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A Small But Growing Number of Jews Are Questioning The Ancient Ritual of Circumcision
Washington Post ^ | December 29, 2013 | Michelle Boorstein

Posted on 12/29/2013 12:50:16 PM PST by Steelfish

A Small But Growing Number of Jews Are Questioning The Ancient Ritual of Circumcision

By Michelle Boorstein December 28 When his pregnant wife first challenged circumcising their son, Mike Wallach had a gut reaction: “That’s what we do: We’re Jews!” But doubts about whether the surgery was medically necessary and concern over his wife’s opposition forced Wallach to confront some questions.

Can you be Jewish without Judaism’s oldest ritual? he says he asked himself. What does it mean to be Jewish?

Adults attending conversion classes at Sixth and I synagogue learn about the traditions behind the ancient Jewish practice of circumcision. Adults attending conversion classes at Sixth and I synagogue learn about the traditions behind the ancient Jewish practice of circumcision.

Speaking with God, the 37-year-old screenwriter and grandson of Holocaust survivors explained he was using the “free will and brain you gave me” to reject circumcision. God, he concluded, wouldn’t be impressed by the desire to do something simply “for tradition’s sake.”

“I wasn’t at peace until I had that conversation,” said Wallach, who grew up in Northwest Washington and now lives in Brooklyn.

Wallach is among a small but growing number of Jews who are slowly altering what has for millennia been considered perhaps Judaism’s core rite. The Bible says an adult Abraham circumcised himself to mark the covenant between him, his descendants and God. Any male who doesn’t circumcise, God says in Genesis, “that soul will be cut off from its people; he has broken My covenant.”

Many of these Jews, according to rabbis and the ritual circumcisers known as mohels, are rejecting the classic festive circumcision ceremony, called a brit milah, or bris. For thousands of years, Jews have performed the ritual removal of the penile foreskin on the eighth day of a boy’s life...

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Judaism; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: agnostics; secularjews
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1 posted on 12/29/2013 12:50:16 PM PST by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

I don’t have a link handy but I am pretty sure that medical studies show circumcision results in fewer health problems.


2 posted on 12/29/2013 12:52:12 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: freedumb2003

Significantly fewer health problems.


3 posted on 12/29/2013 12:53:13 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Steelfish

More like the Washington comPost wants Jews to abandon circumcision. Looking forward to complementary stories in the Slimes, NPR, All Things Inconsiderate, ...


4 posted on 12/29/2013 12:53:42 PM PST by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: Steelfish

Better tell that to the increasing number of “Jews” in Africa who are getting circumcised to lessen the chance of AIDS transmission. Hmm.


5 posted on 12/29/2013 12:54:08 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Steelfish
"God, he concluded, wouldn’t be impressed by the desire to do something simply “for tradition’s sake.”

God instituted circumcision specifically "for tradition's sake" - it was to be a sign of Abraham's covenant with God. Someone needs to actually read his Torah.

6 posted on 12/29/2013 12:55:04 PM PST by circlecity
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To: Steelfish
About time. Hacking off a piece of everybody’s willie seems like a retarded concept to me. But to each his own, I suppose…
7 posted on 12/29/2013 12:58:44 PM PST by cartan
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To: driftdiver

Contra:

http://www.intactamerica.org/resources/decision


8 posted on 12/29/2013 12:59:09 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Steelfish

Most of those reasons are pretty weak.


9 posted on 12/29/2013 1:00:31 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Steelfish

Yes, apart from religious reasons, circumcision is definitely healthy. And if practiced on an infant, it’s a pretty minor operation.

I know, you occasionally read a terrible story, but there are probably more deaths every year from electrical sockets, or flies in your soup.


10 posted on 12/29/2013 1:01:12 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Steelfish
Washington Post ^ | December 29, 2013 | Michelle Boorstein
If it's in the Washington comPost, you know it's BS.
11 posted on 12/29/2013 1:01:14 PM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Cicero

The left is pushing to stop this and many other religious traditions.


12 posted on 12/29/2013 1:03:41 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Cicero

Circumcision is brutal.

I was circumcised, and couldn’t walk for a year!

(I’ll be here all week - try the veal)


13 posted on 12/29/2013 1:03:47 PM PST by PlateOfShrimp
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To: freedumb2003
NYT-August 27, 2012:Benefits of Circumcision Are Said to Outweigh Risks
14 posted on 12/29/2013 1:05:57 PM PST by lbryce (Obama:The Worst is Yet To Come)
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To: freedumb2003

I am not a Jew and I don’t know the rules, but IMO circumcision should be done by a Doctor.

