A defense of the foreskin


By Mikael Aktor
Originally published in the Danish daily INFORMATION and on INTACT DENMARK 10th July 2013 and to

If accidents or disease reduce the bodily functions of a child, we do whatever we can to remedy the damage. Why then inflict such a loss on healthy children ourselves?

June 27 was a sad day for Danish boys. On this day the minister of health, Astrid Krag, rejected legislation against boy circumcision on the basis of a newly delivered report from the Health Council. But the report and Krag’s arguments only relate to a very narrow health perspective, they do not deal with the equally important human rights aspects.

I am a member of an association – Intact Denmark, Association Against Child Circumcision – which has as it’s goal to restrict circumcision to persons who themselves express the wish to have it done and who have reached the age of consent. The arguments for this view among the members of the association vary but my own is quite Continue reading

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Lucking Into Bris Shalom


© 2011 Sarah Rockwell / Beyond the BrisAs a Jew I grew up thinking circumcision was normal. All of my younger cousins and the sons of family friends were circumcised. All the children I babysat for were circumcised. The sound of a wailing baby at a Bris was something familiar–as was the apparently peacefully sleeping baby afterward. The first time I saw an intact baby boy, I thought he looked strange.
When I was a teenager, my father started complaining about circumcision. He would say things like, “I don’t understand why, in a world full of pain, we choose to put our baby boys through even more pain.” It was only when I was pregnant with my son, and had a serious conversation with my father about circumcision, that I discovered he would not have wanted to cut a son of his own. He said to me, “There is enough pain in this world, why would anyone want to inflict pain on a newborn baby so that pain is all he knows of life?”Sarah RockwellAlthough I grew up as a Conservative Jew, learned to read Hebrew, had a Bat Mitzvah, and even kept kosher for a while, I gradually became more secular. I discovered a Reconstructionist synagogue in Miami and loved the Rabbi’s philosophy: “Judaism is like you grandmother’s attic–you take things down Continue reading

I was shocked…


By Eran Sadeh

My name is Eran Sadeh. I am Israeli. I am Jewish.

Eran Sadeh speaking out on circumcision

Eran Sadeh speaking out on circumcision

I was born 43 years ago in Tel Aviv, a healthy baby with a perfect body. 8 days after I was born one man held my tiny legs down while another man cut a part of my penis off with a knife.

I was in pain, I screamed, I bled. It’s over. But the part that was cut off from my penis is forever gone.

36 years later my son was born. Two days before Continue reading

Circumcised radio host: ‘It’s pure torture’ (Full translation)


By Kjeld Koplev, Radio Host / Journalist
(Full translation of article published in Danish daily Politiken 07/18/2012)
Translated and published by Lena Nyhus / IQvixen with permission from the author

Kjeld KoplevPhotographer: Miriam Dalsgaard

Kjeld Koplev
Photographer: Miriam Dalsgaard

Circumcision is an interference into the sex life of the Jewish man and should be stopped immediately.

The signature Anders Jerichouw (AJ) writes in the editorial of Politiken 07/15/2012 that circumcision of Jewish boys is the family’s way of passing on love.

I find that it is pure torture! Cocksure, AJ claims that the circumcision causes no harm. I say, that the torture I was exposed to when a Rabbi cut off my foreskin without anaesthesia   – and without medical experience or training – inflicted lifelong psychological trauma on me.

The Rabbi who yielded the knife also inflicted a castration anxiety that has stayed with me ever since.

I cannot in any way see that circumcision has the least to do with love. Continue reading

Circumcision and Jewish Identity


Jewish Scholar Miriam Pollack discusses male genital cutting (aka circumcision/genital mutilation) from a Jewish perspective. Many interesting and enlightened points.

Can you give me back my foreskin? (Full translation)


Open letter to Bent Lexner, Chief Rabbi of Denmark

By Leo Milgrom
(Milgroms translation of his original piece published in Danish daily Politiken ‘Kan du give mig min forhud tilbage?‘ 07/28/2012 and first covered by this blog here.)

March 1980: a man drives into a neighborhood south of Copenhagen. He stops in front of a terraced house, walks up the stairs to the first floor and into the bedroom where he proceeds to greet the people present. He recites a number of verses – and then he cuts of my foreskin and takes it with him.

32 years later I have grown up to write to you, Bent Lexner, because you are Chief Rabbi and in charge of Jewish circumcisions in Denmark. Questions have piled up Continue reading

Oppose religious branding


Oppose religious branding. Say no to genital mutilation aka circumcision. Design by Svend Eide Joensen

 

Fantastic! We have our second meme. This time designed by Svend Eide Joensen. He has chosen to address genital mutilation aka circumcision – regardless of gender – committed in the name of religion.

In some cultures it is claimed that genital mutilation is commanded by God in order curb sexuality, heighten cleanliness or demonstrate allegiance to the religion. Either way it is not only an assault on the child; an assault it could die or become permanently injured from. It is also a violation of the persons religious freedom.

Parents rights to religious freedom end where the child’s rights to religious freedom and an intact body begins.

German Paediatric Association suggests Ban on Circumcision of Boys


In early December 2012 The German Paediatric Association took a massive leap forward in the defence of children subjected to genital mutilation.

