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April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
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German Court Criminalizes Religious Circumcision

Religious Circumcision

Religious circumcision appears to be safe in Denmark following a government report declaring it is not dangerous
Photo Credit: Serge Attal/Flash90

A Cologne district court ruled on Tuesday that parents may not have their sons circumcised for religious reasons. The ruling has angered Muslims and Jews.

Non-medical circumcision is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body,” the court declared, essentially criminalizing religious circumcisions performed by Jews and Muslims, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported.

The court now considers circumcision a crime of bodily harm.

The court decided that a legal guardian’s authority over a child does not allow them to subject the child to the procedure.

Also, the court rejected the notion that religious freedom, which is protected by law in Germany, should permit a guardian to make such decisions for the children in their care.

German doctors performing circumcisions that are not medically necessary could claim, until this ruling, that they were unaware that performing a circumcision is a crime, writes the Financial Times Deutschland. This is no longer the case, said.

Before the Cologne district court was a case against a Muslim doctor, who performed a circumcision on a four-year-old boy at his parents’ request. Two days later the child started to bleed and was taken to hospital.

German authorities launched a criminal investigation against the doctor. The original court trial ruled in favor of the doctor, but the local prosecutor appealed to the Cologne district court.

Tuesday’s decision sets a precedent, which may affect medical and religious practice across Germany.

Because of the involvement of religious rights in the case, experts have suggested the case will be further appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court.

Holm Putzke of the University of Passau, who has been advocating for years against circumcisions, told the Financial Times Deutschland that “the court has, in contrast to many politicians, not allowed itself to be scared by the fear of being criticized as anti-Semitic or opposed to religion.”

He added: “This decision could not only affect future legal rulings but in the best case it could lead to a change of consciousness among the affected religions when it comes to respecting the basic rights of children.”

The possibility of a legal ban on circumcisions is causing outrage among Jewish and Muslim organizations in Germany.

“The Court’s decision is unacceptable and gravely violates religious freedom,” says Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg, vice president of the Rabbinical Center of Europe. “The decision is contrary to human rights charter of the European Union, to which the German legal system is committed, and undermines the basic right to worship in the German Constitution.”

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226 Responses to “German Court Criminalizes Religious Circumcision”

  1. Sam Gordon says:

    As Jews we will always circumcise our children even if the Germans don't approve. And so many will have to be incarcerated that once again you'll have to set up Koncentration Lagers to put us all in.

  2. How long have the Jews been doing this? Long enough to know how….and it’s prescribed by G-d for a reason as were all of His laws. Anyone with clue about the law would understand that.

  3. What about Freedom of Religion?

  4. Step 1 toward genital equality. Change happens through legislation. God likes human rights. Thank you Germany.

  5. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    If you don't do all of the other 613 mitzvah, you have no right to do this one in particular – the one that harms another person – why is this the one that even non observant Jews cling to? Maybe because it's no skin off their genitals?

  6. John Wallach says:

    Catholics brand the minds of the young, Jews brand the mind and the body. Simply being human isn't good enough for either camp. Fanatical, belligerent loyalty one's tribe or political party will eventually destroy this planet.

  7. John Wallach says:

    Catholics brand the minds of the young, Jews brand the mind and the body. Simply being human isn't good enough for either camp. Fanatical, belligerent loyalty to one's tribe or political party will eventually destroy this planet.

  8. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    Thank you for allowing children to have the freedom of religion and not be scarred by their parents belief system. Religious freedom ends where another person's human rights begin. If this is allowed to continue under religious freedom than female genital mutilation and honor killings should also be legal.

  9. Jewish? If you are Jewish, know that you religion is transmitted by birth. Every child born to a Jewish mother is considered Jewish There is no need to circumcise for your son to be Jewish! Consider a peaceful bris shalom ceremony instead of a bloody bris milah. Please see these resources for more on the topic: http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/;.

  10. Actually, if you are Catholic, you MUST NOT circumcise!
    To find out more about what the Bible really says about circumcision for Christians, please check this out: http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/christian.html. If you are Catholic, the Catholic Church is notoriously AGAINST GENITAL MUTILATION of any kind. The new (1994) Catechism of the Catholic Church at paragraph 2297 states in part:"Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."

  11. Yori Yanover says:

    Are you saying there isn't a religious Jewish obligation to circumcise? How long have you been on our planet? Are you carbon based?

  12. Yori Yanover says:

    As described so clearly in Lord of the Flies. Children don't get religious freedom, they only do when they grow up. And until they do it is the parents' and the community's duty to imbue them with as much moral uprightness and religious competence as is humanly possible. It's called civilized society and we've been doing it this way to various degrees of success for a really long time.

