In a recent discussion someone interjected: "are there any Jewish people involved in this discussion?". While there were none at the time, I wanted to put the answer in terms of Jewish people involved in the discussion of circumcision as a whole. So I provided this list:
- Another book by a Jewish author: http://www.amazon.com/Marked-Your-Flesh-Circumcision-Ancient/dp/0195315944/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365773937&sr=8-1&keywords=marked+in+your+flesh
- And another book by another Jewish author: http://www.amazon.com/Circumcision-American-Health-Fallacy-Springer/dp/0826132413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365773961&sr=8-1&keywords=circumcision+an+american+health+fallacy
- Words by a Jewish philosopher of the 1st Century (who supported circumcision):
First of all, it is a symbol of the excision of the pleasures which delude the mind; for since, of all the delights which pleasure can afford, the association of man with woman is the most exquisite, it seemed good to the lawgivers to mutilate the organ which ministers to such connections; by which rite they signified figuratively the excision of all superfluous and excessive pleasure, not, indeed, of one only, but of all others whatever, through that one which is the most imperious of all.
A Treatise On Circumcision. Philo Judaeus
- Words by another Jewish philosopher and physician (12th Century) who also supported circumcision:
As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate. Some people believe that circumcision is to remove a defect in man's formation; but every one can easily reply: How can products of nature be deficient so as to require external completion, especially as the use of the fore-skin to that organ is evident. This commandment has not been enjoined as a complement to a deficient physical creation, but as a means for perfecting man's moral shortcomings. The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for 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. Our Sages (Beresh. Rabba, c. 80) say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised had sexual intercourse, to separate from him. This is, as I believe, the best reason for the commandment concerning circumcision.
The Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 49. Moses Maimonides
- Words of Andrew Freedman (Jewish), one of the 8 members of the AAP's Task Force on circumcision, regarding his own son's circumcision:
"I circumcised him myself on my parents’ kitchen table on the eighth day of his life. But I did it for religious, not medical reasons. I did it because I had 3,000 years of ancestors looking over my shoulder."
"I didn't make any excuses that this was to avoid a UTI, or for medical reasons. My rationale was this: As a Jewish male in a long line of tradition, I didn't want to be the link in a chain that broke. "
- Challenging the Circumcision Myth, a jewish perspective: http://lisabravermoss.com/uploads/Challenging_the_Circumcision_Myth.pdf
- Jonathan Friedman's thoughts on circumcision: http://www.beyondthebris.com/2011/06/on-circumcision-authority-and.html
- Brit without Milah: http://www.circumstitions.com/Docs/britwm.pdf
Circumcision was also a way of dominating the individual and subjecting him to the control of the group. Individuality is frightening to those whose identity is totally wrapped up in the group. Losing a member means losing a part of what they consider “the self.” And so, just as the cutting of the hair in the military sends the message that the individual is now the property of the state, the cutting of the penis sends the message that he is now the property of his religion or the institution.
Thankfully humanity is evolving and many of the barbaric rituals of the past are no longer being carried out. Among many Jews, Muslims, Africans, and Americans, however, circumcision is still prevalent. Why?
The first answer is ignorance. Many people are unaware of the realities of circumcision. Inaccurate “studies” of the supposed benefits of circumcision are still being quoted by doctors and religious leaders.
- So yes there are many Jewish males (and females) involved in this discussion, and have been for a long time.It is my opinion that the person who posed the question probably wanted to divert the discussion to the typical accusation of antisemitism, ignoring -as people often do- that most of the American circumcisions have nothing to do with Judaism, and ignoring that the FGM bill from 1997 does not allow for religious or cultural exceptions when it comes to non-therapeutic genital cutting of female babies, regardless of the severity of the procedure -where not even a pinprick is allowed in spite of being less invasive than male circumcision and much less damaging.