Kelsey Media

The San Francisco Circumcision Ban: Not your typical view

184 comments

from ken krimsteins book Kvetch as Kvetch CanI never thought that the circumcision ban was a big deal until I had the pleasure of eating with two different peopl;e involved in the fight to have it removed from the ballot, both were passionate, both were very liberal and both acknowledged that this was an attack on our religion. Prior to these encounters, I merely shrugged off the super left wig crazy antics of San Francisco ballot measures and said you could just drive outside the 7 mile wide city and have a bris somewhere else – besides the two mohel’s in the Bay Area live in Sunnyvale and Berkeley and it would save on costs to go to them. 

Naturally as an orthodox leaning Jew I was outraged and started ranting and raving about my disgust towards these people who wanted to infringe on our rights, but than something magical happened, you may call it my evil anti-Jewish side that creeped into my head and said “woa Heshman, wait a second – maybe it should be left up to the child whether or not he wants to be circumcized at age 18?” and all of a sudden I started having these wonderings of dissent towards both sides.

Now let me make this clear, I would never ever ever support or vote for a ban on circumcision, but I get it, I understand the thouhts behind the ban and they make sense. Archaic rituals like the bris seem pretty crazy and it would seem that allowing crazy rituals to be placed under freedom of religion opens the door to really twisted frum Muslims and their honor killings – imagine if those were made legal, or what about the female circumcision – life without a foreskin is one thing, but without a clitoris is a completely different story.

Apparently many of the supporters and backers of the ban are Gay Jews who are jealous of their foreskin rockin’ friends telling them how great it is to have the hood (can anyone confirm this?)the ladies don’t seem to like it much and many of my friends tell me they never even had the pleasure to know one. Regardless, the ban makes sense, from the outside – forced genital mutilation for religious purposes seems a bit cruel.

The good thing about the ban is that it has created a lot of interfaith achdus between Jewish groups and other religious groups like the Muslims. It has also brought together Jews from all walks of life to fight it together.

Find out more about Circumcision bans and brit milah at 4torah.com

  • Manna$eh

    Heshy, was a meal of red herring served over the table you shared with the two gentlemen? I ask because this is what you were served in their argument, or belief, that the circumcision ban is an “attack on our religion.” Such a statement ignores many well-known facts about circumcision in the U.S.: most procedures are performed for non-religious reasons, i.e. concerns about hygiene, social concerns, urological/health issues (phimosis, balanoposthitis, STD prevention); circumcisions are on the decline (2009 32% vs. 56% in 2006). Also, given that Jews don’t quite make up 2% of the U.S. population, saying that the ban unfairly targets Jews is not supported by the numbers.

    • A. Nuran

      Not quite accurate. Routine circumcision of non-Muslim Gentiles is not to treat phimosis or any other medical condition. It’s not for “hygiene”. It’s routine because it’s routine. The reason it’s done is a carryover from Victorian era anti-wa nking hysteria.

      • Manna$eh

        Nuran,
        When I wrote, “urological/health issues,” what I listed as specific concerns are health issues that can arise as a result of not having a circumcised member. Why is that not accurate? Or rather, why is it not accurate that non-Muslim Gentiles might be aware of such concerns per their family physician and therefore have their male child circumcised? Also, for the sake of brevity I didn’t mention the specific historical reason for why circumcision was the rule and not the exception in post neonatal care.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          Manna$eh, could you tell me what is the list of organs or other parts of the body that doctors are allowed to remove with a signed parental form “because of health issues” that “can arise as a result” of not having it removed?

          The specific historical reason for why circumcision was the rule and not the exception in post neonatal care is because it is a carry-over. Simply put, “every body did it.” In many cases, parents didn’t even have a say, they just got their son back circumcised.

          There has always been some sort of pseudo-scientific “reason” for circumcising healthy, non-consenting children, science debunking it every time. It will be entertaining when I’m able to write “hey, remember when HIV prevented AIDS?” (And syphillis? And athsma? And bedwetting? and…)

          But riddle me this.

          The foreskin is not a birth defect. Nor is it a genetic anomaly or congenital deformity like a cleft or a 6th finger. The foreskin is a normal, healthy part of the penis with which every male child is born with. Unless there is medical or clinical indication, circumcision is the deliberate destruction of normal, healthy tissue.

          Without medical or clinical indication whatsoever, can a doctor even be performing surgery on a healthy, non-consenting child, let alone be giving his parents any kind of a choice?

          In charging money to perform non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, is the doctor not committing medical fraud? And in taking advantage of parental naivete, and ultimately, the defenselessness of a child, professional abuse?

          We live in enlightened times. Thanks to the advances of medicine, we’ve been able to avert all kinds of surgery. Circumcision really isn’t necessary anymore. (it never was) All of the “benefits” you can name can already easily be achieved with cheaper, less invasive, more effective means. Shouldn’t be doctors be pushing THOSE instead of circumcision?

          Shouldn’t “researchers” be “studying” to make circumcision absolete, not finding reasons to necessitate it in babies, and in men in Africa?

        • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

          You listed phimosis as a reason that circumcision might be medically indicated, but that is incorrect. While extremely rare mal-formations can occur, there is no such thing as a valid diagnosis of phimosis in a child. Tight unretractable foreskin is the normal natural state of a child’s penis. It separates gradually during the first decade of life due to the child’s own curious manipulations.

          Balanoposthitis if it is seen is most likely the result of caregivers trying to force the skin back for cleaning, which is NOT recommended. Only the owner of the foreskin should ever try to retract it. If he’s not old enough to do it himself it doesn’t need done. The AAP says “Clean only what is seen. LEAVE IT ALONE.”

          Regardless, somehow we treat female infections without amputation, and the same standard of care applies to boys.

    • E

      It’s true that the circumcision ban would affect more non-Jews than Jews, simply since there are more non-Jews than there are Jews in San Francisco. However, the people behind the ban (in particular, the man who wrote the language that will appear on the ballot) have revealed themselves to be virulent anti-Semites, so it’s hard to believe that they are motivated by a pure, well-intentioned desire to protect infants from what they perceive as harm.

      • Tora Spigner RN MSN

        The “people” behind this ban are not anti-semitic, they are for children’s rights to genital integrity, pure and simple. As the article states, would it be so bad to let the adult this man will become to be the one to decide if he wants his penis cut, scarred, made smaller and less sensitive? As one of the people supporting this ban, I believe that the circumcision ban applies to males and females, they both have the right to the genitalia that nature gave them and they are the only ones who can decide if they want them altered. It is not about hate, it is about love.

    • E

      It’s true that the circumcision ban would affect more non-Jews than Jews, simply because there are more non-Jews than there are Jews in San Francisco. However, the people behind the ban (in particular, the man who wrote the language that will appear on the ballot) have revealed themselves to be virulent anti-Semites, so it’s hard to believe that they are motivated by a pure, well-intentioned desire to protect infants from what they perceive as harm.

      • Manna$eh

        Can you send me a link with a quote from the person or people spearheading the effort to have the ban passed that demonstrates their anti-Semitic views? I ask only because I want to hear it from the source and have not yet had it confirmed.

        • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

          Here’s a link to one of the many articles about the Monster Mohel “comic book” put out by one of the measure’s main supporters:
          http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/circumcision-ban-comic-book-shows-grotesque-anti-semitic-imagery-adl-says-1.365834

          • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

            How is depicting a person who would:
            1) restrain a child,
            2) wound his genitals, then
            3) suck blood from the wound
            as a monster the same thing as anti-semitism? You could just as easily say executing Timothy McVeigh for the OKC massacre was anti-Christian.

            For the record, if YOU defend metziah b’peh (the three steps above, which the comic book character was attempting) then YOU are a monster.

            I agree with you that the comic book is unfortunate, because Jewish circumcision could have waited until the 99th or 100th issue (as it is a tiny share of the circumcsions that happen) and metzizah b’peh is a tiny share of Jewish circumcisions.

            But every routine infant circumcision takes away healthy normal functional sexual tissue. Being against forced genital cutting is not the same thing as anti-semitism. It may be politically expedient to claim it is, but it’s dishonest.

        • D
        • E

          The guy who wrote the ballot measure is the author of the anti-circumcision comic book “Foreskin Man,” in which Foreskin Man saves babies from mutilation at the hands of the hook-nosed, dirty-looking “Monster Mohel.” The drawings are more than reminiscent of depictions of Jews in Nazi propaganda.

          http://theweek.com/article/index/216001/foreskin-man-proof-that-anti-circumcision-activists-are-anti-semitic

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-derrick/foreskin-man-comicbook-at_b_871262.html

          I won’t link to the comic itself because I don’t want to increase his traffic, but if you’re interested you can find it by doing a google search.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com/2011/06/anti-semite-card-no-longer-washes.html

          I wrote this. “Foreskin Man” reflects the views of Matthew Hess, and Matthew Hess alone.

          It is disingenuous to broad-brush the entire intactivist movement as “anti-Semite” because of the work of one man.

          It is also disingenuous to call the Foreskin man “anti-Semitic,” when clearly, he attacks all practitioners of circumcision, not just Jews.

  • Frumsatire Fan

    Ok, I’d call myself a left wing/liberal person. But, leaving the religious implications aside for a moment, I think that the idea of a bris ban is an ugly by-product of our liberal society. We are so individualistic that we’re at risk of doing silly things in the name of individual freedom.

    Some people want to think that they don’t “condition” their children’s lives or impose anything on them. Hence, “let him decide when he grows up — we don’t want to make any decisions for him”. IMO, that type of people are shrugging off their responsibilities. OF COURSE you’re making decisions for your children, pretty much all the time until they’re grown up: you choose the neighborhood in which they’re going to grow up, the school you’re sending them to, the kind of social background they’re going to have… and many other choices, all of which are much more important than the aesthetics of the tip of their peepee.
    Now, what I don’t know is whether people who say this kind of thing 1) have a hidden anti-religious agenda, or 2) are too obsessed with looking progressive in front of other people, or 3) they’re terrified at the thought of having children and being responsible for them. Or maybe some other reason.

    • Seriously?

      perfect

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      The slippery slope is a logical fallacy.

      I’m afraid that the law already steps in, and in many cases, it is welcome. Mormons can’t be polygomous for example. You can’t deny your child urgent medical care because you think that god is going to provide treatment. You can’t involve your child in snake-handling or poison drinking. You can’t sell your daughter into slavery, or stone your son to death if he’s gay. You can’t inject botox into your daughter for the pageant, and you can’t tattoo your son.

      You also can’t cut off any part of your daughter’s vulva. Now, before people jump down my throat about it “not being the same,” let me remind you that whether you like it or not, female circumcision is viewed as a “religious rite” by many. There actually many kinds of female circumcision, some worse, others equal too, others less severe than male circumcision, and there is a federal ban on that, regardless. Last year, the AAP tried to endorse a “ritual nick,” which doesn’t even remove anything, but they were forced to backpedal.

      People who say this kind of thing may or may not have an “anti-religious agenda.” Some are actually Christians, others are Jews (please google “beyond the bris”). Would you say that people against female genital cutting are “obssessed with looking progressive? Some of us are parents too. So really. No. 3?

      Have you considered that some of us may actually be concerned about equality and human rights?

      Let’s please not pretend like parents can do anything and everything with their children. If parents had the freedom to do whatever it is they liked with their children there’d be no need for child protective services.

      • Frumsatire Fan

        No, parents don’t have freedom to do whatever they like with their children, and of course that’s a good thing. I never said otherwise. What I was saying was, let’s not even try to pretend that parents don’t condition, influence, and make decisions for their children without their consent. That’s a kind of huge part of what being a parent is, to do all that stuff until the children can be responsible for themselves.

        I think it’s better to look at this from a very practical point of view. Does the baby suffer all that much? I don’t think so. Does he lose anything, is there anything he won’t be able to do? No. (Here’s why a bris is NOT comparable to female circumcision, even though technically both may be labelled as “genital mutilation”.) The physical consequences of a bris are: his peepee will look different — like his dad’s — and when he grows up it will be cleaner. And on a different level: he’ll be able to grow up as a Jew, and, if he wants to continue that when he’s an adult, he’ll actually be quite grateful to his parents because a bris at age 8 days isn’t the same as a bris at age 18, or 28, or whatever.

        In my opinion, in many ways a bris is more like piercing a girl’s ear, or choosing a color for the baby’s outfit. People are exaggerating the medical consequences (positive and negative). The bottom line, again IMHO, is that the debate isn’t so much about health and medicine; it’s about making a decision for your child.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          “I think it’s better to look at this from a very practical point of view. Does the baby suffer all that much?”

          I think the more practical point of view is this; does the baby NEED to be circumcised? What is the urgent medical condition that will kill the child unless he is circumcised? If the child doesn’t need to be put through pain in trauma, through the risks of infection, ablation, and even death, WHY DO IT?

          “Does he lose anything, is there anything he won’t be able to do? No. (Here’s why a bris is NOT comparable to female circumcision, even though technically both may be labelled as “genital mutilation”.)”

