A Jew Against Circumcision

Jul 31, 2013

A Jew Against Circumcision
By Scott Raab at 1:30PM

I’m not a circumcision fan, not as a Jew, not as a man. I belong to a
branch of Judaism — Reconstructionist — that considers itself
enlightened and progressive; no “Chosen People” stuff, no rules about
matrilineal descent, and yet, thanks to the apparently intractable
belief that humankind’s covenant with God somehow specifically demands
that each and every Jewish male must suffer ritual genital mutilation,
Reconstructionists still insist upon the practice.

Ritual. Genital. Mutilation. That’s precisely what circumcision is,
and it is performed for no other reason than virgins were sacrificed
to King Kong. The “health” reasons put forth on behalf of such routine
disfigurement are unproved, including the belief, prevalent in the
19th-century U.S., that removing a foreskin would cut down on
masturbation. As for the ethical and moral issues involved in
performing elective surgery on a newborn — a situation where informed
consent by the patient is an impossibility — well, hey, a covenant’s a
covenant. With the Lord!

What particularly galls me is the mealy-mouthed dishonesty practiced
by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which oh-so-carefully crawls a
tightrope spun of silken shite:

“New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male
circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure, but the benefits are
not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn

The procedure? Ritual genital mutilation. Yes, I have a son, and when
he was born, I hired a mohel to cut him. What a dolt I was. An
ignorant fundamentalist, nothing more. My wife, born and raised
Catholic, had to quash the urge to seize the boy and vanish into the
woods behind our house before the mohel began. I wish she had.