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.
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?”Although 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 →
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 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 →
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 →
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.
Of course you wouldn’t cut the nipple off you child and I dare say you wouldn’t find many parents anywhere on earth who would allow anyone to cut off their children’s nipples for no apparent reason at all. Why would they? It would be barbaric, wouldn’t it?
But still, world wide a vast number of parents decide to have their children’s genitals mutilated. What is it that makes it acceptable for parents to allow someone to cut off foreskin or labia or perhaps the clitoris on perfectly healthy baby or child?
I simply fail to comprehend the logic. I just cannot for the life of me understand why some parents would choose this for their children.
‘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.