The Schmooze

A Jew Among Circumcision Protestors, Capitol Hill Edition

On Capitol Hill recently, amid preposterously high kites and blooming cherry blossoms, a peaceful anti-circumcision protest took place. It was small. The protest that is. Men wore sandwich boards and a mother-daughter team jiggered signs that read: “Circumcision Is Torture” and “Circumcision Decreases Sensitivity.” Pony-tailed joggers posed for a photo with their thumbs up in front of the signs. The men and women, speaking openly about penises, were tentatively engaged by passersby who felt either curious or confrontational.

One man in tie-dye, with hair more salt than pepper, had driven from Pittsburgh to spread his message on one of America’s most famous lawns. Mr. Kauffman, as he was called, wore a portrait of a smiling, multiracial baby that said: “Let HIM Choose.” Kauffman is circumcised, and he’s so unhappy about it that he chose not to do it his sons, against the advice of his doctor, who is also his brother. Kauffman fell out with his rabbi over the decision, but believes so strongly in the basic tenants of the anti-circumcision movement that he feels the loss was worth it.

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A Jew Among Circumcision Protestors, Capitol Hill Edition

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