          Actually, yes, yes he will lose something he won’t be able to do. The foreskin is normal, healthy tissue with which every child is born. In the normal, healthy penis, the foreskin covers the glans, or head of the penis. The child will lose the ability to cover his glans, and retract his foreskin, and use it to masturbate. Without the foreskin, the head of the penis dries out, necessitating lube in most men. Men who have restored can tell you about their loss in sensitivity. Of course you may say “but what about the men who say they’re fine?” And you may be right. But what about the men who got circumcised in later age, who noticed a difference? Who restored and have said “it’s better, but it will never be the same?” Yes. There is a loss. It’s just that in this country? We don’t want to admit that we are hurting children. Better to shut up and pretend everything is fine. It means a loss of a stipend for a doctor, and a loss of a parent’s sanity otherwise. No. Better be quiet. Circumcision doesn’t “hurt” the child. (Nevermind the fact that you’re actually CUTTING SOMETHING OFF from the most sensitive part of his body… denial is a powerful thing.)

          Also, when you say “female circumcision,” what exactly do you mean? Do you mean infibulation? Or South-East Asian “sunat?” Or do you mean the AAP “ritual nick?” Please. Before you compare bris milah with “female circumcision,” specify what you’re talking about. It’s not all the same. Please google “sunat” and find out what it is. It happens to baby girls in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and according to the mothers who are present, “they only yell out a quick yelp.” “It doesn’t hurt much.” Google “have you sunat your girls?” It’s very enlightening.

          “The physical consequences of a bris are: his peepee will look different — like his dad’s —…”

          In addition to all of the above…

          ” …and when he grows up it will be cleaner.”

          Not necessarily. He’ll still need to take a shower, because after a while it will start to smell like a hamster cage. You know what both men will have to do that works just as well? Take a shower.

          “And on a different level: he’ll be able to grow up as a Jew, and, if he wants to continue that when he’s an adult, he’ll actually be quite grateful to his parents because a bris at age 8 days isn’t the same as a bris at age 18, or 28, or whatever.”

          And if he doesnt want to continue being Jewish?

          “In my opinion, in many ways a bris is more like piercing a girl’s ear, or choosing a color for the baby’s outfit.”

          And you would be wrong. A bris would be more like cutting off her lobe. I think men that are angry that they were circumcised would be way more grateful to have gotten a prince albert than to have part of their penis cut off. No, it is NOT like choosing a color for the baby’s outfit. In that case, then so is “sunat.”

          “People are exaggerating the medical consequences (positive and negative). The bottom line, again IMHO, is that the debate isn’t so much about health and medicine; it’s about making a decision for your child.”

          A decision that only parents of boys are entitled to. Again, the federal ban on female genital cutting of any kind prohibits parents from Egypt, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. from making this “decision” for their girls.

          The bottom line is this: What is good for the goose, is good for the gander. Perhaps a ban on male circumcision would infringe on “religious freedom” and “parental choice.” In that case then, we need to lift that ban on FGM.

          The bottom line is this; without any medical or clinical indication whatsover, CAN a doctor even be performing circumcision in a healthy, non-consenting child, much less be giving his parents any kind of a “choice?” In charging to perform surgery on a healthy, non-concenting individual, is a doctor not committing medical fraud? And in taking advantage of parental naivete and ultimately, the child himself, professional abuse?

          • Ansy

            “I think the more practical point of view is this; does the baby NEED to be circumcised? What is the urgent medical condition that will kill the child unless he is circumcised? If the child doesn’t need to be put through pain in trauma, through the risks of infection, ablation, and even death, WHY DO IT?”

            – uhhh, in case you dont realize, this is a Jewish blog discussing issues of the Jewish religion / community, a religion in which circumcision is a biblically mandated religious requirement, irrespective of any medical issues. Due to the fact that you seem to admit, as logic, practicality, and any doctor would as well, that a circumcision neither causes long-term damage of any sort nor any torturous level of suffering or pain (physical or psychological), what is your problem?

            Your argument is tantamount to complaining of paying someone to pierce an infant’s ears. If you want to argue the merits of piercing a child’s ears where there is no intention to actually utilize those piercings, thereby inflicting unnecessary short-term pain for absolutely no purpose, thats fine, and people can go back and forth. Further, if you want to debate the merits of innocuous religious practice (as this would be due to the absolutely only result of a circumcision being a different looking organ) as a matter of law, then this definitely isnt the right blog for you and probably isnt the right country for you, as “bans” are meant for actions that disrupt society one way or another (which this does not, as even a child who grows up and comes to despise his circumcision, cannot point to anything, other than how it looks, to be a problem. Since people dont walk around naked, at least not yet, there doesnt appear to be an actual societal disruption that would be caused by such a thing) and isnt something the US is about (you know that whole religious freedom bit? y’know, how much of this country came to be populated? do the words “the mayflower” ring a bell?).

            But, if you want to debate the right to do it / the right to pay someone to do it, that has no place. This isnt damaging, this isnt “mutliation”, it changes nothing about a person other than slightly changing how an always-covered part of the body looks and fulfills a religious requirement in the worlds 3rd largest religion.

            And please, save the whole female circumcision crap. That has no place here either. That just shows you dont understand the environment in which you are speaking. Judaism 1) has no mention, whatsoever, of any form of female circumcision and 2) actually explicitly bans any sort of permanent bodily mutilation, which again, as pointed out above, is not a category into which cutting the foreskin would fall under.

            Your argument of loss of sensitivity is stupid because its completely inconclusive as there have been arguments both wise, neither side proven or substantiated. Same goes for the medical arguments.

            As I pointed out, it is not like cutting off a lobe, which is something clear to the public eye and would cause societal disruption since a person wouldnt be able to hide that – they would have to live with always looking like a freak relative to society. Clearly a different scenario.

            It comes down to that circumcision is something that is neither proven to be good nor bad on a medical, physical, or a psychological level. Dont spew crap about the pain inflicted – the pain inflicted on an 8 day old baby boy isnt coming back to haunt him years later, no different than an ear piercing. The babies even stop crying after a few minutes and any swelling goes down in 1-3 days – safe to say that pain subsides completely in a relatively short period of time. from the . It is thus innocuous and an insanely dumb thing to waste time arguing over as something even close to warranting a discussion to ban.

            It so frustrating to hear these ridiculously passionate arguments against it. It doesnt even effect the size of it!! Circumcision (in the Jewish sense of course ) doesnt effect anyone or anything other than a small cosmetic change that NOONE CAN SEE!!!

  • Anonymous

    At shul on Shabbos last week we were talking about this after kiddush. Apparently, this whole thing started with an attempt to ban p0rn in California. That ban didn’t pass, but the people supporting the bill noticed that in most p0rn the men were milah. So they figured that if they banned brit milah, then they could effectively ban p0rn from being produced in San Fransico (and eventually the rest of California).

    • http://www.circumstitons.com Hugh7

      That’s fiction from beginning to end. It makes no sense at all. There is no rule that men in porn have to be circumcised (in European porn they usually aren’t, of course). They choose the men on other qualities, like their personality. :)

    • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

      I’m guessing you’re trying to be funny (not because I’m amused but because all the Yiddish reminds me of Maury Amsterdam).

      You should know that the top male performer THREE YEARS IN A ROW at the US porn awards was Manuel Ferarra, an intact man.

      Women he works with said this after the awards this spring that they would PAY to do scenes with with, he’s the BEST.

  • Sergeant J

    Anonymous, the main guy pushing the ban is a gay man who claims he does not like the way his circ . junk looks, essentially, so .. no, your story does not jive with reality..
    Also, the whole “most times in the US circumcision is done for non religious reasons” is still not a reason to make it ILLEGAL… If you are worried about that, make it not covered by insurance, or make sure doctors have to explain to the parents all of the pros and cons…

    • Manna$eh

      The problem with what you wrote is that it is possible to make a prophylactic argument for cicrumcision, and that may be the reason why it is covered as a procedure under many health insurance policies. Also, ad hominem attacks do not advance your argument. So what if the guy pushing the ban doesn’t find his circumcised member appealing? I don’t see how this precludes his argument against circumcision.

      • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

        Manna$eh, you can make a “prophilactic argument” about any part of the body. At the end of the day, don’t you need a medical indication for surgery?

        Consider this; one in 6 men will get prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Some say that circumcision prevents penile cancer, but that statistic, as per the ACS is one in 100,000. Couldn’t we make a “prophilactic argument” that we should remove prostates in all newborn boys to “spare them” from a disease that is actually more prevalent than any disease circumcision is supposed to prevent?

        • BH

          There is a vast difference btwn removing something INSIDE the body and outside the body and you know that. There is almost nothing except vaccinations that can be compared to circumcision due to the fact the foreskin is on the OUTSIDE- therefore no need to go under anesthesia- which can be very dangerous. But you knew that already, didnt you?

          • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

            Definitional retreat. We were talking about “prophilaxia,” weren’t we.

            Before you compare circumcision to a vaccine, you need to establish that circumcision does actually immunize your child against something.

            I’m afraid that circumcision cannot even begin to come close to behaving anything like a vaccine.

            A vaccine strengthens the immune system against microbes that cause disease; when a virus infects the body, it really doesn’t matter whether your child is missing his foreskin or his finger, or his nose.

            “…the foreskin is on the OUTSIDE- therefore no need to go under anesthesia…”

            WHAT??? No anaesthesia? Yeah. Explain that one to me before telling me what I do and do not know.

            http://articles.cnn.com/1997-12-23/health/9712_23_circumcision.anesthetic_1_circumcision-study-foreskin-anesthetic?_s=PM:HEALTH

            Hee-yeah. Painless my (insert your favorite body part here).

  • Puzzled

    I’m opposed to the ban. But, I can’t help but notice that it’s more consistent with the traditional American view of government, as expressed in our founding documents, than most of the other things that are done. When people complain (rightly, in my opinion) that the ban restricts personal choices, I wish they’d pause for a second and notice the other bans that restrict personal choices. At least it can be argued that this one protects an innocent person from a very personal form of assault.

  • Lukewarm Chanie

    I represented a Catholic man a few years ago who asked me not to schedule a matter during certain dates. He later told me that he need to be circumcised as an adult for medical reasons. When it was over he told me that ” you Jews” got it right. I wish that the government would keep its nose out of men’s shmeckels and women’s uterus’. Please stop thinking that Judaism should be run as a democracy. I have not reached a place in my life where I want to be in solidarity with those whom practice the Muslim religion.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      I know many men who had to have their prostates removed due to prostate cancer. Believe me, it’s no fun to go through surgery, and then have to wear a catheter for the rest of your life.

      Perhaps parents should be given the option to remove their baby boys’ prostates, you know? Just in case.

      I mean, forget about all of the other men who didn’t develop prostate cancer or “medical problems” with their foreskins…

  • Seriously?

    All you need to know about motivation is found by the bill’s main backers. Go to http://www.foreskinman.com .

  • http://boxedwhine.blogspot.com BoxedWhine

    I don’t believe in banning circumcision, but I am debating not doing it if we have a boy. My husband, who is Traditional Jewgnostic* says that we should totally circumcise our child…but I am going back and forth on the idea.

    *Traditional Jewgnostic- The best way to describe my husband. Believes that there are no atheists in foxholes, only goes to shul when dragged to, owns no tallis, never got bar mitzvahd, celebrated major holidays, but never had a real Jewish identity yet likes the traditional stuff. Can be found saying “This wine is Kosher? But it actually tastes good!”

    • Bar Mitzvahed and Circumcised

      “never got bar mitzvahd”?
      Interesting.
      Here is one area where the more liberal streams are stricter than the more conservative streams. According to any and all orthodox Jews (Lubavitch, Satmar, YU, Young Israel, Kippa Serugah, Hassidish, Misnaged, Litvak, Glitziana, Separhd, Ashkenaz, Modern Orthodox, etc.) you AUTOMATICALLY are “bar mitzvahed” when you become 13. No matter what you (or your parents) do, or do not do (and no matter what “type” of Jew you are). It is all about becoming responsible for your own actions and no longer being a child. Apparently, for the non-religious and non-orthodox, if there was no party and/or ceremony, one “is not barmitzvahed yet”.
      Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • http://boxedwhine.blogspot.com BoxedWhine

        Hey there,
        I don’t think you are wrong- I know what you said. I meant that he never did get to go up to the Torah and read the parsha. Are you in the mood for a sect fight? I’m not.

        • Bar Mitzvahed and Circumcised

          I know that many intelligent people like yourself may use the term “had a barmitzvah” to REFER to the parsha call up.
          But I dare say that many, many, many more, hearing that phrase think that the ceremony, speech, party, or parsha, is like a wedding or bris or other religious ceremony, where it IS the ceremony that makes the event.
          I apologise if my disdain for the phrase “was bar mitzvahed” (because it misleads many people), was taken as an intended judgemental attack on you, or what you know specifically.
          One of my pet peeves is the tendency of smart Jews to assume that everyone else is as knowledgable as them. This leads, to give an extreme example, to unfortunate circumstances like Spielbergs’ Schindlers list’s “gas chamber scene” (where the showers turn out to be actual showers) that we the informed know whats going on with it, but the uninformed masses walk away with a memory of “hey they WERE just real showers.”
          Again, apologies if any offense was taken.
          Shabbat Shalom and Good Shabbos.

