Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Are Jewish Parents Opting Out Of Circumcision?

Some Jewish parents are cutting out one of Judaism’s oldest traditions: the bris. The bris — the ritual circumcision of Jewish boys at eight days old — goes back to the story of Abraham, who circumcised himself and his firstborn son. But some modern Jewish parents are foregoing the ceremony.

“Right now, there is a ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ policy within much of institutional Judaism when it comes to parents skipping circumcision,” Rebecca Wald told the New York Times. Wald is the founder of Beyond the Bris, an online community for parents who are questioning circumcision.

While Jews of all denominations have bris ceremonies as a way to establish their son’s connection to the Jewish people, some parents worry that it is a traumatic experience for a newborn infant.

“I knew that I wanted to raise my child Jewish and in a Jewish home. And yet I’m also a feminist and activist, and believe very strongly in the right to your own body,” said Dana Edell.

She wound up giving her son a “gentle bris” with ritual objects — and no blood in sight.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.