  13. Yori Yanover says:

    You can be whatever you wish. But why must a German court tell me how to follow MY faith? It was an activist decision that does not belong in a court. If a legislator, representing the public will, wants to outlaw a religious act, they do it through a complex process which the public is able to influence. When a judge decrees it, it's tyrany, pure and simple.

  14. Did anyone thought that Germans like Jews?

  15. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    I don't really care about Lord f the Flies – I care about children's rights to decide for themselves whether they wish to be mutilated in the name of some deity that they or or may not believe in as an adult. They can always choose to make the sacrifice fr their religion as an adult.

  16. Not one national medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision. NOT ONE. There is no REASON to cut healthy, living tissue off a newborn. The foreskin has a function, which is why GOD or NATURE (whichever you believe) put it there.

    God does not make mistakes. And evolution does not make mistakes either (for every single male to be BORN with a foreskin, there is a reason. He was "BORN THIS WAY"!)

  17. You can get circumcised when you are 18 and DECIDE to do it, instead of having it imposed on you. By then, it will have a much greater value if CHOSEN by the young man, than forced upon him.

    Judaism is transmitted by birth; your son will STILL be Jewish, even if he is not circumcised! Because circumcision irrevocably alters the penis and its functions, the penis owner should choose if he wants it done of not.

  18. Yori Yanover You can get circumcised when you are 18 and DECIDE to do it, instead of having it imposed on you. By then, it will have a much greater value if CHOSEN by the young man, than forced upon him.

    Judaism is transmitted by birth; your son will STILL be Jewish, even if he is not circumcised! Because circumcision irrevocably alters the penis and its functions, the penis owner should choose if he wants it done of not.

  19. It is the parents' duty to "brainwash"

  20. Yori Yanover My point is that Judaism is transmitted by BIRTH, via themother. You are STILL Jewish, even if you are not circumcised!

    When the young man becomes 18, he can CHOOSE to get circumcised, if he so wishes. At that point, he will be able to have full anesthesia. It will be his decision, his choice, and will have that much more weight, because he will have consciously DECIDED to be circumcised. It is something that forever, irrevocably, alters the penis and its functions. The penis owner should decide!

  21. Joseph Lewis says:

    So then, Yori, you agree that parents should be free to circumcise their daughters in accordance with their beliefs? Or is this "different?"

  22. Joseph Lewis says:

    What do you think of the German court condemning female circumcision in the name of Islam? Or is that "different?"

    Special pleading; this circumcision, and the circumcision of others has ended in tragedy, either botched circumcision for the child, or his death.

    I think it's good that courts are finally willing to call a spade a spade and not walk around eggshells because it might piss off some religious community.

  23. Jason Maas says:

    Yori Yanover are you a carbon based life form? Do you have any compassion or feeling at all for the pain and suffering of children? Jewish law is specifically written to minimise suffering, even of animals. Our children deserve at least as much regard. We have changed and adapted Judaism constantly throughout the thousands of years of our faith. we no longer sacrifice animals and perform burn offerings. We no longer treat women as chattel (well, *most* of us don't). We can change enough to alllow grown Jewish men to decide whether or not to have our foreskins cut off in the name of "god."

  24. Jason Maas says:

    Yori, so you are in favour of female circumcision? Look at some of these photos of religious madness, some of them involving children. I think you misread Lord of the Flies. It's NOT about keeping children on a short leash because they don't know any better. The children are a metaphor for US, ALL of us. That book is about the insanity that ALL tribes perpetrate on the weak and vulnerable. Only when our vicious, tribal abuses are stopped does civility prevail:

  25. Bella Kat says:

    Jews need to come out and march against this. No surprise it is happening in Germany!

  26. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    If you've ever worn mixed fabrics, ever read your horoscope, trimmed your sideburns, shaved your beard, stayed in your own home during Sukkot, waited until payday to pay someone or waited for a bill to come in the mail for services rendered, lent someone money without charging interest, are against the death penalty, were ever rebellious to your parents, – don't chop up your son's penis – it's pretty simple math

  27. Joel Keller says:

    False comparison. And false by a mile (or kilometer).

  28. Judaism as you know is transmitted by birth. As long as the mother is Jewish, her offspring is considered Jewish. No need to alter them in any way, boys or girls!

    Circumcision is extremely painful, unnecessary, cosmetic surgery, which can have dire consequences. In extreme cases, the baby can DIE. In others, suffer complications like this infant:

    "Nothing in life is 100% safe, but circumcision is 100% avoidable."