  • Telz Angel

    San Francisco and the surrounding areas represent a part of the US that is culturally unrelated to the rest of the country.

    The issue that invaded your head was “maybe it should be left up to the child whether or not he wants to be circumcized at age 18″ . The attitude is one of “rights”. That a person has the right to decide what happens to him. In SF, this is taken to an extreme. You and I would agree that a person has the right to choose what clothing to wear. After all, no government should tell me I have to wear a yellow shirt (or a yellow star). But in SF this means that a man can wear trashy women’s clothing on the streets, and it’s OK. You see such men walking around the streets, and even in the workplace. Not a lot — but they are there. It’s because they assert the “right” to do this.

    In contrast, in the mirror universe, you could imagine a different SF. Where the culture was that parents have a responsibility to raise their children with some reasonable value system. In this mirror universe, you’d see that parents would impart some form of tradition to their kids. Sure, kids rebel and eventually find their own way — but you’d still see laws and behaviors that reflected a sense of parenting responsibility as a priority, not the rights of youth as the priority. In that universe, this proposed ban would be laughed at. Of course parents can impart their religion onto their children and of course this happens before they turn 18. Once the child grows up, this parenting responsibility evaporates and the young person will find his own path.

    So yes, some angry Jew and his friends want to show how much they resent their parents and heritage by proposing this ban. But let’s not be seduced by their appeal to “rights”. This is not about “rights”. Children don’t get to choose much. They don’t have the right to vote, to drive a car, to smoke, to eat junk food, to stay up after 10:00 pm, to not brush teeth — they are children. They don’t possess rights, they demand parenting. And this proposed ban is an attack on parents.

    • Manna$eh

      Telz Angel,
      Your first comment about San Francisco sounds oddly familiar to Sarah Palin’s comments about “real America.” Would you care to explain to me what then constitutues the “real” or “authentic” American culture in which SF and the “surrounding areas” don’t participate?
      I won’t address your ridiculous attempt at constructing a straw man, though your failure at this quite common rhetorical flub is noteworthy.
      Telz, are you serious when you write, “They [children] don’t possess rights….And this proposed ban is an attack on parents.”? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you really don’t mean that children categorically have no rights.

      • Telz Angel

        First of all Rebbizen Palin is hott and therefore everything she says is worth listening to — if only to see her lips and cheeks move. So I agree with her. Real America is what we see on CBS and Fox — white, not necessarily bright, but always right. bam.

        BTW, I am serious about the overplay of rights and underplay of responsibilities. I believe this would be a better culture if every 18 year old was required to participate in at least one year of civic duty (either military, cleaning up roadkill on the highway, fixing trails in the forests, cleaning graffiti, pushing wheelchairs in a hospital, helping with after-school programs — whatever). Instead we give our 18 year old all the “rights”, but with no sense of duty. And we have parents who negotiate with kids — as if they have rights. Rights must be earned. Until then, kids live with a sense of grace. That’s why we teach kids to daven and say brochos — to teach them that milk does not magically appear in refrigerators — and they don’t have the right to get an ipad just because their friend got one.

        I don’t think that kids can say “but I have the right to eat a candy bar for dinner”, “I have the right to choose if I brush my teeth”, etc. I don’t think that kids have those rights. No, I’m not saying that the government should not protect kids from abusive parents. But that the government should not infringe parents from performing their duty — to raise kids. The Bris Milah is a parental obligation — and this teaches us that as parents, we have a mitzvah to perform. If my kids don’t wear tfilin when they are 30, I’ll be sad, but it’s their choice. But if my baby does not have a bris, then I’m abdicating my role as a parent. And the proposed ban is therefore an attempt to preclude my parenting, not to protect a foreskin.

        Should I have asked my kid if he wanted me to snip the umbilical chord? Should I get permission from him before I get him vaccinated?

      • Telz Angel

        My long response is apparently in the queue, waiting to be made visible here. sorry for the wait. :-(

    • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

      Don’t you think people should have the right to choose which parts of their penis they get to keep? If you don’t own your own body, what do you own? The child’s right to bodily integrity should always trump the parent’s right to freedom of religion. Religious genital mutilation violates our most sacred principles of medical ethics (autonomy, justice, proportionality, primum non nocere). Circumcision is a profound failure of fundamental human compassion and it is an example of how some religions are capable of making otherwise moral people commit immoral actions. Physicians should refuse to participate in this immoral practice.

      • Telz Angel

        No I don’t. I don’t think I own my own body either. I did not choose it, and if I would, then I made a bad choice. There are plenty of better bodies out there and I bet you think I have the right to have a better body too. Maybe I should take one of those better bodies. There, I now have the body of Brad Pitt.

        I did not get to choose my genes either. Sucks to have pimples for so many years. And the propensity for high cholesterol makes me think that I should sue my parents for malpractice — they had no right giving me such bad genes. And why did they force me to have one of these dangling parts in the first place. They didn’t even ask me if I wanted a Y chromosome. I demand justice. It was a failure on their part to force me into existence. And why the natural birth? it crushed my head. What a thoughtless mother I have — she should have had a c-section if she really loved me. And she should have used cloth diapers too. I resent the fact that I contributed to the landfills — they never gave me the choice. Don’t I have rights?!

        They forced me to be a Jew. Why couldn’t I have been a Belgian, I always wanted to be one and they never let me. Instead they made be suffer in this condition of jewiness. Alas, I could always turn to the nanny-state of California to express my frustrations. Governments solve all problems.

        No, body integrity is a red herring. We cut our hair, our fingernails, loose our teeth, sometimes get an appendix or wisdom tooth removed. Some of us have many deformities that warrant modification to the body integrity — sometimes for medical purposes, like a cleft lip, sometimes for psychological purposes. Mutilation is a fancy and scary word — but it is misapplied here. Some parts of our body are extra, missing, malformed, or designed for removal. Some not. Where do you draw the line? Most agree that with males, it’s not mutilation, with females it is. In this case I don’t want the potheads of SF telling me that I have to draw the line where they think I should.

        • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

          The prepuce is not vestigial. If you examine the genitalia of lower primates such as spider monkeys, you will discover that the vast majority of innervation is in the glans (head). Chimpanzees and bonobos, which are apes like us, have much more innervation on the inner prepuce and humans are the extreme example with the vast majority of innervation on the inner prepuce and relatively dull sensory receptors on the glans. From an evolutionary point of view, this indicates the prepuce is an evolutionary advancement, not a vestigial structure. Evolution does not tolerate frivolous design, ruthless utilitarianism is what leads to physical complexity and the prepuce is found on every single mammal. This would indicate an evolutionary advantage to the penis in its natural state which has developed over millions of years of evolution.

          • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

            You do believe in evolution, do you?

            • AstroTheSpaceDog

              Yep, but not the Darwinian theory thankyouvery much. Everything evolves, but we have only theory to guide us how they have evolved. Theory must be taken with faith. I already have another faith and Origins Of The Species tends to clash with my faith.

            • Telz Angel

              I believe in evolution, it is evident.
              I also believe in devolution, it is equally evident.

              I do not believe that evolution does not tolerate frivolous design — that would imply some Divine-like force that guides evolution in a mystical/religious manner. And as a modern-thinking, scientific person, this divine-hand that guides evolution is non-falsifiable, therefore non-scientific (thank you Karl Popper). So let’s not mix science with religion. Evolution is what it is — a natural process. One that is not perfect. And thus just ‘cuz something evolved does not mean that it is an improvement.

              Yes, things improve — but not categorically. The belief that evolution must lead to continuous improvement is simply a reflection of a desire to demonstrate that we are smarter than our parents. And now we’re back full circle. The anti-circ folks have a problem with their parents — they should work this out in therapy sessions, not in nanny-state laws.

              • AstroTheSpaceDog

                You picked all this up in the Telz HS library? It was locked in my day…

          • Off the OJ

            Whoaaaa, that’s totally wrong. Evolution doesn’t think and frivolous/junk design definitely exists, which is a better argument against intelligent design than anything else. I’m not saying the foreskin has no purpose but just because it exists does not mean it has to have any “useful” function.

            • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

              What are you talking about. Of COURSE it does. It’s the way evolution works. Nature has no place for unnecessary toys. If it’s not “useful,” then why is it still around after millions of years? Wouldn’t it have disappeared ages ago?

      • Anonymous

        Think of it the other way around though. I know I would be very upset if I had a smegma filled monkey d?ck. Forcing someone to suffer like that for 18 years sounds much more immoral than a bris.

        • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

          You mean smegma-filled APE dick; we are APES, not monkeys. Adolescent females produce about 4.5 times more smegma on a daily basis than males, better sharpen the scalpels right? How on earth do those beautiful Swedish women (male circ rate <1%) put up with all that smegma? Let's summarize: soap and water for little girls, scalpels and plastibells for little boys. Are Americans so sexually repressed that instead of teaching children to clean their genitals, you'd rather cut part of the penis off?

        • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

          You mean smegma-filled APE d?ck…we are APES, not monkeys.
          Adolescent females produce about 4.5 times more smegma on a daily basis than males, better sharpen the scalpels. Let’s now summarize: soap and water for little girls, scalpels and Gomco clamps for little boys. Are we so sexually repressed, that instead of teaching boys to clean their genitals, we’re just going to cut part of the penis off? I better wash behind my ears…

      • Frumsatire Fan

        Christopher L. Guest,
        You’re an example of position I discussed in my earlier response (at the very top).
        My parents chose my name, and imposed on me a surname that sounds really weird and nobody can spell. If they had brought me up speaking Russian, wow, just imagine how much more clever I’d be, all those inflected nouns and what not. By talking to me in Spanish, they really let half of my brain go to waste — and now, when I speak in English people make all sort of stigmatizing assumptions because of my accent. They forced me to live in a small town that I didn’t choose; if I’d have grown up in Paris, Milan or Tokyo I’d sound so much more chic, I’d be happier and more fulfilled. I feel the anger every time people ask me where I’m from. Also, my parents decided to dress me in boys’ clothes. Did they think for a moment whether that’s what I wanted? No. Plus, you should see the clothes, I look silly in all the pictures. They chose the Nerdy look for me; what if I wanted to do the Jock instead? (Actually, I think that for a while I consistently chose to go Naturist, no clothes at all, but guess what — they didn’t respect my choice.) They picked a school without consulting with me, and that conditioned the rest of my life: my friends, my interests, everything. If it weren’t for the guilt (which they shoved on me), I don’t see why I keep talking to my parents, they ruined my life.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          FRumsatire, you are comparing things that really can’t compare to circumcision. You can always change your surname if you really want. You can always learn a different language. You can always choose to live in a different town. you can change your clothes. You can change all kinds of things that your parents imposed no you.

          The one thing you can’t change is circumcision. That’s there whether you want it or not. Only men who were left to have their foreskins could ever “choose” to have them removed.

          This is why male circumcision and female circumcision are more comparable than people care to realize. You’re cutting off part of another person’s body. That is the same any way you slice it.

          • Seriously?

            The body and the soul can (and are) permanently altered by their experiences. I don’t think there is anything holier about the body than the soul – and parents certainly do mess with kids’ minds. :-)

          • Frumsatire Fan

            Option A: No bris, and if he REALLY wants to have one, let him have one when he grows up.
            Option B: Bris, and if he REALLY wants a foreskin when he grows up he can have a foreskin reconstruction.

            In both cases, an adult guy runs a higher risk and feels more pain undertaking surgery than a baby (plus it’s much more expensive, and presumably he’d have to pay for it, not his parents).
            Option A makes it more difficult for the child to decide to be Jewish. Until he gets his bris he isn’t fully Jewish (I think), and until then, what?
            Option B allows parents to give their sons a part in their Jewish religious background. If later in life the he doesn’t like it, he can reject it — you don’t need to have a foreskin to go “off the derech”. But it doesn’t work the other way round: if you want Judaism later in life, you can’t “order a Jewish childhood”. This is something we baal tshuvas and converts know. It’s not the end of the world, it’s ok to be a baal tshuva, but I think it’s only natural that parents, even if they’re not super religious, would like to pass on their religious heritage to their children.

            I’ve actually talked to people who had a bris later in life (non-American converts) and say that their sensations are the same as before, in spite of having lost a million zillion nerve endings (the grass is always greener in somebody else’s yard). And bris people are clean down there pretty much just having a shower, whereas non-bris people need to be much more conscientious unless they want to be called Monterrey Jack.

            • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

              Sorry, there’s no evidence that an adult runs a higher risk in circumcison, or experiences more discomfort.

              In fact hundreds of babies die annually in the US. Adult complications of circumcision would relate to the underlying condition that caused the circumcision decision, but cutting 10,ooo healthy normal adults would not lead to more complications than cutting 10,000 healthy normal babies.

