Okay, religious circumcision, I will try again. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I brought this up before and did not word it properly. I am still just as confused as when I brought it up months ago and I really would like to learn "the other side".

I will state here and now that I will not bash religious circ. because *I do not understand it*. If it is okay with you guys, I'd like to bring up a couple of things that I've thought of but never been able to ask.

I understand that the majority of people of the Jewish faith believe that God tells them to circumcise. My friend Tova believes this, too. The thing is.... many people have no issue whatsoever questioning other aspects of their faith, even those things that were commanded by God. Why is circumcision the "untouchable"? It is peer pressure? Fear for your children to grow up different? The idea that your child can't be Jewish if he has a foreskin?

My second question is more like a scenario. If I claimed that my God spoke to me and told me to chop of the tip of every newborn's pinky, would that be okay? Only if it was part of a huge religious movement? Why would someone who circumcises question what someone else's God tells them to do? Wouldn't that be hypocritical?

Thirdly, I would like to briefly explain why I, personally, have a hard time fully understanding religious circ. To the majority of people who AREN'T Jewish and don't believe in "The Jewish God", for lack of a better word.... what should be the difference for us between female and male circumcision? To many people, there is no real difference between "God commanded it" and "our culture/we think our God commands it". So why, then, should non-Jews support the preservation of one form of circ. and not the other?

If I used words that are incorrect and offensive, please let me know immediately and I will edit it ASAP. I know Jewish mamas who have circumcised and I really want to know where they're coming from. If I could make it make sense to me, it would ease a lot in my mind, kwim?

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#2 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 12:56 AM
 
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Will be really, really brief. Am only answering this because to let it pass will make my head hurt. Not in the mood for further headaches tonight.



Quote:
Originally Posted by by candiland
... I understand that the majority of people of the Jewish faith believe that God tells them to circumcise. My friend Tova believes this, too. The thing is.... many people have no issue whatsoever questioning other aspects of their faith, even those things that were commanded by God. Why is circumcision the "untouchable"? It is peer pressure? Fear for your children to grow up different? The idea that your child can't be Jewish if he has a foreskin?

This tells me you are either have not read previous discussions of this or are just trying to be inflammatory.

Why? Because it's been said ... just talking about here, on MDC ... over and over and over that "being Jewish" has nothing to do with bris milah or not. If your mother is Jewish, you're Jewish.

First.

Second, whoever questions whatever of their faith is their business. Why they (your friend Tova, perhaps) question one thing and not another is their business. How do I know what they question?





Quote:
Originally Posted by by you
... My second question is more like a scenario. If I claimed that my God spoke to me and told me to chop of the tip of every newborn's pinky, would that be okay? Only if it was part of a huge religious movement? Why would someone who circumcises question what someone else's God tells them to do? Wouldn't that be hypocritical?
Not sure where you're going with this. Makes no sense in the context of the discussion. In Jewish view, G!d didn't ask anyone to cut of the tip of every newborn's pinky. So why would it be okay or not okay? I don't care about if anything is "part of a huge religious movement." What does that mean?

And I don't question that for the last 2K years your people and seemingly everyone else's people have insisted that killing my people was what their god told them to do. What do you care what G!d told me to do? Only effects my family, not yours. Unlike what your god told your people to do.






Quote:
Originally Posted by by you again
Thirdly, I would like to briefly explain why I, personally, have a hard time fully understanding religious circ. To the majority of people who AREN'T Jewish and don't believe in "The Jewish God", for lack of a better word.... what should be the difference for us between female and male circumcision? To many people, there is no real difference between "God commanded it" and "our culture/we think our God commands it". So why, then, should non-Jews support the preservation of one form of circ. and not the other?
I don't care what the difference for you is between female and male circumcision. And I don't care if nonJews support the preservation of anything. And I don't care to justify for you something that is purely Jewish.

