Even in Israel, Some Jews Reject Circumcision

Despite Religious Edict, Growing Minority Say No to Rite


By Reuters

Published November 28, 2012.
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Circumcision is one of Judaism’s most important laws and for generations of faithful it has symbolised a Biblical covenant with God.

But in Israel, more and more Jewish parents are saying no to the blade.

“It’s such a taboo in Israel and in Judaism,” said Gali, nursing her six-week-old son, about the decision not to have him circumcised.

“It’s like coming out of the closet,” she said, asking to be identified by her first name only because she had not told her relatives yet.

Nearly all baby boys in Israel are circumcised. Be their parents ultra-Orthodox or totally secular Jews, it is by far the most common choice. Most Israeli-Arabs also keep with a practice that is widespread in the Muslim world.

Jewish circumcisions are done when the baby is eight days old. The majority are performed by a mohel, a religious man trained in the procedure carried out in a festive religious ceremony called a “brit”, Hebrew for covenant.

But an increasing minority fear it is a form of physical abuse.

“It’s the same as if someone would tell me ‘it’s our culture to cut off a finger when he is born’,” said Rakefet Kaufman, who also did not have her son circumcised.

“People should see it as abuse because it is done to a baby without asking him,” she said.

When Gali learnt she was carrying a baby boy it was obvious to her that he would be circumcised. But she started to think again after a conversation with a friend whose son was uncircumcised.

“She asked me what my reason was for doing it, was it religious? I said no. Was it for health reasons? No. Social? No. Then it began to sink in. I began to read more about it, enter Internet forums, I began to realise that I cannot do it.”


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