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Radical Jewish Intactivism - Moral Reasons Israelis are Rejecting Bris, Brit Milah, Orthodox, Mitzvah, Mitzvot

Betty Katz-Sperlich is a Jewish woman living in New Mexico, USA. A registered nurse, she is co-founder of Nurses for the Rights of the Child ( http://www.Nurses.cirp.org ). She refused to circumcise her son, now aged 13.
'I've been called anti-Semitic by non-Jewish people. But as a Jew, how could I not speak up against Jewish circumcision? I would be letting Jewish babies down.'
Jenny Goodman, from north London, also refused to circumcise her son. She is a doctor and a psychotherapist as well as a Jewish feminist ( http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/fourth/goodman.html ). 'I know at least a dozen non-circumcised boys whose parents are identified as Jews,' she says. She adamantly opposes circumcision, claiming that it is physically and psychologically damaging to the child and violates human rights: 'It also violates the most important of medical ethics, above all do no harm.'
Opposition to male circumcision in the UK had its first big breakthrough 18 months ago with the controversial Channel 4 documentary It's a Boy!, by Jewish director Victor Schonfeld. It slammed the practice of Jewish circumcision as unnecessary and barbaric, with potentially horrific consequences. Mr. Schonfeld claims that public consensus against it in the UK is growing.
- Nursing Times, p. 12-13, February 19, 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 (http://www.britmila.org.il). 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.
“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. “There is no need to cut off anything to be Jewish. I decided not to take part in a deed that could lead to long-term mental trauma and physical harm, as well as reducing their pleasure in bed.
- Itamar Eichner, Yediot (Israel) - May 6, 1997

This dynamic site is being created by, for, and about Jewish people. 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.
- by Rebecca Wald, JD.

Published in the Jerusalem Post, 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.'

The issue, according to opponents of circumcision, includes the moral ramifications of cutting one's child and the psychological impacts stemming from the trauma. They claim that the level of discomfort experienced by the child increases his later response to pain and hurts the bond between the baby and his mother. They also maintain that circumcision diminishes sexual pleasure and that there is no medical reason to remove the foreskin.

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.

A group of 35 American Jews that claims members from secular to Orthodox tries to find ways of reconciling Judaism to a circumcision-free life. The organization, Jews Against Circumcision
(http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org), was started, as founder Gillian Flato of California puts it, because information against the practice 'must come from within.'
- JERUSALEM POST, 21 November 2002

'an article in the January 1999 British Journal of Urology reported that women who had slept with both circumcised and intact men preferred sex with men who were not circumcised. The article reported that the women achieved orgasm faster, and were more likely to achieve multiple orgasms.'
- Michael S. Kimmel, Tikkun, 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.

'Circumcision harms the developing brain: Recent studies published in leading medical journals have reported that circumcision has long-lasting detrimental effects on the developing brain, adversely altering the brain's perception centers. Circumcised boys have a lower pain threshold than girls or intact boys. Developmental neuropsychologist Dr. James Prescott suggests that circumcision can cause deeper and more disturbing levels of neurological damage, as well.'
- Paul M. Fleiss, MD., MPH., Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Southern California Medical Center.

A marginal but growing number of Jewish Israelis choose not to circumcise their children, settled a breach of a millenary tradition which places them outside the social consensus and confronts them with their families.
However, in Israel the 'rebels' have happened in two decades of virtual absence to be counted in tens of thousands, said Ronit Tamir, a founder of Kahal, a support group for parents who choose not to circumcise their sons. ( http://www.kahal.org )
Danii Amir was not so clear from the beginning. Circumcised her first son from a previous marriage and was an experience as 'weird and traumatic,' and decided that would be the last.
'I do not think God would create man with something to be settled after eight days,' explains the musician, who describes the atmosphere around circumcision as 'very different from twenty years ago.'
His current wife, Ruth, feels even greater rejection of what he defines as 'barbaric and primitive'. The last thing my maternal instinct tells me is to my newborn son to a man with a knife,' he argues.
New father a few months ago, Ofir also spent the eighth day after birth at home with his girlfriend, away from sharp utensils and blessings of the mohel.
The night before the circumcision ceremony came almost by chance on Internet forums about the Brit Milah and decided to cancel the appointment.
Now he feels he made the right decision: to make his son 'his own body, so it has created a virtual forum,' Gonen Al Hayeled 'to shed light on the Brit Milah.'( http://www.gonen.us )
- Jewish World - March 11, 2010