I know as we get older we have a bit of shrinkage of the wedding tackle, and circumcision makes things a little easier to keep from peeing on the walls and floor.


15 posted on 12/29/2013 1:07:39 PM PST by Venturer (Half Staff the Flag of the US for Terrorists.)
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To: Steelfish

They should take it up with God and Abraham.


16 posted on 12/29/2013 1:08:59 PM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: circlecity

>>”God, he concluded, wouldn’t be impressed by the desire to do something simply “for tradition’s sake.”<<

I heard a Rabbi on the radio one time give a great argument. he said “everyone asks me why we keep Kosher when clearly the rules were health rules and are not needed today? My answer is: Because My God told me to.”

So the answer is yes, God wants you to do it because He commanded it.


17 posted on 12/29/2013 1:09:21 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: Steelfish

Yet liposuction and Botox (and breast implants, etc.) will remain popular for the privileged set. Circumcision will be demonized as it is a religious practice. What’s next, praying to God (see Darius the Mede)?


18 posted on 12/29/2013 1:10:58 PM PST by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: Steelfish

Let’s all design our own religions. (Sort of like pelosi and Reid and lots of others these days). I vote for chocolate cake for the Eucharist.


19 posted on 12/29/2013 1:13:17 PM PST by faithhopecharity
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To: Rummyfan

Many Jews don’t take Genesis “literally,” and this applies to many Christians as well.


20 posted on 12/29/2013 1:13:29 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Venturer

>>I know as we get older we have a bit of shrinkage of the wedding tackle, and circumcision makes things a little easier to keep from peeing on the walls and floor.<<

I might add:

Never serve calamari at a Bris.


21 posted on 12/29/2013 1:13:36 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: Steelfish

But they are supposed to follow the Talmut.


22 posted on 12/29/2013 1:14:20 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: Venturer
I know as we get older we have a bit of shrinkage of the wedding tackle, and circumcision makes things a little easier to keep from peeing on the walls and floor.

ROTFLMAO! Getting old is messy. The answer is to sit to pee, but no real man will do that.

23 posted on 12/29/2013 1:16:29 PM PST by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: C210N

Let’s see them write an article regarding muslim (lower case m on purpose) circumcision.


24 posted on 12/29/2013 1:18:30 PM PST by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Steelfish

Dumb, just plain dumb.


25 posted on 12/29/2013 1:18:50 PM PST by vpintheak (Thankful to be God blessed & chosen!)
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To: Steelfish

What’s old is new again. Ahab and Jezebel, assimilated ancient Greek Jews, assimilated ancient Roman Jews, assimilated 19th century German Jews, etc., etc.; all protested the “barbaric” practice. Yawn.


26 posted on 12/29/2013 1:20:08 PM PST by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: faithhopecharity
I vote for chocolate cake for the Eucharist.

I vote salami for the body and bourbon for the blood.

27 posted on 12/29/2013 1:23:01 PM PST by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: Steelfish

Why not? The destruction of the temple ended the Jewish religion anyway.


28 posted on 12/29/2013 1:25:44 PM PST by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: Steelfish
“that soul will be cut off from its people; he has broken My covenant.

That seems pretty straightforward, right from the mouth of G-d.

Of course, the words "shall not be infringed" have been misinterpreted, too.

29 posted on 12/29/2013 1:27:45 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi (NOPe to GOPe)
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To: Steelfish

Yes I recall Alinsky. At first blush I was impressed with his cleverness. Which he had. But later I came to realize just how arrogant and aggressive his tactics are. Based most on threats and intimidation not discourse dialogue or building consensus. Also he was ready to lie to get anything he wanted. His protege appears to have learned well. Alas.


30 posted on 12/29/2013 1:30:38 PM PST by faithhopecharity
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To: Steelfish

Jesus took Genesis literally. Good enough for me.


31 posted on 12/29/2013 1:33:16 PM PST by freepertoo
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To: freedumb2003

Maybe in Somalia or in the slums of India a foreskin is ‘unhealthy’ but not here in America where good personal hygiene is practiced. Welcoming a baby boy into the world by cutting part of his penis off is criminal in my view. It’s there for a few reasons, one of which is to enhance pleasure and also to ensure a more successful conception.