              The adult tolerates better / more pain meds, the adult doesn’t have to heal in a fouled diaper, and the adult has someone NOT long dead he can find and punch in the face if the outcome sucks.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      “San Francisco and the surrounding areas represent a part of the US that is culturally unrelated to the rest of the country. ”

      I think this is true for almost any area of the country you try to name. Even within California, San Francisco and LA are worlds apart.

      “In contrast, in the mirror universe, you could imagine a different SF… In that universe, this proposed ban would be laughed at. Of course parents can impart their religion onto their children and of course this happens before they turn 18. Once the child grows up, this parenting responsibility evaporates and the young person will find his own path.”

      It sounds to me like you’re advocating for the abolishment of child protective services. Think of things that parent’s CAN’T do to their children, by law.

      In many states, most recently, Oregon, a parent cannot deny needed medical care to their children, much to the chagrin of the “Followers of Christ” church, who is infamous for letting children die and/or develop grotesque deformities because their members refuse to take their children to a hospital.

      In New Jersey, you can’t inject botox into a child, unless there is medical reason. The age limit for botox is 18. Sound familiar? This law was enacted because a mother was injecting botox into her 8yo daughter so that she would look good for the pageant.

      In California, a man is serving his sentence because he decided that the best thing for him to do was to tattoo his street gang’s symbol on his child’s abdomen. Oh no! Our rights are being violated as parents!

      And, there is a federal ban on all female genital cutting. Before you get on me about how much “worse” it is, read up on all the different kinds of female genital cutting. There are different levels of severity, some are worse than, the same, or less severe than male circumcision. Last year, the AAP tried to endorse a “ritual nick” that wouldn’t do much, except draw a few drops of blood. You can google this to find out how it turned out.

      “So yes, some angry Jew and his friends want to show how much they resent their parents and heritage by proposing this ban. But let’s not be seduced by their appeal to “rights”.”

      Somebody repeal the ban against female circumcision! Parents from Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore can’t pass on their “heritage” to their girls! It’s all just appeal to “rights!” No! No rights!

      “Children don’t get to choose much. They don’t have the right to vote, to drive a car, to smoke, to eat junk food, to stay up after 10:00 pm, to not brush teeth — they are children. They don’t possess rights, they demand parenting. And this proposed ban is an attack on parents.”

      And, you will agree, so is any other law or ban that stops parents from abusing their children. Lift them. Lift them all. Parents should have the right to do whatever it is they please with their children daggummit…

      • Telz Angel

        You have demonstrated there are wackos out there who hurt their kids — those people should be punished. Their kids should be protected. The whole child-pageant thing is totally gross. Yes, there are people who believe in harming their children, and yes, there are religions which are the opposite of moral. I pity the sick children of those christian sects who prevent their kids from getting medical attention. As well as women in Afghanistan who cannot go to male doctors or find any female doctors anymore. The world is a messed up place with messed up people.

        Laws should protect citizens from harm. The issue here is whether circumcision is harm. If is was the case that the medical community held the conclusive opinion that this act is downright harmful, life threatening, dangerous, and without merit, then halacha would have to take that fact into account. Life is supreme in Jewish law. And if suddenly all jewish males were un-circed — then we’d all be like the Israelites in the desert for 40 years — un-circed. They got the Torah — so I guess they were not so bad off.

        However, the medical fact is that this act is not categorically dangerous, life threatening, or without merit. It certainly has risks (as everything does) — risks that are easy to address with a good mohel. There are benefits too. It’s seems that some doctors are against this, some are for it, and some see it as a reasonable option to choose or not.

        So whereas pumping your little kid with botox is sicking (actually having them parade around in heels and makeup is just a damaging IMO) — performing what is generally considered a benign procedure should not be included in this category.

        Practically speaking the ban will only cost the taxpayers a ton of money. It will not “save” anyone (people will travel to another town if they want a bris). It will just stir up anger, cost, hatred, and will de-focus people on the real issues of real abuse. In all, a pure waste of time when there are far more important issues to deal with.

        • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

          “You have demonstrated there are wackos out there who hurt their kids — those people should be punished. Their kids should be protected.”

          That’s what this debate is all about – protecting children from adults who cannot see or admit the harm they are doing, albeit without malice and probably with the hope of all things good for their children… like all things loving parents do for their children. Some used to spank and beat their children in the hope of making them good citizens… “This is for your own good.” “It hurts me more than it hurts you,” “I am only doing this because I love you.”

          The foreskin is the lucky rabbit’s foot. “Let’s make a deal” with God. But religion/ superstition/ tradition [choose your favorite] is blind and that is when those who can see the harm clearly have to protect children.

          As long as circumcision provides an income for anyone, it will be advocated and defended. Give those who profit from it all the money they want and let them retire in style – as long as they keep their knives away from babies’ penises. If they can’t stop cutting, then either send them to jail or send them to a mental health institution where they can get help for their fetish.

  • Seriously?

    It is an attack on Jews. See foreskinman.com

  • I find Chabadniks…v.v”hot

    I live really close to SF–that place is Sodom and an abomination. I hate it.

  • S.H.

    It’s hysterical that the uber-liberals take the anti-choice position on this one. These are liberals who should be the most stand-offish in any matter of personal freedom and government intervention on social issues and are the same people who would gladly consign the right to kill the same child to the mother a few days (or at least a few months) earlier. You think the sponsors of this measure are so worried about the poor baby having to live without a foreskin?? LOL. It’s a chance to take a shot at religion and anyone who doesn’t see that in a milisecond is blind as a bat.

    • Manna$eh

      S.H., you’re confusing Libertarians and Liberals. Anyone who doesn’t see that in a millisecond is blind as a bat. Idiot.

      • danielGA

        the people who are proposing this are liberals, not libertarians. liberals are by and large pro-choice. libertarians are divided on the issue. stop calling names.

        • Seriously?

          It is entirely nonsensical that SF liberals go to the wall to defend killing a fetus that is not yet cleared the womb, but once it has moved that foot or two, reject cosmetic alteration.

          • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

            It is utterly absurd to insist a child has a right to be born, but not a right to be free of a non-therapeutic amputation which not one national medical association on earth endorses.

            Those opposed to the ban are ANTI choice. HIS body, HIS decision.

  • Yoreh K’chetz

    San Fran attitude doesn’t go along very well with Torah rules.
    The general attitude there is probably further from our religion than any other US city. The place where you can’t smoke a cigarette in most areas, but you can “smoke” your buddies junk anywhere anytime and be considered “normal”.

    I say Jews should leave there in mass protest, maybe when they see a nice dent in their economy they may reconsider being more sensitive to us.

  • Drew

    When I asked a Mohel about this, he told me that circumcizing an infant is completely different from circumcizing an adult.

    On an infant, the foreskin is very soft, and can be removed pretty easily with little chance of complications. On an adult, it is much harder, and is major surgery to remove. Generally the patient needs to be knocked out in order to perform the procedure. It is much more difficult and dangerous to remove adult foreskin than that of an infant.

    • Tora Spigner RN MSN

      That is not true! The foreskin on the penis of an infant is adhered to the glans (head) and has to be forcibly unattached before the foreskin can be cut off. That attachment is like your fingernail to your finger. Try removing your fingernail from your finger with a sip of wine or even a local anesthetic and see how much pain it causes you! At least an adult is retractable and the foreskin can be removed with less trauma and with adequate anesthesia and analgesia! Most circumcisions on infants are done with little or no anesthesia. 80% of men in the world have a foreskin, we should be so enlightened in this country.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      Asking a mohel (or a medical doctor that circumcises children) his opinion on whether or not circumcision is good/bad, is like asking a tobacco industry executive whether or not he thinks smoking is a health-hazard. Or asking a butcher whether or not you should go vegetarian.

      “It’s hard to get a man to understand something, if his livelihood depends on his not understanding.” ~Upton Sinclair

      • Seriously?

        Ad hominem. Are the facts right or not?

      • Ken

        Agree with Seriously. Also, if you refuse to ask anyone with any degree of personal closeness to the issue then you can’t ask anyone including yourself. That said, I generally agree with the premise that doctors (which is to say my colleagues) with a financial stake in the outcome of a matter are often unreliable and those are valid questions to ask. The National Association of Circumcisors is not where I would look for an analysis of the evidence. To rule out medical experts, however, is extremely foolish. Most physicians, such as myself, have no financial stake in this matter whatsoever. I for example don’t do the procedure (used to a long time ago) and don’t benefit in any way from whether my patients do it for their babies or not. What we do, however, bring to the table is many years of intensive study and training in how to find and evaluate that evidence. Refusing to consider the conclusions of physicians about the published medical literature is like refusing to allow any skilled carpenters to build houses. Of course you have a vested interest in excluding experts from commenting because you want to spout faith based assertions and experts with their “evidence” get in the way, so it’s important to you to demonstrate that the experts by definition are unqualified to comment.

        People reading, though, will have to choose between your pure faith and the experts’ evidence. I, for one, like my odds.

        • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

          Ken, if you have a logical bone in your body, then you will appreciate this: to ostensibly save one case of UTI, 100 boys are cut… as an MD, you may know that 5 girls in 100 get UTIs and they are treated with antibiotics, not genital cutting. The penile cancer argument is even weaker – you have to cut 100,000 babies to ostensibly save one old man over the age of 70 with bad hygiene from penile cancer… far more men die of breast cancer than penile cancer.

          • Ken

            ” if you have a logical bone in your body. . .” Not only logical ones, but a tad more relevant education than it appears you can claim.

            Indeed, the NNT (Number Needed to Treat) to prevent a UTI is 100. UTI rate in circumcised boy babies under 3 mos is 2.4%. Rate in uncircumcised ones is 20.1%. Of course given that the rate of actually proven harm, of any kind, is so low, this is not insignificant.

            Regarding penile cancer, however you might oddly try to dismiss *preventable death* from penile cancer as somehow trivial because it, you report, only affects some nasty old “70 year old with bad hygeine” the fact remains that penile cancer, though rare in any event, is *3 to 6 times less likely* in men circumcised as babies. Tell the parents of babies this is meaningless because it won’t affect their children until they are old men with bad hygeine. BTW, this benefit *only* accrues to men circumcised in infancy, not if done later in life.

            You don’t mention the reduction in cervical cancer among female partners, presumably because you can’t try to pass off the *deaths* of young otherwise healthy women who probably have perfectly acceptable “hygeine” as meaningless. The cervical cancer rate is *4 times higher* among women who have uncircumcised sexual partners (or partners circumcised in adulthood–this is another benefit that is only realized if the procedure is done in infancy). One study showed that women whose circumcised partners had had 6 or more prior partners *still* had a lower cervical cancer rate than women with an uncircumcised partner.

            HIV transmission is reduced *50-60%* even controlling for condom use.

            I will leave it to readers to decide which one of us is “logical.”

            • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

              As I said, “Lies, damned lies and statistics”. It is illogical, unethical, and medical misfeasance to recommend circumcision of 100,000 babies to prevent a few cases of penile cancer that can be prevented by improved hygiene. And circumcised men still get penile cancer if they do not take good care of themselves. Still, very, very few. Better to amputate the breast buds, for more males die of breast cancer. Yep – American Cancer Society says that 150% more men die of breast cancer than penile cancer… cut off those baby boys’ breasts! Might as well get rid of their prostates while we’re at it. Heart disease is a real killer too. Joking. I am just joking… but that’s where your logic leads.

              As for UTIs. From Ronald Goldman’s website, circumcision.org:

              “One medical claim for circumcision is that it decreases the incidence of urinary tract infection (UTI) in the first year of life. However, the UTI studies this position is based on have been criticized by other physicians, most notably by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They concluded that the test designs and methods of these studies may have “flaws.” A similar study found no confirmed cases of UTI in intact male infants without urinary birth defects. Furthermore, the UTI defense of circumcision is weak, not just because the methods are flawed, but because the logic and reasoning leading to the conclusion are flawed.

              “The UTI studies do not justify routine infant circumcision for the following reasons: Even according to the questionable studies, the overwhelming majority (96-99 percent) of intact male infants do not get UTIs in the first year. It is not reasonable to subject them to circumcision and the associated pain without demonstrable benefit.”

              That’s a far cry from the 20% of intact babies that you quote. Where did you get your data?

              I do not find statistics to be “logical” but more “manipulative”. They shock and convince those who do not look at the real numbers. When you look at the real numbers, statistics are revealed as less than honest.

  • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

    The foreskin is richly innervated erogenous tissue and should not be amputated without medical urgency or unless the benefit SIGNIFICANTLY outweighs the potential for harm. Virtually all medical associations in the world agree there is no benefit to non-therapeutic circumcision. Bronze age religious blood rituals should never trump rational scientific judgment and contemporary medical ethics. Physicians need to put down the scalpels and respect the autonomy of the child. His body, his choice.