'An Israeli research project in the early-1990s sought to measure changes in sexual satisfaction after circumcision among Russian immigrants who got themselves circumcised after immigration to Israel. The research was carried out by Dr Avi Teper and Dr Eliezer Shalev, from the Women's Department, Ha-emek Hospital, Afula. They mailed a questionnaire to 108 males, 76 of whom replied.
The circumcised immigrants reported a significant decrease in sexual satisfaction. Before circumcision 54 per cent reported 'great sexual satisfaction', but afterwards the number was only 24 per cent. The proportion of those reporting 'medium satisfaction' rose from 30 percent to 61 percent. There was no change in the number reporting 'small satisfaction'.'
Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin and R. Blustein, 'Challenges to circumcision in Israel: The Israeli association against genital mutilation', in George C. Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges and Marilyn Fayre Milos (eds) Male and female circumcision: Medical, legal and ethical considerations in pediatric practice, New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 1999, pp. 343-50'

Published in Ynet Jewish World, 2008
Yes to a party, but no to a brit....the decision to give it a pass is becoming increasingly trendy in Israel.

'I've managed to stand up to the religious, overbearing establishment,' is an old, familiar motto. Only this time, instead of getting married in Cyprus or holding a non-religious funeral at a kibbutz, we've decided to keep the boy in one piece, without performing 'barbaric' incisions in his body. What's wrong with that? We have here caring, well-informed parents who are unwilling to swallow every nonsensical argument that an over-zealous circumciser tries to shove down their throat at the neonatal ward.

And even I, a mitzvah observing person, don't have a problem with the ever-rising number of uncircumcised Israelis.
- Tali Farkash. It just doesn't cut it. YNET Jewish World, Friday, December 19, 2008.

'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 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.

'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

'I am a 72 year old retired physician, a Jew who is an active member of a Conservative synagogue, and a grandfather. Three years ago, as I was about to become a grandfather for the first time, my interest in the subject became more focused. I learned that more and more physicians now realize that any potential benefits of circumcision are far outweighed by its risks and drawbacks. Whether done by a physician in the hospital, or a mohel in a ritual brit milah, the procedure has significant complication rates of infection, hemorrhage and even death. Mortality may actually be higher than thought since some of these deaths have not been attributed to circumcision, but listed only under their secondary causes, such as hemorrhage or infection. I’ve learned of the very important role the foreskin has in the protection of the head of the penis in the infant, and in sexual functioning in adulthood.
Growing numbers of American Jews are now leaving their sons intact as they view circumcision as a part of Jewish law that they can no longer accept. Alternative brit b’li milah or brit shalom ceremonies (ritual naming ceremony without cutting) are being performed by some rabbis. Increasing numbers of intact boys are going to religious school, having bar mitzvahs, and taking their place as young adults in the Jewish community.
As a Jewish grandfather, I want to assure young couples about to bring a child into the world, that there are other members of the Jewish “older” generation, including other Jewish physicians, and even some rabbis, who feel as I do. If your heart and instincts tell you to leave your son intact, listen!'
- Dr. Mark D. Reiss, M.D.

“I should like to suggest to my fellow Jews that perhaps the time has come to redeem the foreskin itself, rather than sacrifice it. Surely some substitute might be found for this rite, ... that would be preferable to this assault upon and mutilation of a newborn infant...'
- Professor George Wald, M.D
Harvard University Professor, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine

'Circumcision is not a guarantee of Jewishness. And yes, you can be Jewish with a foreskin.'
- Rabbi Natan Segal
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.

'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

'The debate has even extended to the religious practice of Jews. Theo Margaritov's family welcomed him in April with a brit shalom, a cut-free ceremony. 'That's the way God made him,' says his mom Deborah.' - TIME Magazine, 2008

'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.