32 posted on 12/29/2013 1:34:35 PM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
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To: PlateOfShrimp

It can be tougher for adults, although it sounds like you had bad luck. But it’s normally nothing much for babies.


33 posted on 12/29/2013 1:42:42 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero

Read his post again. :-)


34 posted on 12/29/2013 1:44:01 PM PST by gitmo (If your theology doesn't become your biography, what good is it?)
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To: jeffc

“Circumcision will be demonized as it is a religious practice.”

And, like Kosher food rules, circumcision is also practiced by Muslims. Will the WaPo wander down to their local Mosque and inquire of the Imam as to his views on this subject?


35 posted on 12/29/2013 1:46:03 PM PST by jocon307
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To: Steelfish

Apostasy is nothing new to Judaism.

Maccabees anyone?


36 posted on 12/29/2013 1:47:20 PM PST by papertyger ("refusing to draw an inescapable conclusion does not qualify as a 'difference of opinion.'")
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To: Steelfish
God, he concluded, wouldn’t be impressed by the desire to do something simply “for tradition’s sake.”
37 posted on 12/29/2013 1:47:48 PM PST by mikrofon (Happy New Year 2014)
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To: Venturer
I am not a Jew and I don’t know the rules, but IMO circumcision should be done by a Doctor.

The mohels I've known are Jewish MD's who have received additional training in the Jewish ritual aspects.

38 posted on 12/29/2013 1:50:16 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: gitmo; PlateOfShrimp

Sorry, I missed the satire.


39 posted on 12/29/2013 1:51:59 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Steelfish

Yawn. Another lib hit piece on circumcision.


40 posted on 12/29/2013 1:58:32 PM PST by Nachum (Obamacare: It's. The. Flaw.)
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
Welcoming a baby boy into the world by cutting part of his penis off is criminal in my view.

Well hell, why didn't you say so sooner?

I'm sure world Jewry will be appalled once they learn of your displeasure!

41 posted on 12/29/2013 1:59:49 PM PST by papertyger ("refusing to draw an inescapable conclusion does not qualify as a 'difference of opinion.'")
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To: freedumb2003
I don’t have a link handy but I am pretty sure that medical studies show circumcision results in fewer health problems.

my urologist racquetball buddy says circumcism prevents AIDS. He did a month experiment in Africa with amazing results.

42 posted on 12/29/2013 2:00:47 PM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
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To: cartan
Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Your about time is a call against the LORD's express command for Abraham's seed (physical descendants).

43 posted on 12/29/2013 2:04:08 PM PST by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began,)
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To: Steelfish

Per your comment 20; the only Jews who truly count are those who obey the covenants, including circumcision. The others die off and do not usually produce Jewish offspring, although some few claw their way back.


44 posted on 12/29/2013 2:08:50 PM PST by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began,)
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To: Steelfish

The anti-circumcision freaks are often speaking from neo-Nazi/homosexual mindsets.


45 posted on 12/29/2013 2:13:25 PM PST by familyop
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To: WriteOn
The destruction of the most recent temple triggered Judaism to adapt to not offering temple sacrifices, and other commandments associated with the land of Israel that Jews in the Exile could no longer fulfill. It did not end the Jewish religion. It has survived centuries of persecution and genocide, much more than even Irish Catholics had to endure.
46 posted on 12/29/2013 2:15:22 PM PST by af_vet_1981 (The bus came by and I got on, That's when it all began,)
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To: Steelfish

If you want to see who really lurks behind the anti-circumcision talk, enter keywords something like uncut and gay in a search engine.


47 posted on 12/29/2013 2:15:32 PM PST by familyop
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
but not here in America where good personal hygiene is practiced.

i guess that's why nobody gets Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, HPV, Syphilis or AIDS here anymore...

48 posted on 12/29/2013 2:20:29 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: freedumb2003

freedumb2003 wrote:
“I don’t have a link handy but I am pretty sure that medical studies show circumcision results in fewer health problems.”

I was born a 7 moth ‘preemie’, so that was out of the question for me.

I can guarantee your assuredness is true.


49 posted on 12/29/2013 2:21:16 PM PST by Terry L Smith
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To: freedumb2003

Old information.

If you live in a modern world and use modern hygiene the risks are reduced to where there is virtually no difference.

If you were living in the pre-Abrahamic Middle East, where soap and water were not regularly used...yes, that could be problematic.


50 posted on 12/29/2013 2:28:39 PM PST by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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