For several thousand years, there have been many attempts by the various governments who ruled Jews to make being Jewish or to make living with mitzvos illegal or grounds for murder. That includes bris milah. As a matter of fact, that's a major part of the Chanukah story, that the government that oppressed the Jews in that time made performance of bris milah illegal, on penalty of death. Thanks to that, we now have Chanukah. Thanks. I like Chanukah.

Jews have managed to stay Jewish and managed to live with mitzvos. Don't kill us, please, and don't make your problem our problem. We've managed to go on *without* anyone else's support ... not to mention managed to go on *with* everyone else's direct opposition ... for 3,000 years. Seems like a system that works, to me.




I accept, as you've said elsewhere, that you have friends who are Jewish and Orthodox, so sure, I agree that you have friends that have had brises for their sons. Though you recently said elsewhere that you don't think you/others could/should be friends with someone who has circumcised their child. So since bris milah includes circumcision ... hey. It's okay. I don't have to be friends with everybody.





candiland, if you want to understand bris milah, it helps to just understand Torah. If you want to have argument about circumcision, it helps to just post a thread.
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#3 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 12:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candiland

My second question is more like a scenario. If I claimed that my God spoke to me and told me to chop of the tip of every newborn's pinky, would that be okay? Only if it was part of a huge religious movement? Why would someone who circumcises question what someone else's God tells them to do? Wouldn't that be hypocritical?

I wonder if there is a Jewish version of the term "Cafeteria Catholic." A Cafeteria Catholic is a Catholic who goes through the faith and takes what they like, leaves what they don't-- like someone in a cafeteria. So they may accept one tenet of faith, but reject another. "A Juice Bar Jew?" :LOL

I don't have an answer for you, but I think the pinky metaphor is not appropriate. Pinkies are out in the open for all to see-- whereas the male member is hidden. It's easy to accept something if it's not out in the open. Maybe a better comparison would be cutting off the tip of a pinky toe.

Basically the fear is that the child will not be considered Jewish. This fear strikes deep. There are many messy situations in Israel with Russian Jewish men who were never circ'd. It puts them in a very difficult spot, of feeling like they aren't "really" Jewish until they're circ'd.

I would go so far as to say that what divided ancient Christianity into two camps-- the Judaizers and the Gentile Church-- was the issue of what to do with adult men who wanted to enter the fold. Some thought they should be circ'd, but others like Paul recognized this would be a huge obstacle in acquiring faithful, so he announced it was not necessary to be physically circ's-- just spiritually circ'd. You can see this discussed at length in the epistles. But that's going off on a tangent.
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#4 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 01:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk


candiland, if you want to understand bris milah, it helps to also understand Torah. If you want to have argument about circumcision, it helps to just post a thread.
Right, I agree. For Jews this goes beyond anything physical. I know many Jewish mamas, myself included, who had emotional pain or concern about circ, but it is something that transcends phsysical and is of vital importance to our people. If you do not believe in Torah, if you don't seek out truth in Torah, you won't understand.

Every regime that has tried to stamp out Judaism has first tried to outlaw circ. From the Romans to the Soviets.
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#5 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 07:21 AM
 
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A born jew is a born jew NOTHING needed to make a born jew a jew except his/her mother being jewish!!!

Candiland, here are two threads you participated in:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...earchid=445211

As Amy said, "candiland, if you want to understand bris milah, it helps to just understand Torah." Why bris has held up, what it signifies and why... it is all part of understanding torah. You can start by reading websites on judaism, or the posts already in this forum.....

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#6 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Merpk - Actually, my *god* hasn't done anything hurtful to anyone, because my god is a personal god and I don't believe in any organized religion. The fact that so much has done in the name of God in the past - like murdering innocent ppl - is a very large part of why I refuse to subscribe to any religion.

Just wanted to clarify.

My point about "the pinky" is... well... kind of relevant, I think. I was making the comparison because if someone's God told them to... I dunno... cut off a part of a child's body, would you be against that or question THEM in any way.

As for the Torah... I think slavery was also part of the commandments, was it not? Or has that been "taken out" of the Torah?