    • Telz Angel

      Dear Christopher Guest — I love your movies. But let me suggest for your consideration that your spinal tap science simply blows a might wind. Your contribution sure sounds like you are the best of show, but I’d rather be waiting for Guffman, since Corky St. Clair (my favorite of your characters) clearly knew a thing or two about the shmekel.

      • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

        I’m glad you like my movies but perhaps you should learn some basic “shmekel” anatomy. For instance, the prepuce contains about 20,000 highly specialized sensory receptors such as Meissner’s corpuscles and Ruffini endings and is more densely innervated than any other part of the penis. Circumcision needlessly amputates the vast majority of fine touch corpuscular neuroreceptors from the penis; as well as removing the primary gliding mechanism along Dartos fascia; as well as leading to 10-15 times thickening of the cornea stratum overlying the glans penis which is the result of externalizing an internal structure. You don’t see too many intact men lining up to have that part of their anatomy amputated.

        • Telz Angel

          So I don’t get it: Your argument implies that removing the prepuce causes procreation to be less enjoyable causing there to be less of a desire or pleasure to engage in the act, causing there to be fewer Jews in the world.

          And you are against this?

          • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

            As a physician and a person who has a prepuce, I am 100% convinced that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure; which Maimonides was quite clear on; as were the ancient Greek physicians; as were the ancient Roman physicians; as were the Victorian physicians who only medicalized the procedure to curb masturbation. If an 18 year-old, consenting adult would like to remove 50% of the surface area skin from his genitalia (for religious or non-religious reasons), I wouldn’t advise it, but knock yourself out. Children are powerless and are unable to consent to this procedure which offers NO medical benefit. As physicians, our ethical obligation is to the child, not to conspire with the child’s parents and act as “cultural brokers” by performing surgical amputations on their children’s genitals. If circumcision didn’t exist, would any sane person think to invent it? Just because a ritual has been practiced for a long time, it does not make it beneficial or ethical.

            • Ken

              “I am 100% convinced that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure. . .” That of which you are “100% convinced” is flatly contradicted by published evidence to the contrary. You are confronted with the age old conundrum: Your belief is contradicted by evidence. Will you choose the evidence or the belief?

              • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

                As to whether circumcision decreases sexual pleasure, the evidence is conflicting. Therefore, I guess you have to ask yourself the following question: “Do I think removing 20,000 highly specialized sensory receptors from the penis would INCREASE sexual pleasure, or do I think it would DECREASE sexual pleasure?” Now you’re going to say “it probably has no effect” but that’s not a very strong argument in favour of amputating normal anatomy. Food may taste the same after the lips are amputated but does that seem like a rational argument in favour of lip amputation. I’m going to stick with my foreskin (and my lips).

              • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

                There is strong evidence that the lion’s share of sexual pleasure resides in the foreskin… of both male AND female… and the male foreskin is also of significant value in the pleasure of the female.

                See the Sorrells fine touch sensitivity study performed in San Francisco – it proves that much is lost to the male when the foreskin is missing.

                See the new study from Denmark on sexual enjoyment. It indicates that females are deprived when their partners do not have foreskin.

                When Jewish women catch on to the pleasure they’ve been missing, they will bring a quick end to the practice of circumcision.

            • No medical benefit?

              The Strong Protective Effect of Circumcision against Cancer of the Penis

              Advances in Urology. Volume 2011 (2011),
              doi:10.1155/2011/812368

              Male circumcision protects against cancer of the penis, the invasive form of which is a devastating disease confined almost exclusively to uncircumcised men. Major etiological factors are phimosis, balanitis, and high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which are more prevalent in the glans penis and coronal sulcus covered by the foreskin, as well as on the penile shaft, of uncircumcised men. Circumcised men clear HPV infections more quickly. Phimosis (a constricted foreskin opening impeding the passage of urine) is confined to uncircumcised men, in whom balanitis (affecting 10%) is more common than in circumcised men. Each is strongly associated with risk of penile cancer. These findings have led to calls for promotion of male circumcision, especially in infancy, to help reduce the global burden of penile cancer. Even more relevant globally is protection from cervical cancer, which is 10-times more common, being much higher in women with uncircumcised male partners. Male circumcision also provides indirect protection against various other infections in women, along with direct protection for men from a number of genital tract infections, including HIV. Given that adverse consequences of medical male circumcision, especially when performed in infancy, are rare, this simple prophylactic procedure should be promoted.

              Male Circumcision for the Prevention of Acquisition and Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections

              Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(1):78-84.

              Since 2005, 3 randomized trials have evaluated male circumcision for prevention of sexually transmitted infections. The trials found that circumcision decreases human immunodeficiency virus acquisition by 53% to 60%, herpes simplex virus type 2 acquisition by 28% to 34%, and human papillomavirus prevalence by 32% to 35% in men. Among female partners of circumcised men, bacterial vaginosis was reduced by 40%, and Trichomonas vaginalis infection was reduced by 48%. Genital ulcer disease was also reduced among males and their female partners. These findings are also supported by observational studies conducted in the United States. The AAP policy has a major impact on neonatal circumcision in the United States. This review evaluates the recent data that support revision of the AAP policy to fully reflect the evidence of long-term health benefits of male circumcision.

              Please do not present your politics as medical science.

              • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

                Disraeli said, “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” To get to the bottom of whether it is wise to circumcise, you have to use numbers.

                Only one in 100,000 men contracts penile cancer. It usually happens when the man is over 70 years of age and it only happens to men who smoke and have poor hygiene. To advocate circumcising 100,000 boys to save one case of penile cancer in an old man is advocating 99,999 unnecessary circumcisions.

                UTIs are unknown among healthy intact men… the 2 intact males in 100 who were cited in Wiswell’s ‘study’ as an excuse to cut 98 unnecessarily, were premies, prematurely born, weak, and susceptible to disease.

                On the other hand, 9% of circumcised – and only circumcised – boys develop meatal stenosis – a very painful condition. This is due to the loss of the protective skin over the glans. Without the eyelid, the eye too would harden and eyesight would suffer.

                “Please do not present your superstition as medical science.”

          • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

            I’m all for cosmetic surgery that decreases sexual pleasure: if a consenting adult would like to amputate 50% of the surface area skin from his penis (for religious or non-religious reasons), I wouldn’t advise it, but it his decision. A powerless infant is unable to consent to this procedure which has NO medical benefit. Our ethical obligation is to the child; not to conspire with the child’s parents.

          • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

            If you are like most circumcised males, I bet the most pleasurable part of your penis is immediately distal to the circumcision scar. The reason why this is the most pleasurable part is because this is where the foreskin used to be. You were born with significantly more of this erogenous tissue. Circumcision is not going to shorten your lifespan or lead to sexual problems, but I do believe that the decision to remove this pleasurable part of your penis should have been yours because its your penis.

            • moderately jewish

              Honestly, I feel my sex life is just fine, thank you very much.

              Honestly, as much as you try to tell me the benefits of your argument, you will never win. I’m a Jew. The circumcision is in essence a token of my Jewishness. Though you may say that I was abused as a child for being circumcised, I don’t remember the circumcision, nor am I permanently scarred. If you want me to not be circumcised so I can be like you, so be it. But, I am not like you, I will not be marrying one of you, and thats it.

        • MM

          Actually in Africa you do see adult intact men lining up to be circumcised. since there is evidence that widespread circumcision reduces the incidence of transmission of HIV. While circumcision is no guarantee that an individual will not contract HIV, apparently the more men in a population who are circumcised, the lower the rate of HIV. At the very least many African men believe this to be the case and have acted on it.

          And scientific judgment and medical ethics are irrelevant when it comes to bris milah. The institution of bris milah long predates the development of the scientific method, and no one is asking physicians to violate their ethics to perform brissim. No one goes to a physician to perform a bris in any case unless, of course, the physician happens to be a mohel.

          • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

            I’m afraid that the adult intact men are lining up to be circumcised, not because there is any “evidencethat widespread circumcision prevents anything, but because they are told that being circumcised will prevent them from getting HIV.

            No man in the right man would EVER choose to get this, unless they knew that it was that beneficial. If somebody told me “circumcision prevents HIV 60% of the time, but you would still have to wear a condom, which is 95% effective (35% more than circumcision),” I’d say you were crazy. There is some lying going on here.

            “…apparently the more men in a population who are circumcised, the lower the rate of HIV. ”

            Maybe. If you ignore all the countries where this isn’t the case. HIV transmission was found to be more prevalent among the circumcised in 6 different African countries. According to USAID, HIV transmission was more prevalent among the circumcised in 10 out of 18 countries. Despite all of this, for whatever reason, bigwigs at the WHO thought it gracious to endorse male genital mutilation as HIV prevention.

            Circumcision to prevent HIV is going to prove to be the biggest waste of money, because no, it doesn’t prevent anything. All you have to do is look at real world data outside of the famous RCTs.

            Absolutely spot on regarding brissim. Jews conduct bris milah out of religious obligation. Bringing in “potential medical benefits” seems to imply that the Jews may actually abandon their faith if it could be “proven” that circumcision doesn’t have these “benefits.” I’m afraid not. “Medical benefits” are a red herring when talking about “religious circumcision.”

            • Ken

              “No man in the right man would EVER choose to get this, unless they knew that it was that beneficial. If somebody told me “circumcision prevents HIV 60% of the time, but you would still have to wear a condom, which is 95% effective. . .” Actually, the studies control for condom use. In other words, it is 60% effective *in addition to* the condom benefit.

    • Ken

      Public service announcement. I am a board certified practicing Family Physician. The statements made by Dr. Guest are not nearly as substantiated as he claims. “Virtually all medical associations in the world agree there is no benefit to non-therapeutic circumcision.” That is simply not true. First, the WHO is actively investigating the likelihood that population based prophylactic circumcision may be an effective intervention in slowing the spread of HIV in Africa. That circumcision reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission is well established. Second, the statement is simply not correct. Most medical associations do not agree that “there is no benefit.” Rather they generally agree that it is not clear whether benefit outweighs risk or the other way around and as a result recommend it be a decision left to individual parents in consultation with their physicians.

      “The foreskin is richly innervated erogenous tissue. . .” Multiple studies in many thousands of men, including a particularly important one with over 4000 participants *circumcised in adulthood* and able to comment on sensitivity before and after the procedure have consistently shown *no* loss of sexual function or satisfaction in either the men or their female partners. The anatomical observation of where nerves are or are not are irrelevant misdirection. If sexual function and satisfaction is not affected, and the overwhelming body of evidence suggests it is not, it doesn’t matter a whit “where the nerves are.”

      I can post references to published studies if desired.

  • Ken

    Dr. Guest: As a Board Certified practicing Family Physician I ask you to please stop using your credentials as an appeal to authority as you make assertions that blatantly misrepresent the available medical evidence. All your anatomical talk about where bonobos’ nerves are or aren’t don’t change the fact that the overwhelming body of published studies on the subject repeatedly find that the vast majority of circumcised men and their sexual partners report no loss of sexual function or satisfaction compared either to matched uncircumcised controls or better still to their own experience prior to their circumcision in adulthood. Furthermore, the vast majority of medical societies do *not* agree there is “no benefit” to routine circumcision. Rather they generally agree that they cannot conclude whether benefit outweighs risk or the other way around so the decision is ethically and medically best left to individual parents and their physicians.

    Thank you.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      Ken, you ask Dr. Guest to not “appeal to authority,” yet you do the very same thing by mentioning your own status as a physician.

      “…that the overwhelming body of published studies on the subject repeatedly find that the vast majority of circumcised men and their sexual partners report no loss of sexual function or satisfaction compared either to matched uncircumcised controls or better still to their own experience prior to their circumcision in adulthood. ”

      You mean to say the published studies of your liking. I’m afraid many of the studies that you are prepared to show suffer glaringly obvious flaws. For example, for “studies” conducted in Africa, they basically conducted a skewed survey asking men that had just been circumcised, and who were told that circumcision was going to make their lives better whether they were “satisfied” with their circumcisions. Of course many said “yes.” But let’s ask them in 10 or 20 years when the keratinization begins to set in.

      The Sorrells study is the most extensive study in existence, as it doesn’t rely on self reporting, but actually tests 16 or so different points on the penis for sensitivity. It reveals that the foreskin removes the most sensitive parts of the penis. The foreskin contains the most sensitive parts of the penis, that are more sensitive than even the most sensitive parts of the circumcised penis (the frenulum).

      “…the vast majority of medical societies do *not* agree there is “no benefit” to routine circumcision. Rather they generally agree that they cannot conclude whether benefit outweighs risk or the other way around so the decision is ethically and medically best left to individual parents and their physicians.”

      Actually, they generally agree that the “benefits” of circumcision are not worth recommending it. At least one, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), comes right out against it.

      I’m afraid that surgery requires a compelling medical indication.

      I always pose this question and nobody seems to be able to give me a straight answer:

      The foreskin is not a birth defect. Nor is it a genetic anomaly or congenital deformity akin to a cleft or 6th finger. The foreskin is a normal, natural part of the penis that every male child is born with. Unless there is medical or clinical indication, circumcision is the deliberate destruction of normal, healthy tissue.