'What about religion? For boys and girls alike, under basic human rights principles, anothers right to practice a religion must end where that individuals body begins. Otherwise, individual protections carry little meaning. Many Jews and Muslims are involved with organizations working to stop male circumcision, and many are questioning whether removal of healthy tissue from the bodies of their children is required by or even consistent with their faith. When the child is of the age of consent, he or she can make up his or her own mind about his or her own body.' - Steven Svoboda, J.D., 'In Search of Fatherhood' Magazine Interview

'Within the Jewish community, there is growing disagreement about circumcision. Some feel that circumcision contradicts other aspects of the Jewish religion. The Torah forbids the torture or causing of pain to any living creature, especially physically assaulting or harming another person (Exodus 21:18-27). Jewish law specifically forbids body modification, including the cutting or marking of the human body (Lev. 19:28). Jews are also required to help those who are helpless, such as newborn infants, and are exempt from performing religious duties that would cause harm to others.'
- Ryan McAllister, Ph.D.

> http://www.britmila.org.il <
> Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation (Israel, in Hebrew) <

> http://www.gonen.us <
> Gonen Al Hayeled / Protect the Child (Israel, in Hebrew) <

> http://www.kahal.org <
> Kahal / Uncircumcised Israeli Parents' Rights Group (Israel, in Hebrew) <

> http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org <
> Jews Opposing Circumcision (USA) <

> http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/rothenberg.html <
> By Moshe Rothenberg, MSW. Ending Circumcision In The Jewish Community (UK, USA) <

> http://www.circumstitions.com/Jewish-shalom.html <
> *Brit B'lee Milah and Bris Shalom: An Intactivist Covenant Ritual (UK) <

> http://www.rabbinathan.com/writings/circum.shtml <
> One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision, by Rabbi Natan Segal, 2007 <

> http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html <
> The Case Against Circumcision by Paul M. Fleiss, MD. (USA) <

> http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/moss.html <
> Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments by Lisa Braver Moss <

> http://www.noharmm.org/pollack.htm <
> Jewish Women Speak Out: Miriam Pollack (UK)
  Homeopathy International 1 on 2010-09-02
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.

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


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, buy 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?

A NUMBER OF RESPONDENTS considered that the operation is compatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - with the exception, however, of the Children's Ombudsman, who in all likelihood knows what she is talking about. The National Board of Health and Welfare failed in many aspects with its preceding investigation and does not want to undertake a resource-demanding policing function. The board pointed out that the requirement for pain relief would mean that health care personnel must perform the operation, and that the child must have a veto right, a point that is difficult to fulfil when in numerous cases one is dealing with babies and small children. 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. It would however be unrealistic to demand this, not primarily due to fear that the operation would then be transferred overseas, but rather to allow time for a necessary change in attitude. Bringing the phenomenon out into the light where it has never been before, and freely debating it, would assist this process.

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.



'Removal of a healthy body part without medical indication has been viewed as being a violation of the Hippocratic oath, falling under the United Nations' definition of genital mutilation. As such circumcision is seen as being against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of the Child.' - Canadian Medical Assocaition Journal, Volume 152, Number 11, Pages 1873-1876,
June 1, 1995.



'When the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) reviewed the medical literature and came out against routine circumcision in 1996, I thought the matter was settled... Still, I believe a consensus against circumcision is steadily emerging. In this new era of patient rights, circumcision has come to seem like an anachronism. Among doctors, there is a greater emphasis on informed decision-making, the limits on parents' rights to make decisions about their kids' health and the rights of children to be protected from parents who make wrong decisions. Even some adult men who were unnecessarily circumcised as children are asserting their rights to restitution. And since the balance of medical evidence suggests those who oppose circumcision have the facts on their side, doctors are increasingly refusing to perform circumcisions. Complications from bleeding, amputation, renal failure, sepsis and death are powerful incentives to stop.

Indeed, the media coverage of the incident may speed circumcision for non-religious reasons into the dustbin of medical practice -- alongside many other once-popular procedures, such as the removal of the ovaries for hysteria, tonsillectomy for a sore throat, lobotomy for mental retardation, etc. In a few years, looking like dad or wanting to keep a boy 'clean' may no longer be legally legitimate rationales for circumcision. It's about time they weren't. But it is unethical to continue a practice that is no longer medically defensible and could harm our kids.'
- The growing consensus against circumcision by Jackie Smith
National Post, Toronto, 30 August 2002.



Dutch doctors: circumcision should be stopped
Published on 28 May 2010 - 10:41am
Radio Netherlands Worldwide

The Royal Dutch Medical Society (KNMG) has said it wants a stop on the circumcision of underage boys. The society said on Thursday that circumcising boys without any medical reason infringes the right to autonomy and the right to bodily integrity.

