosis) - was it right or wrong of the parents to accept this practice?

The above-mentioned often-bizarre traditions and practices have had social, cultural and sometimes legal acceptance, within their respective cultural worlds. Afterwards, in accord with human justice principles, they were no longer tolerated and were forbidden by law or forced out of practice.

So certainly millions of people can be wrong. There are many other examples of wrongful practices that have been inflicted particularly on children, or others without power or whose voices were not heard.

So I say that the time has now come to seriously question male circumcision and mutilation. To this end we have a remarkable tool in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which can indeed be applied in many contexts, including the planning of housing and road crossings. Article 19 of the convention states that all legal measures should be taken to protect children against all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse. And (as stated in Article 24) countries that sign the convention are required to take all effective and appropriate measures to eliminate traditional customs that are harmful to the health of children. Could this be stated more clearly? Moreover, children have priority when interpreting the convention - whenever there is any difference between the rights of adults and children.

But to change immigrant traditions, especially those with religious overtones, is extremely difficult. Not least in the case where a much longed-for party is an integral part of the ceremony. What makes it even harder to work against circumcision is that it is a very lucrative business for those doctors who devote themselves to this industry as 'village barbers'. This conclusion was very evident at an international symposium on the subject in Sydney recently. One cannot count on any supportive lead from within these circles.

There are however some bright aspects. In many places around the world people have begun to practice circumcision without surgery, while carrying out the whole ceremony in all other respects. This is to oblige the many parents who cannot accept that their child should be mutilated, but who still want to be connected with their religious traditions. It is remarkable however that this has not been introduced in Sweden; no religious representative says it would be acceptable: 'it would like vaccinating with water'. Is there no innovator who can contemplate breaking the ice?

Save The Children also emphasised the veto right, but did not draw the logical conclusion that one must therefore postpone the operation until the child is in its teenage years and can make manifest its wishes.

The proposed bill is now before the parliament and will be reviewed by The Standing Committee on Social and Health Matters and in the parliamentary chamber. Of course from a medical point of view it would be only logical to ban the phenomenon, as was done with female circumcision.

At the above-mentioned international circumcision congress in Sydney in December of 2000, there were appeals from many parties that Sweden must continue to stand out as a good model of child health care, and not further sanction the circumcision of boys with an law officially accepting circumcision as such (even with safe surgical measures). The law would go against all the good forces around the world working for enlightenment and to end circumcision.

As a minimum, the legislation must firmly state that circumcision is contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that the law - if it is to be - should have a time limit while awaiting a very welcome change in attitudes.

Professor Yngve Hofvander

- Professor Yngve Hofvander. Male circumcision is also mutilation.
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), 16 March, 2001.
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