      Without medical or clinical indication, can a doctor even be performing circumcisions in healthy, non-consenting children, much less be giving parents any kind of a “choice?” In charging to perform non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, are doctors not committing medical fraud? And, in taking advantage of parental naivete, and ultimately the defenselessness of the child, professional abuse?

      • Ken

        Dear Joseph for Genital Integrity,

        I have made no appeal to authority, rather identified my title in response to “Dr. Christopher Guest.” I have made appeals to medical evidence. Evidence you claim to be able to show is worthless, but with all due respect, I leave it to the reader to determine whether what I’ve presented is more compelling than the passion of a Blogger for Genital Integrity. “Authority” does not validate an argument but professional training and years of study in the interpretation of medical literature isn’t worthless either even in this age where expertise is dismissed by so many as “elitism.”

        I honestly don’t get it. How did you people who have nothing to do with Judaism or Frumkeit or discussion of same even find this blog to come carpet bag your nonsense on it?

    • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

      Could you please explain to me how it is ethical for the parents to tell you, as a physician, when it is appropriate to perform surgery on their child’s genitals with no SIGNIFICANT medical benefit. Is there any other tissue you would amputate from the child at the request of the parents, and not based on scientific evidence? How about a kidney? The boy has an extra one. Circumcision violates virtually all of our most sacred medical ethics: autonomy, benficence, justice, proportionality, primum non nocere. As physicians, we are responsible for the medicalization of this insane practice and we should be the first ones to speak out against it.

      • Ken

        “no SIGNIFICANT medical benefit. . .”

        There is also no SIGNIFICANT damage. My job as a physician is to *honestly* and *accurately* help the parents understand the state of our knowledge based on the most up to date available medical evidence. That evidence is best described as equivocal. It is neither honest nor accurate to claim there is no significant benefit. Reductions in spread of HIV, cervical cancer in female partners, UTIs, and penile cancer are well established and they are benefits. Significant enough to justify elective circumcision? Maybe. Certainly significant enough to 1) demonstrate the inaccuracy and perhaps even dishonesty of your presentation here and if you are presenting things this way to patients then you are misleading them and 2) to demonstrate why a legal ban cannot be justified and should fail on the merits when tested in court.

    • Seriously?

      Bravo!

  • QCoverage

    maybe they should also ban parents from piercing their kids ears in SF and make them wait till they are 18 to decide

    • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

      The neonatal foreskin will grow 32 times larger, if left intact, accounting for approx. 15 square inches on the adult male penis. There are ten times more sensory receptors on this tissue than on the glans of the penis. If you believe circumcision is equivalent to ear piercing, you have obviously never seen one. A Gomco clamp is used to crush away this normal, healthy, erogenous tissue from a completely powerless infant.

      • Anonymous

        Mohels don’t use clamps, only doctors do.

        • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

          Correction: only UNETHICAL doctors use Gomco clamps; doctors who are more interested in conspiring with the child’s parents to act as “cultural brokers” by performing unnecessary surgery on non-consenting children in order to pocket a quick $150 from the credulous parents. This is a shameful practice in our profession, one which many physicians are now speaking out against…www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          Anonymous, you want to run that by me again? Mohels don’t use clamps? Are you sure? What’s a “mogen?” A “barzel?” Tell us sir.

  • Ohana

    Ask any Baal yeshiva or convert. They’d rather have had the bris at 8 days.

    • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

      You could say the exact same thing about amputating a toe…”it’s so much easier when they’re a baby…”

      I wonder if I should start a new religion with a toe covenant…”and on the 8th day a toe must be removed from the child and placed on the smoking alter…”

      • Bubba Metzia

        It’s more like getting your wisdom teeth removed. If you wait till you already have complications then it’ll be much more painful and the likelihood for further complications is increased.

        And cutting off a toe makes it difficult to walk. Having a bris doesn’t make it difficult to have relations.

        • Bubba Metzia

          Just to clarify, I’ve never had relations and I’ve never lost a toe, but I do know what having impacted wisdom teeth feels like and it’s not pleasant.

          • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

            You know, Bubba, it is never pleasant to have a medical condition of your body.

            Like for example, it is never pleasant to have your appendix burst and require surgery. It is never pleasant to have your gall bladder or a kidney stone removed.

            • Bubba Metzia

              My point is that it’s better to have those things dealt with before a medical condition happens. There’s a lot more medical problems that can happen to men with f0reskins than men without. Saying people should wait till after they’re 18 to have the problem fixed is ridiculous.

              The example with wisdom teeth, if there was some law saying you couldn’t get your wisdom teeth taken till you were 18 that would be horrible because I had problems with them when I was 16 and needed them removed right away.

              Aside from the whole religious aspects of a bris, it’s also a routine medical procedure that has legitimate medical purposes and it’s better to have a simple procedure like that proactively than to wait till after there are problems that require a much more complicated procedure.

              • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

                Sweetheart, I know your heart is in a good place, for you would rather not harm children for a frivolous reason, but to be quite frank, losing a foreskin is going to impact the adult sexual relationship far more than you may be able to imagine.

                I am a canary in the mine shaft, for I am a circumcised American woman – and there are more of us than I would have ever imagined.

                With a man who has been surgically altered, I have a very difficult time feeling pleasure, for the entire dynamic is changed by the loss of skin. An altered man has a limited range of feeling and therefore of motion. What pleasures him does not work for me.

                With a man who has been left natural, I have no difficulty feeling a great deal of pleasure, for he moves in a way that pleasures not only himself but me as well.

                I have to say that circumcision might be a major factor in the health of the family system. A woman who is fully satisfied is totally devoted to her man. The man is bonded to the woman. The children feel secure, knowing that their parents are deeply bonded. That’s what the foreskin is for – to make a very loving, devoted family system.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          Bubba, not all of us have to have their wisdom teeth removed. I’m afraid the wisdom tooth operation is another one of those money-making schemes. Of course, it’s always good if you have the choice to take them out. I don’t think anybody is prohibiting doctors from addressing actual medical problems, or stopping anybody from choosing to be circumcised once they’re eighteen.

          And actually, you can actually get used to walking without toes, just as you can get used to sex with part of your penis missing. It actually happens all the time. Just ask diabetes patients.

          And yes, sometimes bris DOES make it difficult to have relations. The thing with removing a gangrenous toe is, it has to be removed. There is no medical indication for circumcision in a healthy, non-consenting child.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          Bubba, I’m afraid that the wisdom tooth operation is another sham. Not all of us need to have their wisdom teeth out. Yes, it’s painful to have surgery, but you know? All surgery is painful, there is no guarantee that a man will ever need circumcision (80% of the world isn’t circumcised and they do fine) and circumcision is not going to guarantee that you won’t need surgery from now on.

          Just like a man can get used to having sex with part of his organ missing, it’s possible to learn to walk without toes. Just ask a diabetes patient.

          And yes, bris can and does make it difficult to have relations. Please find the “Beyond the Bris” blog. There are at least three men on there who have trouble due to their bris. One man has a hole in his penis. Another man has painful erections and is limited to 2 sexual activities a month because it is simply that uncomfortable. Please. Bris can and does result in difficulty with relations. It’s out there if you cared to look.

      • Bar Mitzvahed and Circumcised

        So, Dr. Guest, presumably you are AGAINST a woman’s “right to choose” an abortion after the 27th week, and we will see you posting comments supporting any legislation to make post 27th week abortions illegal as well ?
        Or are you sure the viable fetus has no feelings, when she is chopped up?
        Or are you just as “religious” as these religious Jews, just your religion is “progressive” politics.

        • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

          The abortion debate is a non-sequitur. You cannot make a consistent argument either way.

          Of course the whole point of banning circumcision is to give a child a choice as an adult. Banning circumcision is in-line with “my body, my choice.” Which is why it is inconsistent for a pro-choicer to be also pro-circ.

          You might say, “well the baby doesn’t have a choice.” To which I would reply, you might actually have a point. Except the child isn’t even born yet.

          But what do you say to someone who is pro-life, like me?

          It is inconsistent to be in favor of circumcision but “for a child’s right to life.” How is it consistent to argue for a child’s “right to life,” but not for his right to his own body? How is it consistent to be against chopping up a child in his mother’s womb, but be perfectly OK with chopping him up once he comes out?

          • Bar Mitzvahed and Circumcised

            Because one is chopping him up and ending all he is and all he will ever be, and the other is chopping off a tiny piece of skin that is definitely much harder to chop off later, that he very likely will have wanted to have been done now rather than later, and that makes health sense for the man, and health sense for his future sex partners.
            By comparing ending ALL that he is and ALL that he will ever be, to ending his foreskin, you made my point. Thanks.

  • Carla

    Here in Africa, we are advocating circumcision, it has been proven to help lower the infection rate of HIV, many people practice is here culturally, the Xhosa, Zulu, Jew and Moslem. Here in Africa circumcision is a non issue. SF is busy with bored politics, being relatively wealthy, not so many social economical issues, makes people grasp at all sort of nonsense to make a political statement. Total BS. Nanny state politics. Lucky they do not have to deal with real 3rd world issues, because that is the real reality of most of the world. Circumcision is very low on the list of priorities in the grand scheme of things.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      That is, unless people try to ban it, eh Carla?

      I’m afraid that the people of Africa, and possibly even the rest of the world are being hornswaggled. I’m sorry, but circumcision does not, cannot prevent HIV transmission. Never has, never will.

      You can show me “study after study” that the world is flat, and it will still continue to be round. All of the “studies” that you might be ready to show me? They don’t correlate with reality. In the US, 80% of the men are circumcised. And yet, we have higher HIV transmission, even the transmission of every other STD, than in Europe, where most men are not circumcised.

      HIV transmission was found to be more prevalent among the circumcised in 6 different African countries. According to USAID, HIV transmission was more prevalent among the circumcised in 10 out of 18 countries. In the Philippines, the majority of the male population is circumcised, as it is seen as an important rite of passage. In the 2010 Global AIDS report released by UNAIDS in late November, the Philippines was one of seven nations in the world which reported over 25 percent in new HIV infections between 2001 and 2009, whereas other countries have either stabilized or shown significant declines in the rate of new infections. Among all countries in Asia, only the Philippines and Bangladesh are reporting increases in HIV cases, with others either stable or decreasing. (Bangladesh, another country with a prevalence of circumcision.)

      According to Malaysian AIDS Council vice-president Datuk Zaman Khan, more than 70% of the 87,710 HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country are Muslims. In Malaysia, most, if not all Muslim men are circumcised, whereas circumcision is uncommon in the non-Muslim community. 60% of the Malaysian population is Muslim, which means that HIV is spreading in the community where most men are circumcised at an even faster rate, than in the community where most men are intact.

      Despite circumcision being near-universal, it hasn’t stopped HIV transmission in Israel.
      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/failing-the-aids-test-1.249088
      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/israeli-gays-shun-condoms-despite-worrying-rise-in-aids-1.249372
      http://www.haaretz.com/news/has-the-aids-cocktail-worked-too-well-in-israel-1.258520
      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/hiv-diagnoses-in-israel-climb-new-cases-among-gays-up-sharply-1.248651

      So, uh, yeah. I think it’s time to stop pretending like you even give a darn about HIV transmission, when it’s clear all you care about is defending a tradition that has been historically under fire.

      Let the kid decide if he wants to mutilate himself or wear a condom.

      • Ken

        “You can show me “study after study. . .” That is correct. You are impervious to evidence. Boring, but all to common these days.

  • Just a Regular Fan

    I think that Dr. Guest, if
    that is his real name, over-stayed his welcome.

    • Pinchas

      Thank you. Couldn’t have said it better.

    • danielGA

      he was probably someone behind the whole monster mohel comic who is now keeping tabs on FS since heshy was one of the first to bring this to everyone’s attention.

    • Ken

      I think he provides a useful foil. To the degree he represents the most effective case that can be made in support of the ban I leave the encounter with him with increased confidence it is wrong because his arguments in support of it are weaker than cobwebs and based on less and readily dispensed with.

    • Pinchas

      I know that Heshy likes having his blog open to all, and the open forum is part of what makes this blog great. Nevertheless, it gets tiresome when “outsiders” come onto this blog on to pontificate and force-feed us their political views. I love reading this blog because it’s fun, edgy satire of the greater Jewish community, and while lately some of the posts have been more about being edgy and less about being satire, it’s still always been an entertaining read. There’s room here for all views, especially those I disagree with, but the anti-milah crowd that made a magical first-time appearance on this thread is starting to give me a headache. Not because I disagree with them, but more because they come across as shrill and repetitive.

  • danielGA

    promoting a circumcision ban from the viewpoint of the gays that are promoting it, at least that’s who you say is promoting it, makes no sense. they want freedom to be able to marry, and want their rights granted. why would they protest for freedom with one hand and campaign to take away people’s rights with the other?

    i can’t imagine what they’re thinking if they’re not anti-semitic. any other reason is simply too stupid to imagine that people would actually support it.

    • http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com Joseph4GI

      Now THIS is an interesting little twist.