No, I'm not arguing. The reason I didn't go back to my original thread regarding this issue is because I don't want to argue and I don't want to revive a thread where untrue accusations were made. I'm sure you can understand that
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#7 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When I get back from dropping dd off at preschool, I will search around for those posts where the Torah and bris milah is explained in detail. Any links offhand? If not, I'll see what I can come up with.

Thanks.
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#8 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
I think slavery was also part of the commandments, was it not? Or has that been "taken out" of the Torah?
As I am sure has already been dealt with in this forum, slavery in the torah is not an obligatory mitzva, it is a... how do I put it in english??...a mitzva that advises how to do something that a person may do/ that society allows, like the "taking" of a female war captive to be your wife.

Anyway, if you learn the halachos (jewish laws) of slavery you will see, there is no obligation*at all* for anyone to own slaves.

here is a post of mine on a previous circ thread:
Quote:
The ones that are not possible are mostly those connected to the holy Temple, as it does not exist. And the difference between the laws of "slaves" and the mitzva of bris is that the mitzva of bris was a commanmdment given outright "DO THIS". The laws of "slaves" were laws given IF someone chose to have a "slave"- they were specific ways that a person had to treat this other person.
Really, if your goal is to learn, to educate yourself on judaism I suggest you read through the posts here and follow the links provided in previous threads.

Nothing gets or got "taken out" of the torah.

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#9 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, BB. That makes me feel much better.

Off to search...
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#10 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk
Second, whoever questions whatever of their faith is their business. Why they (your friend Tova, perhaps) question one thing and not another is their business. How do I know what they question?
Good point. It seems that the majority of Jewish people who don't even follow any other aspect of Judaism somehow feel that they *must* circ. But you aren't one of those ppl, so I understand that you can't speak for anyone else.

I was questioning *those* members of the Jewish faith re: peer pressure, cultural norms, etc.

I should have made that more clear.
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#11 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 11:10 AM
 
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Most jews, no matter their affiliation have a pesach seder, of some sort. Check out the Elijah thread.

These are signs of the covenant(bris), of passing down judaism(seder).

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#12 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 11:43 AM
 
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I think it's important to note that the most vocal opponents of circ. these days are New Age, "spiritual but not religious" types. Despite all the angels, touchy-feeliness and Tarot cards in New Agism, this spiritual movement has its roots in 19th century occultism, the tenets of which are virulently anti-semitic. Writers/ spiritualists like Madame Blavatsky (Isis Unveiled) and Aliester Crowley (Sefer Sefirot) wrote ferociously anti-semitic tracts in their works, and it has been surmised by credible historians that Adolf Hitler drew his racial theories directly from Madame Blavatsky's works. Occult/ New Age bookstores still carry books written by these two, and the preface to Crowley's Sefer Sefirot, still in print today declares the "validity of the blood libel." The fake "Kabbalah" taught at places like the Kabbalah Center is more New Age philosophy than Judaism, and again is directly connected to this 19th century occultism.

See The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935 by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

and the ebook "The Rainbow Swastika" which is free at:
http://philologos.org/__eb-trs/
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#13 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm.... that's interesting.

I personally don't call myself any of those things... I guess the closest thing I'm "related" to is paganism. But I create my own beliefs out of personal truths and direct experiences. I've never read the writings mentioned, and it sounds like I don't want to. Blech.
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#14 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did read some of that and I have to wholeheartedly disagree that that is what the New (Old Age) movement stands for.

That's equivalent to saying "Jews are anti-Muslim" or "Christians want the destruction of the Middle East so the Second Coming will occur". Sure, there are some nutjobs out there who believe those things. But to generalize an entire movement based on a fringe element is not trustworthy, IMO.

The "Age of Aquarius" has been discussed using many different myths and stories in every major religion. Different language and understandings of this abound... but the general sentiment remains the same.
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#15 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 02:49 PM
 
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I'm not Jewish, but have studied the Old Testament and understand the covenant involved in circumcision.

Candiland, I'm confused. Why are you worried about what other people do as part of their religion. Even if people are not living their religion completely, what they choose to do is really only their business. Knowing what I know about circumcision, I can completely understand why it would have top priority in the life of a Jewish person who lets other things slide.

