Genital Integrity is a basic human right.

A educational blog about routine infant circumcision and intactivism.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Jewish children are just as deserving of the basic human right to genital integrity as any other person on this planet. And they are just as entitled to make their own decisions about faith and genital cutting when they reach maturity. Religious beliefs, IMO, should be lovingly shared and taught...not permanently carved into flesh of babies, which is quite literally what genital cutting does.

Would it not be incredibly hypocritical---if not anti-semetic---to advocate against medicalized RIC on the basis of it being damaging and a violation of human rights and then to turn around and make an exception for ritual circumcision? Wouldn't it be discriminatory to exclude Jewish infants from the right to genital integrity and protection from such a harmful act?

And what about the related (but less common) practice of metzitzah b'peh? Health officials are so determined to skate around the issue of religious freedom they have now enacted new guidelines to make the practice of a mohel putting a baby's penis IN HIS MOUTH and SUCKING BLOOD out of the wound safer, rather than illegal.

I'm not sure I've ever heard of a more obvious case of religious freedom being put before the health and wellbeing of children. In no other situation would an adult putting an infant's penis in his mouth be deemed anything less than sexual abuse.

The guidelines advise mohels conducting oral-suction circumcision about how to correctly wash their hands and clean their fingernails, and says mohels should "rinse mouth thoroughly with a mouthwash containing greater than 25 percent alcohol" for at least 30 seconds.

I know this is going to sound inflammatory, but to me it's akin to the state setting guidelines that if a priest ritually devirginizes a little girl he please wash his hands and put on a condom first.

Case in point: We're talking about innocent, vulnerable, non-consenting minors here. That's the difference, and why this is an issue of human rights, not religious freedom.

Fortunately, religions are constantly evolving and Judiasm is no different. Many Jewish families are now choosing to forgo the ritual and are instead welcoming their babies without the operation.

Pro-Intact Jewish Links:

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Communicable Disease

Neonatal Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection After Jewish Ritual Circumcision: Modern Medicine and Religious Tradition

Pictures-VERY graphic

New York Times: Fear rabbi gave tots herpes, Probe death of baby after circumcision

Rabbi probed for circumcised infants’ herpes: Baby died from disease after undergoing procedure.

Risky Circumcision: Old Jewish practice causes herpes

The Jewish Week: City Risking Babies’ Lives With Brit Policy: Health Experts

Urinary Tract Infection Following Jewish Circumcision


Circumcision: A Jewish Feminist Perspective, by Miriam Pollack

The Kindest Un-Cut

Bris Backlash

Circumcision Choices

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center

(translated by Shlomo Pines. University of Chicago, 1963)

The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments

Brit Shalom-Covenant of Wholeness

Mothering Magazine: “My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin”

InterfaithFamily.Com: “Why I Am Not Having My Sons Circumcised”, by Dawn Friedman

RitualWell.Org: “Struggling with Circumcision”, anonymous
Originally published in Reconstructionism Today, Vol. 11, No. 3, Spring-Summer 2004.

Bris B’lee Milah

Bris Shalom

Bris Shalom Ceremony

Jewish Circumcision Referrences

Brit without Milah

Circumcision for Religious Reasons

Jews Against Circumcision

Circumcision: A Source of Jewish Pain

Bris Shalom Celebrants/Providers in the US

Alternative Bris Support Group


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