Based on comprehensive studies into amongst others circumcision procedures, pain thresholds in infants and children as well as possible physical and psychological consequences of the procedure the German Paediatric Association (Berufsverband der Kinder- und Jugendärzte e.V.) recommended a ban on circumcision of boys.

Referring to studies by numerous specialists their conclusion was clear Continue reading

Circumcision Tantamount to Bodily Harm


by Lena Nyhus / iQvixen

It's boy

Screenshot from ‘It’s a Boy’ a documentary by Victor Schönfeld available for download on http://www.realeyz.tv/de/its-a-boy.html

Circumcision Tantamount to Bodily Harm a local Cologne (Köln) court ruled in May 2012. The ruling enraged Jewish and Muslim communities all over Germany and provoked an intense debate on the issue reaching as far up as parliament, which is currently debating legislative action.

The dilemma faced by the legislative body and the public alike is how to balance considerations concerning the child’s rights as well as respecting religious minorities and avoiding notions of discrimination.

With one part claiming parental and religious privileges and the other citing the child’s right to protection from abuse and bodily harm the borders are sharply drawn at the best of times and voices of the debate shrill, but at this point neither part of the conflict seem confident that their particular point of view will conquer.

In the middle of this tense atmosphere award-winning Jewish filmmaker Victor Schönfeld presents ‘It’s a boy’ a documentary on infant circumcision – botched infant circumcision. Reportedly Professor Dr. iur. Reinhard Merkel, member of the German Ethics Council has called for members of the Bundestag to view the film before they legislate on a general permission for non-medical circumcisions of young boys, naming it a “noble obligation”.

‘Can You Give Me Back My Foreskin?’ Leo Milgrom asked…


by Lena Nyhus / iQvixen

‘Can you give me back my foreskin?’ Temp Teacher and former member of the Danish Mosaic Community Leo Milgrom asked Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner in an open letter published in Politiken 07/28/2012.

Read more here (Article in Danish: Kan du give mig min forhud tilbage?)

In an insightful piece Milgrom shared his thoughts on the Jewish culture that had fostered a tradition of circumcision citing scripture on several occasions to expose some of the many commandments that the Jewish community of today have already abandoned.

A modern human being must be able to explore and discuss the culture, traditions and rituals which it is part of, but unfortunately some parts of the Jewish community seem unable to partake in such a debate, he claims. Surely, the time has come to question and abandon and ancient and cruel ritual that leaves children traumatised.

Chief Rabbi has circumcised more than 1.000 infant boys over the years according to his own records and he is the religious head of the Jewish community in Denmark. In that capacity Milgrom asks for answers on behalf of himself and perhaps to the benefit of some of the other boys Lexner circumcised over the years.

The intimate bond of trust between parents and child is irreversible severed during circumcision, substituting family with religion. Later in life, when the boy becomes a man, yet again the circumcision inhibits intimacy between the man and his sexual partner. Between them will always be a third party; religion.

Milgrom’s mother cried during the circumcision, his father nearly fainted, they have confided to him. His question to the Chief Rabbi is ‘Why didn’t the circumciser stop to ask what was the matter?… Did he at any time think: I wonder what this little boy thinks about what I’m doing to him? Do these contemplations not even enter your minds?’

To my knowledge Milgrom’s questions, as I have described them here, remain unanswered. Cheif Rabbi of Denmark Bent Lexner never replied.

‘Circumcised radio host: It is Pure Torture’


by Lena Nyhus / iQvixen

When the debate about male genital mutilation (so-called circumcision) flared up in Denmark during the summer of 2012 one of the most compelling opinions voiced was that of journalist and author Kjeld Koplev; ‘In my opinion it is pure torture!’ he exclaimed in a column printed in the prominent Danish newspaper Politiken on 07/18/2012 and continued to explain how the circumcision he suffered through as an infant had left him traumatized and with castration anxiety lasting into adulthood and crippling his life and sexuality.

Read the full article here (in Danish)

‘Circumcision is not an act of love.’ he wrote as a response to an opinion voiced by journalist Anders Jerichouw in an editorial in Politiken 07/15/2012 ‘It is a selfish act, wherein some people – in misunderstood religious zealousness – abuse and brand an infant boy. Not more nor less. Any other opinion is simply a rationalisation.’

A circumcised child existing in a primarily uncircumcised society such as the Danish suffers from yet another torment; he is ostracised. Perhaps not literally, but in his own mind. Being different at an age where one desperately wishes to just fit in can be extremely challenging.

Mr. Koplev draws attention to the UN-concention on Childrens Rights (ratified by Denmark) and claims that surely circumcision must be considered a violation.

Accusations of anti-Semitism and other parallels to Nazism and fascism are frequent in the debate about circumcision but as Mr. Koplev frases it; ‘Naturally, my opposition has nothing to do with hatred towards Jews.’ Just as the opposition to female genital mutilation is not rooted in hate towards Islam, the opposition towards male genital mutilation (aka circumcision) is not by any means related to anti-Semitism.

It would be suitable Koplev states if the practitioners themselves abandoned the barbaric tradition of genital mutilation of both boys and girls even before legislation restricts it.