It just seems strange to me to question someone else on the choices they make based on their faith. Religion is a very personal thing and the bris is a sacred part of these poster's religion. Not having the perspective they do, I don't think you're ever going to get an answer that satisfies you, because it's not sacred to you.

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#16 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sarah,

It is very important to me because it hurts me very deeply when people are put through intense physical pain, esp. infants that have no say in the matter.

I live in and around a large community of Orthodox Jewish people and it takes everything I have not to bawl my eyes out when I find out someone is having a baby boy. I actually find myself praying and praying that my Jewish friends do not get pregnant with boys. I do not like the fact that it is creating so much intense negative energy within myself and that that negative energy is being directed at other people. It's not my "style". It's not who I am and what I'm about, and it is disturbing me. I know that if I can at least have some sort of explanation that makes sense to me, the viscious and negative cycle in my mind can be broken.

I'm wondering if you feel the same way about female circumcision. If our culture allowed it based on someone's faith, would it not create some conflict within you? Would you not seek to understand it so that you could accept it and be at peace with it?

That is my goal. It's not to argue and make ppl feel "bad" about their choice. And maybe you're right, I was raised to question everything and anything so I guess NOT questioning things is never an option for me. I just wonder if and why ppl take so much based on "faith", esp. when it comes to the amputation of a body part. I guess you are right; I guess I will never understand it because it is not sacred to me. Maybe if I were Jewish I wouldn't question things and go with the flow. Who knows? I'm not in a Jewish momma's shoes.

I have been reading through various threads here and while I do have an understanding of the bris milah being a covenant with God, I still don't understand it. It's frustrating for me because I always want to understand EVERYTHING. Maybe next time around, eh?

Thank you for your patient and kind responses, BB and meowee. I only wish the best for all of you mamas and your children. We all want the same things for our children and for our world; it's just that we go about it differently, and that's okay. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss the issue with me. s

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#17 of 50 Old 09-14-2004, 11:45 PM
 
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I don't get a really super negative feeling from reading your posts; it seems to me that you're honestly trying to learn something here, so I'm going to try to help. I'm willing to explain my answers in more detail if need be, but I will not make the same point over and over and argue in circles, because I find that draining and irritating. On to the show!

Quote:
Originally Posted by candiland
I understand that the majority of people of the Jewish faith believe that God tells them to circumcise. My friend Tova believes this, too.
It's not a belief that God tells us to circumcise, it's something that's a flat out fact, if you accept the premise that God is the author of the Torah. Even Jews who do not circumcise have to accept the fact that the Torah tells us to do it, just as I (a not-terribly-observant Jew) have to accept that God tells us very clearly to "Remember My Sabbath and keep it holy," even though I personally don't always do that.

Quote:
The thing is.... many people have no issue whatsoever questioning other aspects of their faith, even those things that were commanded by God. Why is circumcision the "untouchable"? It is peer pressure? Fear for your children to grow up different? The idea that your child can't be Jewish if he has a foreskin?
It isn't untouchable. There are indeed Jews who do not circumcise their baby boys. The overwhelming majority, however, do, regardless of their level of observance; it's not universal.

The peer pressure idea is laughable; how many people are going to be looking at your son's penis? If Jews were afraid of their children growing up different, they wouldn't be very observant at all (unless they lived in Eretz Yisroel, and maybe not even then) and, as previous posters have mentioned, a child is Jewish if his mother is Jewish, regardless of the state of his penis.

Quote:
My second question is more like a scenario. If I claimed that my God spoke to me and told me to chop of the tip of every newborn's pinky, would that be okay? Only if it was part of a huge religious movement?
There are several reasons that this is a false analogy. First of all, chopping off the tip of an infant's pinky would require a digital block or general anesthesia, and therefore would not ever be something that a reasonable person could consider having done on the dining room table or on someone's lap. (I assume here that you have some basic knowledge of the Bris Milah ceremony; if not, I will explain later.)