      What do you think about the gays who oppose the ban? Because you know, they exist. The Jewish LGBT has gotten behind efforts to stop the circumcision ban, and I cannot for the life of me imagine why.

      What makes no sense to me is why people who have fought for the freedom to marry, who have fought for “tolerance,” who have fought to take homosexuality off of the list of mental illnesses, would be AGAINST the ban.

      The LBGTs who oppose the ban say that the ban is an infringement on “religious freedom” and “parental right.” But doesn’t this go against what they preach?

      If they truly supported “religious freedom” and “parental rights,” then they would agree that parents should have the right to send their child to straight camp. Or that parents should be able to have doctors give their children electro shock therapy to make them “straight.”

      Gays fight for supposed “gay rights,” “self-autonomy,” and the freedom to “be who you are, as you are.”

      So I can’t understand why any gay in the right mind would be against this ban, much less why anybody would think they should be.

      The circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting child is a violation of the most basic of human rights. No gay worth his or her salt would oppose this ban.

      That is, unless they’re gay Jews wishing to gain brownie points from their own community that already shuns them for not being good little Jews and increasing the Jewish population.

      • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

        Joseph, I doubt that most people who support circumcision realize the full implications of passing on feelings of powerlessness from adult to child. If they did, they would never do it… unless they had a financial interest, and in that case, they should mention that they profit from circumcision so that we know how much to trust their arguments.

        Most people are simply doing the “Rah! Rah! for our team” thing. They have not yet sat down, stilled their minds, and put themselves in the baby’s shoes. No one who has done that could advocate for overpowering and cutting the healthy genital tissue of helpless infants.

  • BH

    Those like the fake doctor spamming this thread think body integrity is the most. important. thing. Well guess what? As a religious Jew, body integrity just isnt as important to us. What is important is following Hashem’s wishes and doing mitzvahs. Circumcision falls into these two categories. I dont really give a crap if my sons dont have ‘millions of nerve endings’ , I care if they are going to be cut off from Hashem. What makes these activists think their OPINION is more important than mine besides deep narcissism and hubris? I would much rather my sons live a life of Torah and be a good human being then have a few extra seconds of fun in the sack. Jews take the mundane and elevate it to make it holy- THAT is why we have so many restrictions on sex. So take your junk science and shove it, in the immortal words of Hebrew National- “We answer to a higher authority’.

    • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

      Unfortunately, BH, if you study deeply, you will find that there is no divine mandate for circumcision. The circumcision covenant is not in the original history of the Jewish people. You can find this in “The Book of J” – or rather you can find its very loud absence in “The Book of J”. From what I understand, a hostile group took over the tribe and revised their very charming history into a rather bloody one. Some Jewish scholars are well aware of this and they explained it to me.

      The power that made you and breathes you does not need human hands to make his work perfect. You were perfect as you were created… no improvements needed. Circumcision is like lemonade – you make the best out of what was given you – a lemon. But once you know that you don’t have to cut your children, you are so relieved. It has been a long, hard, heavy burden on the Jewish people who stand otherwise for love, care, freedom and pleasure.

    • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

      BH, the original history of the Jewish people – The Book of J – was altered to include circumcision. Ask Jewish scholars… they know. There is no divine mandate to cut children. But circumcision is a good way for those who are politically inclined to oppress groups of people, to control them, to make them fear authority.

      • Ken

        “BH, the original history of the Jewish people – The Book of J – was altered to include circumcision. Ask Jewish scholars… they know.” I’ve studied higher biblical criticism for years with the “Jewish scholars” of whom you speak. This is a perfectly bogus use of the theories of higher biblical criticism and no serious Jewish scholar of such things presents The J Source” as a “Book of J” that is “the original history of the Jewish people” that was then “altered” by other sources. For one thing, real Bible scholars would never use the anachronistic term “Jewish” in reference to Biblical times. The conclusion that the Hebrew Bible is a composite document of multiple voices is not used to try to pass of one of them as “authentic” and the others as not. Whether a given practice is traceable to one clear source, whether P or D or J or E or H or R or whatever, is of historical interest, but the Bible in its final form, however that form came to be, is still the Bible.

        That’s it. Now on with my pledge to let the trolls starve.

        • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

          Ken, you are free to believe that a ‘god’ would require genital cutting and have ‘favorite’ people and would ‘smite’ ‘gentiles’, etc, if you wish… but all that doesn’t translate into a medical necessity to cut the healthy genital tissue off a helpless baby boy.

          • http://www.kissamezuzah.blogspot.com Susan

            Ken never said anything about God having a “favorite” people or “smiting” the gentiles. Nice way to insert your antisemitic assumptions into the discussion, Auntie.

            • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

              Susan, that is simply the story told in the Torah. Sorry if you are offended, but I am not anti anything but hatred and abuse.

              • http://www.kissamezuzah.blogspot.com Susan

                AuntiePatricia –
                That is not a story told in the Torah. It is a misinterpretation.

                Being the “chosen people” means being chosen to follow more commandments (mitzvot) than other groups of people. In no way does it imply being “favorite.” There is actually a midrash that says God asked several other groups of people if they wanted to be the chosen people, but they turned God down, because they didn’t want the obligation. That doesn’t make them more or less favored, it just makes the Jewish people the ones who were willing to enter into the covenant.

                I really don’t know what you’re referring to when you say “smiting” gentiles is in the Torah. If you could provide a chapter and verse perhaps I can see where you’ve gone wrong on that one as well.

                • http://TLCTugger.com Ron Low

                  Hi,
                  ^^ I really don’t know what you’re referring to when you say “smiting” gentiles is in the Torah. ^^

                  Read it again then. The utter genocide of non-Hebrews happens over and over again at G-d’s direction, or directly by G-d’s hand.

                  In many cases, G-d explicitly tells Moses’ people to kill EVERY thing (men, children, pregnant women, cattle, etc) except virgin girls, which they are to take as wives.

                • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

                  Susan, I am aware that even the holiest of books can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and misused. Perhaps the safest thing to do is to leave behind all our limited human understanding, interpretations, beliefs, rites, rituals, words, books, sacraments, and go for the real thing, apart from human limitations.

                  I have heard that “chosen people” actually indicates those who are “choosing God”, or a more neutral term might be “Life”. In my eyes, this would be a very moment-by-moment, not frozen in the past, in tradition or superstition, practice – a love affair with Life, the source of creation that made and dotes on all things created – including those who walk on two feet, four feet, fly in the air, swim in the ocean… It would not indicate a limited group of people who ride the coattails of their holy ancestors who chose Life in their moments and days, but all those who choose now to notice that they are being breathed, being given life by Life – and how sweet that is – no matter what their physical body’s heritage might be. No one is less, no one is more, all are equally precious in the eyes of life – all are to be given utmost reverence, respect, protection, as the creations of Life. It is my impression that this is what the entire library of scriptures is all about. It seems that some people are stuck in a bad translation of the “Old Testament”. Yet Life invites us each to experience on a daily basis, the ecstasy that Rumi knew.

                  As for the “utter destruction” in the Torah. How about starting with Deuteronomy 7 or 20:17? I think this kind of talk is extremely dangerous. It was difficult for me to fathom how the Germans, Bolsheviks and Israelis could treat the Jews, Russians and Palestinians so cruelly until I found that the Talmud states that anyone who is not “chosen” is less than human, an animal, intended to be a slave, to be used until its usefulness is over, then discarded. Then add that some people take it seriously and feel it is their duty to implement that ‘plan’… I have a friend who was raised in Hebrew school and literally shudders at the horror of what he was taught there. It troubles me too, how these old teachings appear to be alive and well today.

            • Ken

              I’m not “debating” the concept of chosenness with a troll. Susan has it right though when she points out this AuntiePatricia character has no clue what I do or do not believe.

              • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

                Why don’t you tell us what you believe, Ken? Your attitude – name-calling without knowing who or what I am – speaks volumes. You apparently believe that I am not worth your attention or time. :) Silly boy. Very revealing.

  • James Mac

    Are ritual circumcision and ritual slaughter related in any way? I often wonder why Muslims and Jews have and defend these cruel blood letting rituals… I look forward to the day that the hapless children and creatures are protected against barbaric customs (and unethical medical practice).

    • Frumsatire Fan

      Ok, let’s not get into the argument about whether schitah (ritual slaughter) is humane or not. You’re comparing removing a little bit of foreskin, shedding a few drops of blood, with SLAUGHTER? That’s kind of insane and, bad news, it makes you sound a bit like a bigot / xenophobe / antisemite.

    • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

      Ritual slaughter is actually a very humane way to kill an animal. And I hate to have to tell you this, but no matter how you kill and butcher an animal, it will be bloody. If you’re against the bloody killing and butchering of animals than you should be a vegetarian.

      • James Mac

        You’re joking, right? Stunning is the only humane way to kill an animal. How would like to be treated this way…? It’s a sick and barbaric practice that’s been banned in a number of counties already.

        • Ken

          Do you eat meat? Do you care how it lives or only how it dies? Do you eat veal? Do you buy commercially prepared meat? Because if you do, I don’t care if it’s stunned, its life is a living nightmare of torture from birth to death. You want to ban something? Ban inhumane treatment during the animal’s life. If that’s not being banned but schechita is then it doesn’t take a genius to see what is actually going on is not really about care for the animals.

  • http://thefrontporchswing.blogspot.com Sarah

    danielGA- People don’t have a right to cut other people’s genitals… people do have a right to their whole body. Protecting minors from people who desire to cut their genitals is not restricting freedom- it is granting freedom to people to be free from sexual body modification- or to choose it if they want.

    Here is a link to a blog of a loving mother who circumcised her daughter- in the USA what she (and the smiling supportive medical staff) did is illegal. Do you feel that our current law outlawing all female genital cutting regardless of the motivation of the person doing the cutting restricts the “freedom” of parents who want to cut female genitals?
    http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html

    • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

      I wish it had been illegal in the 1950s, when I was a child, for the doctor then surely would not have even suggested such a thing to my mother and my mother would never have allowed such a thing to happen to me. But, alas!, FGM was not outlawed in the USA until the 1990s. In fact, Blue Cross Blue Shield covered clitoridectomies until 1977 and my mother used to sing a clever little ditty about BCBS as she did her housework.

      I am a strong proponent of the rights of the person over his or her own body. Choices that are elective – not mandated by medical problems -should not be made for others. Circumcision is not medically necessary. It is cosmetic surgery.

      Also, when children are overpowered, they often resent it later. I didn’t realize why I had such anger toward my mother and doctors until I was 50+ years old and found out I’d been circumcised. Who knows that misogyny might not have its roots in the practice of genital mutilation?

  • Yoreh K’chetz

    Y’all need to lighten up, making it sound as if having or not having a bris is the end of the world.

    From a medical/ethical viewpoint, performing a bris on an 8 day old baby is wrong, plain and simple.

    From a religious viewpoint, God commanded us to do it, so we listen. It’s got nothing to do with health benefits, much the same way we eat only kosher food. If one believes that God created the world and gave us the Torah, then he knew what he was doing when he commnaded Avraham and his descendants to have a bris at 8 days old.

    For frum Jews, religion comes before modern ethical culture. Jews throughout history sacrificed much to perform the bris, often facing a life of torment in ancient Greece or Russia and even the death penalty under both Roman & Nazi rule.

    All this bris talk reminds me of a funny story that happened to me as a kid. I had a Greek neighbor when I was about 5 years old, he was my best friend at the time. When the weather was warm, we played outside (before the age of Atari/Nintendo). Quite often, we’d have pissing contests off the porch. Inevitably, we noticed our differences, as he didn’t have a bris. Our parents explained us that Jews and non Jews have different customs, and that Jews have a little piece cut off to show they are Jewish.

    One day, his younger sister decided to pee in the yard as we were playing. Later that day, I mentioned to my grandfather that his sister was “extra Jewish”, as she was missing the entire thing…

    • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

      Cute story, Yoreh. :)

      And about the mandate… I have seen conflicted Jewish parents sigh big breaths of relief when they find out that “The Book of J” has no circumcision covenant, for they are then freed of the fear that they could be doing something ‘wrong’ by eschewing the cruel non-existent edict to cut their perfect child. Many Jewish mothers I’ve met pray to have girls so they can avoid the dilemma of a bris, altogether.

  • Esther

    I can certainly see both sides of this argument, but let me weigh in with my two cents based on what I know to be true:

    1. Brace yourselves folks, TMI –> I know for a fact that circumcised penises are WAAAAY cleaner, smell better and are MUCH more pleasant to be around than uncircumcised

    2. At 8 days it hurts a great deal less and heals alot quicker than having it done as an adult

    3. Not one circumcised man I know, and I know enough, has EVER uttered a single word of complaint about insufficient sensitivity and/or dryness issues – and that includes men who’ve been circumcised as adults

    For the reasons mentioned above, knowing what I know and motivated by hygiene related thinking, my son was circumcised on the same day he was born right there in the hospital. That was done because neither me nor my husband are religious but we both wanted to be sure that our boy is circumcised.