Family doctors have been asked by the society to warn parents 'actively and urgently that there are no medical advantages to circumcision and that there is a risk of complications'. Such complications include haemorrhages, infections, urethra constriction and panic attacks. Complications, although a normal concomitant of surgical interventions, are not justifiable when the surgery is not medically necessary, the medical association says.

KNMG President Arie Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman says the basic principle underlying the statement is that one does not perform surgery on perfectly healthy children. The doctors' association felt urged to express its views because of the increased emphasis on children's rights, he said.



Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland, Helsinki 25.8.2003
'The Central Union for Child Welfare considers that circumcision of boys that violates the personal integrity of the boys is not acceptable unless it is done for medical reasons to treat an illness. The basis for the measures of a society must be an unconditional respect for the bodily integrity of an under-aged person.

Circumcision intervenes in the sexual integrity of a male child causing a permanent change in organisms and has consequences pertaining to both health and quality of life.

The circumcision of girls is rightly considered as inhuman mutilation of the genitals and is punished abuse. Also boys must be guaranteed a similar protection by law.

The Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland hopes that the working group in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will consider measures to bring about a cultural change that will secure the integrity of children and leads to the end of circumcision.'

- Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland, Helsinki 25.8.2003
Presented to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM060:00/2003)
Homeopathy International 1 last decade
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'Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come; it is time to stop circumcision whatever have been the reasons and/or distresses that have perpetuated it.' - Moshe Rothenberg, MSW.

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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> 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 <


> 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
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, Volume 311, Number 7008: Pages 816-817,
Sept 23, 1995.


A rite to drop

There are no medical reasons for excising a normal foreskin. Paediatricians and paediatric surgeons have been preaching this message for decades, and the population of boys being circumcised in the United Kingdom has now fallen to less than 10%. The practice of so called female circumcision has recently received considerable adverse publicity, but ritual male circumcision has been relatively unchallenged. The Jewish journalist Victor Schonfeld's programme for Channel 4's War Cries series went a long way to redress the balance.

It seemed inconceivable to the supporters of the practice interviewed that any Jewish, Moslem, or African male should not have his foreskin removed. Ranged against these traditionalists was the eloquent Dr Jenny Goodman. Her speculation that the practice is a symbolic vestige of child sacrifice seemed far fetched, but her underlying thesis that religious ritual changes with time and that circumcision could easily be dropped seemed quite sound --especially by the end of the programme.

Rabbi David Singer was filmed circumcising 8 day old Joshua Hawksworth, and it all went horribly wrong. Three days later Joshua was in intensive care being treated for severe septicsemia. It could be argued that Schonfeld struck lucky in filming this particular boy, but perhaps it was cause and effect. For the patient's sake any surgery is best conducted under ideal conditions. Introducing a film crew can make even the most experienced surgeon nervous and affect performance. Rabbi Singer certainly seemed nervous and clumsy, both performing the surgery and when adjusting the dressing at which point he requested the filming to be stopped. Schonfeld continued in secret. Where he did strike lucky is in the fact that Joshua's father is not Jewish and didn't attend the ceremony. The subsequent scenes of him watching the video and berating himself and his in laws for allowing it to happen are gripping stuff. What the experience has done for family dynamics doesn't bear contemplation. The myth that circumcision is just a 'quick snip' and that newborns don't feel pain anyway were comprehensively demolished by the evidence in this generally well balanced documentary. Leela Kapila of Nottingham also provided graphic illustrations of the myriad complications which can follow this supposedly easy operation. The most moving moments, however, were the testimonies of previous sufferers: the Moslem man recalling a childhood trip to the hairdressers which resulted in him being suddenly forced on to a table and circumcised; and especially the African mother describing through slow tears the death of her baby boy.

One film will not change centuries of custom overnight, and who knows how many parents of the circumcising faiths will be persuaded not to subject their male offspring to a procedure which, viewed from outside the faith, could reasonably be described as ritualised child abuse.

Perhaps the most we can hope for is that the debate will continue.

--LAURIE RANGECROFT, consultant paediatric surgeon/urologist, Royal Victoria Infirmary, New-castle upon Tyne

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Homeopathy International 1 last decade

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