The fact of the matter is this: regardless of all of the literature and scary websites to the contrary, there is no difference in function between a properly circumcised penis and an uncircumcised one. There is, however, a difference in the function of a finger with the tip cut off and without. I know that you could probably post a dozen different links here to sites telling me all about the things that go wrong with circumcisions and the differences between circumcised and uncircumcised penises, but I could just as easily do the same from my end. I have personally spoken with men who were circumcised later in life and report no difference in sexual function or intensity.

Quote:
Why would someone who circumcises question what someone else's God tells them to do? Wouldn't that be hypocritical?
Well, why are you questioning what someone else's God tells them to do? Isn't that hypocritical?

Quote:
Thirdly, I would like to briefly explain why I, personally, have a hard time fully understanding religious circ. To the majority of people who AREN'T Jewish and don't believe in "The Jewish God", for lack of a better word.... what should be the difference for us between female and male circumcision?
Note: I really don't see what relevance that particular objection has to Jewish circumcision. Are you saying that Jews should believe that female circumcision is a reasonable thing to do, or that people who aren't Jewish shouldn't circumcise at all? Because the fact is, I agree with you there: I don't think that routine, in-hospital circumcision is a reasonable thing to do.

At any rate: the difference is that a male penis can and will function correctly and effectively without it's foreskin. A female reproductive system is entirely altered by any degree of circumcision. Circumcised boys and men survive the procedure the overwhelming majority of the time, but one in three girls who is circumcised dies from it. (Or some other very high number.. it's at least 20%, if I recall correctly.) Circumcised men get women pregnant all the time, but circumcised women have a hard time getting pregnant, maintaining the pregnancies, and giving birth.

Quote:
To many people, there is no real difference between "God commanded it" and "our culture/we think our God commands it". So why, then, should non-Jews support the preservation of one form of circ. and not the other?
Are you talking about male versus female circumcision here, or about religious versus routine circumcision? I've already answered the former; As to the latter (which happens to be what I believe), the reason that gentiles should support religious circumcision and not routine circumcision is very simple: freedom of religion is one of our first amendment rights. If you don't want the government bothering you about how you pray, don't allow them to bother your neighbors about it, either. It's just good citizenship. I've got loads of other reasons, but I'm very tired and trying to finish this quickly.

Quote:
I know Jewish mamas who have circumcised and I really want to know where they're coming from. If I could make it make sense to me, it would ease a lot in my mind, kwim?
This goes back to your original point about questioning some aspects of religion and not others. Here's the thing: There are some commandments which can be questioned because they're less commandments than they are suggestions. Others are most definately commands which some people are comfortable going against and others are not. I'll give you an example: Shabbos. I am not frum, and not shomer Shabbos (I don't keep Shabbos). I drive on Shabbos, even though I know that the Law states very clearly that you are not to start a fire on Shabbos (when you start your car, you start a fire). In my own mind, I justify this by saying that I'm not actually doing work. Back when the Torah was written, starting a fire was real, actual work, and today it really isn't. We start little fires every day, all the time and we don't even consciously notice them (turning on anything electrical). So I don't think of it as work at all, and I drive and I don't feel bad about it. Even so, I know that I am, technically, violating the laws of Shabbos (and on more levels than just that, but you get the idea).

Circumcision is different. There is no way that I can work my mind around it: the Torah says, clear as day, that if you don't circumcise your son he will be cut off from his people. Not that he won't be Jewish, but that he will be cut out of the family. I can't justify violating that particular commandment in any way, shape, or form. Some halachot I can squirm around, and others I cannot. For me, and with my level of understanding, circumcision is not one I could get around. This is why my son had Bris Milah done on the 16th day of his life (he was a NICU baby, and the 16th day was his 8th day out of the hospital). His circumstance was a little different from the average in several respects, but my decision would have been the same regardless.