    • Frumsatire Fan

      Like!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

    Thanks for your funny story Yoreh, now the grim facts.

    Circumcision kills and maims children. Every year children die and loose far more than their foreskins to botched circumcisions. Mohel and rabbi Yitzchok Fischer with herpes performing metzitzah b’peh, mouth to wounded infants genitals suction infecting several baby boys with herpes, killing one. That is the reality of circumcision that makes this silly comic book pale by comparison.

    The Mogen Clamp Company is now out of business after several multi million dollar lawsuits from parents of boys severely damaged by that circumcision tool.

    Its time for this insanity to come to an end.

    • Yoreh K’chetz

      James,

      Both the Herpers mohel and the faulty clamps were tragedies, which could have and should have been averted. But the percentage is a minute fraction of the succesful Bris milahs performed by qualified and experience mohels every year.

      Think of the number of diseases and infections in uncircumsized males every year, mostly related to poor hygiene. I’m quite sure the damage ratio is higher than the percentage of botched milahs that could have been averted due to negligence.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

        Wherever genital cutting of children takes place accidents happen. How many dead and severely wounded infants are acceptable to you Yorek?

        Your speculation about “diseases and infections in uncircumcised males” is not born out in the real world. Healthy body parts are not prone to disease, and do not need to be preemptively amputated from children. Every human child can learn to care for their body.

        • Yoreh K’chetz

          James,

          The vast majority of mohels take the necessary precautions to avoid endangering the child.

          And the fact remains, whether by choice (poor hygiene) or not, plenty of uncircumsized males still get infections every year, way more than the number babies killed or mutilated by mohels.

          Again, we don’t do the bris because we fear the kid won’t know how to wash himself. We do so because we believe God commanded us to do so. Unless you truly comprehend that, you’ll never understand why we do it.

    • Yoreh K’chetz

      James,

      One more thing. The metzitza isn’t done for anyone’s pleasure, as some bris opponents or anti semitic cartoons may allude to. It’s done to remove the blood, much like you suck your finger when you cut yourself.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

        The psychological imperative for adults who were once abused, to act out the same abuse on their children is what drive this sexual abuse of cutting genitals.

        The sick practice of slicing off part of a child’s penis is coming to and end. Sexually wounding a child’s penis and then sucking on it is a sick sick practice. No amount of lipstick will make this pig look pretty.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

        There is no need to wound a child’s penis in the first place. Sucking the blood from an unnecessary wound is part of the sickness.

        • Yoreh K’chetz

          James,

          You’re right, there is no “need” to circumcise a child, it’s a religious right. Last I checked, we still believe in freedom of religion.

          I don’t see myself as “wounded”, and it’s quite clear from you statements and campaigning that you are either an antisemite , a self hating Jew, or simply could use a few extra inches down there ;)

  • Ken

    “How many dead and severely wounded infants are acceptable to you Yorek?” Depends how many cases of HIV and penile cancer and cervical cancer are prevented. Are you also opposed to routine immunization? We accept finite but nonzero risk in exchange for larger benefits all the time. What about walking across the street? A predictable number of people will die trying to do it but the risk is acceptable because 1) it is manageable with reasonable precautions and 2) it is clearly outweighed by the necessity of and benefit of getting across the street.

  • Ken

    “Your speculation about “diseases and infections in uncircumcised males” is not born out in the real world. Healthy body parts are not prone to disease. . .” That is not speculation and it is indeed borne out in the real world. Higher rates of UTI, penile cancer, cervical cancer in female partners, and transmission of HIV among uncircumcised men is well documented.

    It’s so interesting, and amusing, to me to watch this nonreligious fundamentalist faith in things despite all evidence to the contrary come out and engage a blog populated by religious people and watch the religious people champion rational empiricism and evidence while the nonreligious, who in other times and places would undoubtedly be demanding the religious people pay attention to “evidence” and calling them fundamentalists, stampt their feet and repeat demonstrably untrue statements of faith in things readily disproved.

    • BH

      This^^

    • Christopher L. Guest MD,FRCPC

      Ken, you are living in the demon-haunted world of “…its real risky leaving the boy intact…”
      Penile cancer: less common than male breast cancer; incidence about 1 in 200,000 men, onset 7-8th decade of life
      Urinary tract infections: incidence in intact males 1 in 186; easily treated with $15 of ciprofloxacin
      Recurrent urinary tract infection: incidence in intact males 1 in 1577; easily treated with $30 of ciprofloxacin
      HPV/Cervical Cancer: newsflash…we now have a vaccine for HPV so we can stop performing bronze age blood rituals for that disease.
      Do we need to discuss the African RCTs regarding HIV? Ask yourself how morally bankrupt it is for Western circumcision proponents to export this practice to the world’s poorest and least educated people who are dealing with a terrible HIV epidemic?

  • CR

    You know, this is what really pisses me off about American politics.
    Everyone’s getting their panties in a bunch over virtual non-issues. A circumcision ban, really? Let’s use some perspective. We’re in the middle of an economic crisis, the middle east is unstable as hell, we’re kind of sort of still fighting a war, and yet people are determined to put their political energy into a freaking circumcision ban?!?!?!?! The government needs to get its nose out of our underwear and start dealing with the real issues. When we live in a stable world, then maybe we can start fighting over each others foreskins.
    -C

    • Telz Angel

      Well said. However, the earth can tremble, the banks can collapse, the sky can rain terror on us all — but nothing can take our attention away from our dear shmekels other than a nice pair of b00bies. We seems to be programmed that way. Evolution? nah — a nasty God.

  • moderately jewish

    I’m circumcised and I’m proud of it.

    Done. Call me barbaric, but I kinda like my penis the way it is. Nice, and circumcised.

    • http://thefrontporchswing.blogspot.com Sarah

      While I think it’s great to be happy with your own body- I don’t understand where “pride” fits in to all of this. I get the feeling that you are repeating a phrase you have heard somewhere before, but have you really questioned the idea of pride… and what is the flipside of that? …would it be shame? Would you be ashamed to not be circumcised? If so- carefully consider the mindset that a man should be ashamed of the natural male body, the one all men possess when they are born. (which is the implication your “pride” puts forth) What sort of indoctrination have you encountered in your life that would make you think like this?

      “Last year I climbed Mt. Everest- I am very proud of my accomplishment.” or “My daughter was born with a disability, and I am so proud of all she has overcome with her determination and sunny spirit.” or “I am proud to have graduated from one of the most esteemed colleges in the country.” “I’m proud of my expensive sports car because it shows off my success everywhere I go.” …those I understand… but what is it about being restrained as an infant to have your penis skin stripped off your glans- that makes you feel “pride” …you say that as if we are supposed to understand that having been through that you are somehow superior to men who haven’t. Really? It’s not even as if this was a coming of age ritual where you proved to your peers that you could endure pain without flinching- you were just a little helpless crying baby!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

    Forced circumcision, genital cutting of children is only considered a “benign procedure” by those who have suffered this abuse (and denied the harm) and need to perpetrate it upon others.

    • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

      Well, actually, I am not circumcised, and since I have no sons I have no need to circumcise others. However, I do consider it to be a benign procedure.

      Thanks for the hyperbole.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

        “A report published in the British Journal of Urology assessed the type and amount of tissue missing from the adult circumcised penis by examining adult foreskins obtained at autopsy. Investigators found that circumcision removes about one-half of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft. The foreskin, according to the study, protects the head of the penis and is comprised of unique zones with several kinds of specialized nerves that are important to optimum sexual sensitivity.”

        Taylor, J. et al., “The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and Its Loss to Circumcision,” BJU 77 (1996): 291–295.

  • http://AuntiePatricia.com AuntiePatricia

    Heshy, you get a big hug and kiss from Auntie Patricia. You have a fair and open mind and heart. That, to me, is the mark of a true human being. I am no friend of “minds like beds, all made up.” They circumcised me when I was a little girl in Kansas and I wish they had let me make my own decision when I was 18.

  • James Mac

    Talk of religious freedom here is so disingenuous. Anyone who TRULY believed in religious freedom would respect and protect the voiceless and defenseless child’s freedoms.

    Claims like “it’s a commandment from god, I have no choice” are also disingenuous. Do you observe all commandments (like stoning a drunkard and rebellious son to death), or do you pick and choose?

    “America’s Doctor”, Dr Dean Edell, himself a Jew, who circumcised half his own sons (“and then I woke up”) said it best; circumcision continues because people can feel like they’re being observant Jews, without having to ‘do’ anything to themselves, they ‘do’ it to somebody else (a voiceless, defenseless baby).

    Stop the cruelty and bloodletting. The forced genital cutting of children is such a blight on modern medicine, Islam and Judaism.

  • Mark Lyndon

    It’s illegal to cut off a girl’s prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl’s genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Why don’t boys get the same protection? Everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether they want parts of their genitals cut off. It’s *their* body.

  • End the Madness

    The Strong Protective Effect of Circumcision against Cancer of the Penis

    Advances in Urology. Volume 2011 (2011),
    doi:10.1155/2011/812368

    Male circumcision protects against cancer of the penis, the invasive form of which is a devastating disease confined almost exclusively to uncircumcised men. Major etiological factors are phimosis, balanitis, and high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which are more prevalent in the glans penis and coronal sulcus covered by the foreskin, as well as on the penile shaft, of uncircumcised men. Circumcised men clear HPV infections more quickly. Phimosis (a constricted foreskin opening impeding the passage of urine) is confined to uncircumcised men, in whom balanitis (affecting 10%) is more common than in circumcised men. Each is strongly associated with risk of penile cancer. These findings have led to calls for promotion of male circumcision, especially in infancy, to help reduce the global burden of penile cancer. Even more relevant globally is protection from cervical cancer, which is 10-times more common, being much higher in women with uncircumcised male partners. Male circumcision also provides indirect protection against various other infections in women, along with direct protection for men from a number of genital tract infections, including HIV. Given that adverse consequences of medical male circumcision, especially when performed in infancy, are rare, this simple prophylactic procedure should be promoted.

    Male Circumcision for the Prevention of Acquisition and Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections

    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(1):78-84.

    Since 2005, 3 randomized trials have evaluated male circumcision for prevention of sexually transmitted infections. The trials found that circumcision decreases human immunodeficiency virus acquisition by 53% to 60%, herpes simplex virus type 2 acquisition by 28% to 34%, and human papillomavirus prevalence by 32% to 35% in men. Among female partners of circumcised men, bacterial vaginosis was reduced by 40%, and Trichomonas vaginalis infection was reduced by 48%. Genital ulcer disease was also reduced among males and their female partners. These findings are also supported by observational studies conducted in the United States. The AAP policy has a major impact on neonatal circumcision in the United States. This review evaluates the recent data that support revision of the AAP policy to fully reflect the evidence of long-term health benefits of male circumcision.

    Please do not present your politics as medical science or moral code.

  • CR

    You know why we give boys brissim at eight days?
    Because we’re JEWS and thats what Jews DO.
    There hasn’t been a single generation since Avraham that didn’t give a bris! And ain’t no one complained ’til now…
    I mean really, this is so ridiculous! Its nowhere near comparable to female genital mutilation – results on whether or not it results in a loss of sensitivity are debatable at best. Health benefits/detriments are debatable at best. The only thing that’s NOT debatable is that it is a sacred religious right practiced for thousands of years that has never been an issue until now, spare in those countries that were openly prosecuting the Jewish people.
    So any county, state, or country that denies us the right to preform religious circumcision, is sending a clear message: The Jews are not welcome here. So OK S. Fransisco, we get it… But we’re taking our food, TV shows, technological developments, and circumcised penises WITH US!

    • Jhon Murdock

      Eh, CR: “There hasn’t been a single generation since Avraham that didn’t give a bris!” Why don’t you know your Jewish History? For 40 years wandering in the desert the Jews did NOT circumcise anyone and God rewarded them with manna! The little nip circumcision of Abraham is not the peri’ah, or complete foreskin ablation practiced today. Know why the change was made? Know who gave Abe his metzitah b’peh? “But we’re taking our food, TV shows, technological developments, and circumcised penises WITH US!” Meh.

  • Ken

    Ok. I’ve been one of the biggest offenders but I think it’s time for all of us to agree to stop feeding our recently arrived flock of trolls. Good bye, y’all. There’s nothing more to eat here.

  • Yoreh K’chetz

    I’m with Pinchas and Ken. These bleeding heart liberal San Fran f@gs seem to be polluting the humor with their anti-Torah / Anti-semitic blabber on a blog frequented mainly by practicing Jews. I’m unsubscribing from this post, I’d rather avoid hearing the dogs bark…

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

    There is no excuse for genital abuse of children, not even religion.

  • Anonymous

    circumsised penises taste a whole lot better.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonobo3D?feature=mhee James Loewen

    Boy’s botched circumcision leads to $4.6 million award

    By Bill Hetherman City News Service
    Posted: 07/18/2011 09:29:22 AM PDT

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_18500080?source=rss