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Sunday, February 7, 2010

I couldn't walk for a year...

I was once asked if it hurt, when I was circumcised, I replied , you bet I couldn't walk for a year."

Friends and relatives come to watch a Mohel ,a Jewish Rabbi who specializes in cutting the foreskin of penis's, perform circumcism(bris) in the biblical way on the eighth day of the boys life.

The only sedative used is a little Mogen David wine, I have been to a few bris's and cringe every time the rabbi takes the scalpo to the little boys penis.

I asked the Rabbi what he does with all the foreskins, and he said he saves them and makes them into wallets, however he said there was a problem because when people rub the wallets they all turn into suitcases.

This joke parallels the real life debate and problems concerning circumcism. They say it was originally performed to help teenage boys refrain from masturbation, since removal of the foreskin makes that area less sensitive.

The below is from the enclosed website; http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

"Even the great Rabbi Maimonides recognized the problems with circumcision:

The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired...there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its covering from the beginning.”
Rabbi Moses Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, The University of Chicago Press, 1963

Some people believe that God commanded that Abraham circumcise himself, his family and their heirs forever, yet there are many doubts to this belief.
What kind of covenant is it that is marked on the body of a baby, who has no choice in the matter and no understanding?
Would the Almighty focus on the mutilation of a baby’s penis? Modern Jewish scholars have found that circumcision is not even mentioned in the earliest, “J”, version of Genesis nor the next three rewrites by other authors. Most importantly, the story of Abraham is there in its entirety, except the part about the Covenant being “sealed” with circumcision. So do not be afraid of divine punishment. God did not mandate circumcision.
IdentityBeing circumcised is not a condition of being Jewish. Girls do not need to be circumcised to receive the gifts of covenant, i.e., being bat-mitzvahed. A boy is Jewish if his mother is Jewish from the moment he is born. In fact: A boy may be excused from circumcision permanently if his health would be endangered by it (for example, hemophilia).
Jewish boys in countries where routine circumcision is not common, such as Holland, may be left intact and yet remain Jews in good standing.
In Sweden, 60% of Jewish boys are intact.
Many Soviet Jews, left intact for fear of communist persecution, have chosen to remain so, even though communism no longer exists.

Contrary to popular opinions, an intact boy may have a Bar Mitzvah. As one rabbi simply put it, “We don’t check.”

Since many American Christians practice circumcision, it does not distinguish the Jewish boys from the non-Jewish. Thus, the claim that circumcision is essential for the survival of the Jewish people is, therefore, invalid.

Healing the World A central purpose of Judaism is tikkun olam, repairing the world. Much of the pain in the world is a result of repeating old harmful patterns of behaviors. Forgoing circumcision contributes to our healing. As we heal from this pain, we will be better able to heal others, and reach our ethical and spiritual potential.

Tradition, Many people invoke the power of tradition. The following acts are traditionally punishable by death according to the Torah:
Cheating on your husband (Lev 20:10)
Fornicating — if you’re female (Deut 22:21)
Homosexuality (Lev 20:13)
Blasphemy (Lev 24:16)
Insulting one’s parents (Exod 21:17)
Disobeying one’s parents (Deut 21:18-21) Obviously, we no longer apply capital punishment for committing the above mentioned acts because we are no longer a primitive society and we have come to believe in human rights.Other practices sanctioned by the Torah that we no longer permit because we are educated and enlightened are:
Slavery (Exod 21:1-11, Deut 15:12-18)
Animal and human sacrifices (Lev 4:3, 4:23)
Divorce for men only (Deut 24:1)
Female subservience to men including obedience to every order and no right to refuse sex, (Gen 3:16) Many of our traditions have been abandoned, changed or modified over the centuries. Even the tradition of circumcision has been changed over the years.

There is some evidence that radical circumcision — periah — was not instituted until the second century CE, to prevent Hellenized Jews from concealing their status. Evidence shows prior to that, Milah was much milder — only the removal of a sliver of foreskin from the tip of the penis.
Metzitzah — sucking the baby’s penis to remove blood from the wound by mouth — was a long-standing and essential part of the ceremony until the end of the 19th century, when it became clear that mohels with TB or STDs were transmitting the diseases to the babies and many babies died as a result. (the orthodox Jews still practice oral suction (Metzitzah) to this day.)There have been recent deaths attributed to this procedure) Read the enclosed N.Y Times artice; http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/26/nyregion/26circumcise.html

Do not be afraid to be the first to change and lead your parents, family and community into modern times! Your primary responsibility is to take care of your son, not to satisfy other people’s need for tradition. Your community will eventually see the light.

Do not be afraid to think for yourself. Circumcision is barbaric and you are a better parent for not mutilating your son’s penis.

Don’t be afraid to question tradition rather than blindly accepting it. Circumcision continues in our faith because of indoctrination, fear of change, and so-called tradition. Remember that our religious leaders are the products of this same indoctrination.

If you were told to circumcise your daughter’s vulva, would you blindly obey? Or would you question the order and choose to protect your daughter? Shouldn't’ we treat our boys with the same consideration and respect?"

There is the debate of whether or not circumcision helps prevent cancer of the penis? My lady friend puts it this way,"I wouldn't choose to have mastectomy as a precautionary measure for not developing breast cancer, as I would not circumcise my son and cut off part of his manhood just as a precautionary measure that he may develop cancer in the future."

All I can say if I had the choice, I would ask the Rabbi for my wallet back and pack my suitcase for fantasy land. :D)

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