Quote:
It is very important to me because it hurts me very deeply when people are put through intense physical pain, esp. infants that have no say in the matter.
My son had anesthesia for his; there was no "intense physical pain." He hardly even noticed the procedure. Not a single one of the horrific things which women on "The Case Against Circumcision" are always bringing up happened at my son's Bris: he didn't fall asleep right away out of shock, no one took him out of my arms and snuck him off to pry away his foreskin with a fingernail, he didn't scream in agony the whole time. He fussed when the anesthetic went on (it was apparently cold) but he really liked the wine and was pretty happy as soon as he was upright again (he didn't particularly care for being on his back.) He looked right at the mohel for the brachot and afterwards I took him upstairs and nursed him.

Quote:
I do not like the fact that it is creating so much intense negative energy within myself and that that negative energy is being directed at other people. It's not my "style". It's not who I am and what I'm about, and it is disturbing me. I know that if I can at least have some sort of explanation that makes sense to me, the viscious and negative cycle in my mind can be broken.
Then find something else to focus your energies on. The fact is that there are far worse things that people do to children then Bris Milah, even if you're a vociferous anti-circumcision activist. This particular issue is why I don't understand animal rights activists: people do horrible things to human children all the time, and you don't see them running around and "setting them free" because they've decided to sit and worry about a few rodents who are getting ready to be turned into coats. I understand the argument that animals are just as important as humans, but then shouldn't they be working on behalf of human children as well as, say puppies?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#18 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, eilonwy. I have heard from many different sources that the bris milah is NOTHING like RIC (routine infant circ.). It sounds like your boy experienced nothing like what happens in hospital circ. procedures. Do the majority of brises go this way?
I'm breathing a sigh of relief right now!

I have "read" (yeah, yeah, I know) that many mohels don't use anesthetic, and that had me concerned. Is this true, or another "we're gonna scare the crap outta you" tactic?

I understand the difference between various "observations" of the Jewish faith and the outright commandment to circ. I've been to "Jews Against Circumcision" and they claim it's not true. I guess every religion will have it's yay and nay sayers, right? I wonder now if they're doctoring the information. I'll look it back up and post a link after I get back from dd's preschool.

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Then find something else to focus your energies on. The fact is that there are far worse things that people do to children then Bris Milah, even if you're a vociferous anti-circumcision activist. This particular issue is why I don't understand animal rights activists: people do horrible things to human children all the time, and you don't see them running around and "setting them free" because they've decided to sit and worry about a few rodents who are getting ready to be turned into coats. I understand the argument that animals are just as important as humans, but then shouldn't they be working on behalf of human children as well as, say puppies?
Actually, I get twisted in knots over everything you just mentioned. I know, I gotta get a thicker skin and all that jazz. My grandparents, who raised me, actually believed there was something "wrong" with me because I was so sensitive to animals' and people's pain. :LOL

Thank you, eilonwy. I think poor Amy's getting a headache from doing this for the past several months. :LOL

If the bris IS as simple as you claim it to be, that most certainly puts my mind at ease!!!
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#19 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 11:42 AM
 
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www.circumcision.net
has a great deal of information about the brit milah
The mohel uses a different tool then in a ritual circ
http://www.circumcision.net/clamp.htm
no clamps. There are MANY differences between a routine circ and a britmilah. Both in spiritual terms and physical terms.

Our mohel used emla cream, there was no board involved, theres - well, maybe a full description of a bris is for a different post.

i think eilonwy said everything I would have - very eloquent mama.

candiland you asked if most brit milahs go that way...i can 't speak for most but my sisters two boys and my son all had bris's and i could've written this myself
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My son had anesthesia for his; there was no "intense physical pain." He hardly even noticed the procedure. Not a single one of the horrific things which women on "The Case Against Circumcision" are always bringing up happened at my son's Bris: he didn't fall asleep right away out of shock, no one took him out of my arms and snuck him off to pry away his foreskin with a fingernail, he didn't scream in agony the whole time. He fussed when the anesthetic went on (it was apparently cold) but he really liked the wine and was pretty happy as soon as he was upright again (he didn't particularly care for being on his back.) He looked right at the mohel for the brachot and afterwards I took him upstairs and nursed him.
cept that we don't have an upstairs lol. i nursed him on the couch while our family talked with the mohel and prepared our meal.
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#20 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your insight, ColorfulMama. I've told people that want to circumcise to please consider having a brit milah because I have heard they are much gentler. It's good to know of these personal anecdotes that prove it so.
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#21 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
It's not a belief that God tells us to circumcise, it's something that's a flat out fact, if you accept the premise that God is the author of the Torah.
Isn't "accepting the premise" the eqivalent of "belief?" It is a fact if you accept the premise, or believe, that God dictated Torah to Moses. If you do not accept the premise that a god could dictate 5 books-worth of info to a human being 3000 or so yrs ago (a stretch in my mind, no offense intended), and that we have the correct and 100% historically accurate written transcribation of this in our modern books of Tanakh, the "factuality" of the neccessity of circing goes by the board.

The facts show Exodus never happened. There is absolutely no evidence that a huge group of Hebrews lived in or migrated out of Egypt in the timeframe indicated in Torah. The facts show the conquering of Canaan never happened, but instead, the Hebrews always lived there along with all the other tribes.

The facts show the history of the Hebrews has been greatly magnified and mythologized for the glorification of the Hebrew people and their god. The neccessity of circing depends on tradition and belief, not facts.
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#22 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 01:09 PM
 
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DaryLLL, OT, but where do the "facts" show the Exodus did or did not happen? Where do the "facts" show the conquering of the Canaanite tribes did or did not happen?

Have been reading about and hearing about that for many years. Wondering about why one of the few written records of the time is generally discounted, when written records of all sorts of other things are generally counted. Never understood that.

But back OT, yes, candiland, have made liberal use of Imaginary Tylenol lately (nursing too much to take the real stuff much).




Will state plain that I do not find bris to be simple at all. As my rebbe would sometimes say, it's not easy to be a Jew. And a bris milah is by far ... by a factor of infinite proportions ... the hardest mitzvah to live with.

I don't believe bris is pain-free at all. And am not sure that anyone ever says it is. At the same time, it is light-years easier on the baby than RIC would ever be. My boys were also calm during and after the bris, and they were also alert, the crying was literally a brief fussing, as opposed to out-and-out cries, and they each nursed well and seemed to be paying attention to all the tumult surrounding them. No clamps, obviously. My first son was on a pillow in his grandfather's arms during the bris, and my second son was on a pillow in his father's arms during the bris. Immediately after the bris they were held directly in the sandak's arms (first the grandfather, with the second my DH) and loved and soothed while they were named ... each whisked to me and nursed.

And in each case I was a wreck the whole day, because it is the hardest mitzvah, bar none. And there is no "ignoring mothering instincts," or any of that crap going on at all. There is deep faith that it should be done, and done in this manner. And there is constant striving (in my community, and in others, anyway) to keep the proceedings and the entire energy of it at as deep a spiritual level as possible. It is *not* a "circumcision party." It is a veneration of 'kabbalat ol malkhut shamayim,' acceptance of the yoke of heaven.

It's not easy to be a Jew. Nothing worthwhile ever is.





This whole post is *not* pro-circ. Not in any way, shape, or form. And candiland, you can't tell your friends to have a brit milah. A brit milah is a religious Jewish ceremony, of which the actual circumcision is a small part. If your friends want to hire a mohel to do it, well, that's their business. But you really should just be talking them out of circumcising, instead of suggesting who to hire. There is no reason for RIC, no matter who is doing it.
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#23 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 01:25 PM
 
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Amy, thank you so much for your last post. Suddenly I understand something I've never understood before, something that may be irrelevant or minor or obvious or unimportant in the eyes of many, but for me your post caused a little epiphany.
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#24 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 02:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk
DaryLLL, OT, but where do the "facts" show the Exodus did or did not happen? Where do the "facts" show the conquering of the Canaanite tribes did or did not happen?
Have been reading about and hearing about that for many years. Wondering about why one of the few written records of the time is generally discounted, when written records of all sorts of other things are generally counted. Never understood that.


http://www.detnews.com/2001/religion...ion-212248.htm
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#25 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy
And candiland, you can't tell your friends to have a brit milah. A brit milah is a religious Jewish ceremony, of which the actual circumcision is a small part. If your friends want to hire a mohel to do it, well, that's their business. But you really should just be talking them out of circumcising, instead of suggesting who to hire.
I've mentioned this to three ppl... one friend who married into a Jewish family and who said the circ. issue was non-negotiable; (again, this is coming from a family that really didn't "follow" Judaism at all, but it's not my place to say what's what, I guess), a guy friend of mine who is Jewish and, again, doesn't really follow Judaism but truly believes in circumcision; and a doula client of mine who.... again.... has Jewish family members on her husband's side and just wanted to do the circ. in the hospital.

I thought that since they were doing the circ., for the most part, because it's part of their Jewish heritage, they could at least have a gentler experience with a mohel.
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#26 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And, again, Darylll steps in and throws one so far over this mommy-mush-brain's head that I'll have to sit back and smile politely.... because I don't have anything intelligent to add. :LOL
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#27 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 07:05 PM
 
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I am Jewish because my mother is Jewish... Though I describe myself as "of Jewish heritage" since I am not a practicing Jew.

I am not a practicing Jew for many reasons.. one being that I cannot accept circumcision.

My son is not circ'd. And when I told my mother we were not going to circ.. she told me I had been questioning it/opposing it since I was a child. I didn't remember that. I do remember questioning/opposing other things I learned in Hebrew school.

I do not know any religious Jews who haven't circ'd. That would be hard to reconcile, I imagine.

I do know people of Jewish heritage who have rejected religious practice because of the issue. I am one.

So to answer your question.. there are Jews that question it.
And either they make peace with it.. or don't do it. What they call themselves is up to them. And their sons ARE Jewish, of course, if they are born to Jewish mothers.

I do understand your analogy about cutting off a pinkie..
I left Judaism precisely because I could NOT come to terms with some of the things it required.

Circ is abhorrent to me.. I cannot wrap my head around it being a religious requirement. I cannot practice a religion that requires it.

Though I AM friends with plenty of people who have done it.. I do not reject religious Jews as friends.

I have not been invited to a Bris recently.. it would be difficult.. I would want to celebrate.. but would not want to be anywhere a circ was being done.. maybe I would try to come afterwards, I don't know.

This is not to insult anyone else.. just explaining my own journey.
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#28 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 07:36 PM
 
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I do not think that the concept of peer pressure for having a bris is a joke at all. I married into a jewish family. And even though none of them are observant it is still an expectation and one that is not to be questioned. If fact that is pretty much the way it is with all the jews that I know IRL. Maybe it's an L.A. thing? I'm not saying it is universal but it is far from rare in my hometown. No one may be specifically checking the diaper but the question is definately asked when is it? And the counting of the days from birth is made and discussion as to who is doing it. In fact many if not most of the nonobservant jews I know do not have it done by a mohel.
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#29 of 50 Old 09-15-2004, 09:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Isn't "accepting the premise" the eqivalent of "belief?" It is a fact if you accept the premise, or believe, that God dictated Torah to Moses.
Okay, let me explain what I meant another way. In the Torah, God says to Adam & Chava "Be fruitful and multiply." Some people believe that this means no birth control ever, they should keep on having loads and loads of children. Some people believe that it means they should have children as long as the population isn't at replacement level, and some people believe that if they've had one boy and one girl they've fulfilled this commandment. The belief is up for interpretation, because God doesn't give specifics. The commandment to circumcise is different, and much more precise. You can accept the Torah as fact without believing that you should never use birth control, but circumcision is not that easy.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#30 of 50 Old 09-16-2004, 12:25 AM
 
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I have not done extensive research for Judaism, FTR! I have an honest question. What is the time frame for the circumcision? How long can one wait? I came here because I too am interested.
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