    If you are interested in learning whether foreskin has any purpose from a medical perspective, you may watch that video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1482347046642439341.
    Mercifully, circumcision is slowly but surely becoming unfashionable across North America.

  29. Yori Yanover That is strange. Why is it that my comments seem to be disappearing? That is twice now! I wrote that as we all know, Judaism is transmitted by birth. As long as your mother is Jewish, YOU are Jewish. There is no need to force circumcision upon a hapless infant, who may renounce his Jewish identity down the line anyway!

    Much better to wait until the young man is 18, can get proper pain relief, and CHOOSES to get circumcised, rather than being forcibly subjected to mutilation against his wishes. Ten out of ten babies OPPOSE CIRCUMCISION!

  30. Lynn Reed says:

    First of all Yori, our religious freedoms are not being taken away..you are free to do whatever you wish to YOUR body, but to alter a baby boy for life is where his HUMAN RIGHTS trump your religious RITES. Radical circumcision, which is performed today. Jews of antiquity knew the difference and the word mohel means…rather a clipping like you would a finger nail…removal has a different Hebrew root word.
    I am very pleased to see this “This decision could not only affect future legal rulings but in the best case it could lead to a change of consciousness among the affected religions when it comes to respecting the basic rights of children.” There is hope that the barbaric practice will stop and all chiildren, male & female, will be protected from this form of religious abuse.
    I also understand that most Jewish parents cannot sort out that this is harmful, since this Minchag has been established many years ago, but we have to evolve and see this as what it is & every mother knows as painful and completely unnecessary.

  31. Lynn Reed says:

    First of all our religious freedoms are not being taken away..you are free to do whatever you wish to YOUR body, but to alter a baby boy for life is where his HUMAN RIGHTS trump your religious RITES. Radical circumcision, which is performed today is not what the Jews of antiquity practiced, they knew the difference as the word mohel means a clipping like you would a finger nail…not removal/amputation which has a different Hebrew root word.
    I am very pleased to see this “This decision could not only affect future legal rulings but in the best case it could lead to a change of consciousness among the affected religions when it comes to respecting the basic rights of children.” There is hope that the barbaric practice will stop and all chiildren, male & female, will be protected from this form of religious abuse.
    I also understand that most Jewish parents cannot sort out that this is harmful, since this Minchag has been established many years ago, but we have to evolve and see this as what it is & every mother knows as painful and completely unnecessary.

  32. Jason Maas says:

    Joel, there are many different forms of female circumcision/cutting. Some are less extreme than male circumcision. They are still illegal in all civilised countries. Boys deserve exactly the same protection. If you want to compare males and females, I'm all for it. Why should girls be protected from ALL forms of genital cutting, yet boys are not? The simple solution is to protect both boys and girls equally, and let every person decide for themselves as a consenting adult what they want done with their body.

  33. Yori Yanover As you are no doubt aware, mohels often make the infant DRUNK with kosher wine; they STROKE (MASTURBATE) the penis to first get it erect,so they can get a "good" cut; they then cut it, and in some awful instances, perform Metzizah b'peh, which is NOT even Kosher to ingest blood, esp. of humans!

    In ANY OTHER context, if you gave a child wine; if you masturbated him, if you cut a body part off, and if you sucked his penis (fellatio) you would be immediately booked and face a SLEW of charges….

    As a case in point, look at the laughing rabbis in your picture! They cannot wait to start hacking away at the newborn's penis! Hos revolting!

  34. Lynn Reed says:

    We find ourselves in a new time…in an age where new laws govern the relationship of Mankind to You and to nature are at work. We thank you our Lord for bestowing on us the understanding of these relationships and for allowing us the growth that has brought us this understanding and brought us Your presence. In this closeness to You we have gained complete trust in Your word and the faith in the perfection of Your works. You have shown us wonders and we are ready to accept Your works in their utter perfection.

    Our son, created in Your image, is whole, complete, and perfect. He is a child of G-d, a child of the new, a child of Light. We accept him as he has come to us and do not defile Your creation by changing him.

    He enters into Your Covenant in a shroud of understanding. A new day has dawned.

    (light candle)

    Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu, Melekh ha’olam, shehekianu,

    v’kimanu, v’higianu lazman hazeh.

    Even as he has been introduced into Your Covenant so may he be introduced into Light, Love and Happiness.

    Praised be G-d who hast honored us by sending this child to bless our home and family. We. in turn, honor this child by bestowing on him the name________in Hebrew.

    May he live a life full of happiness and wisdom. May he be blessed to live the whole of his life in the light of Your presence. May the lord bless and keep him; May the Lord look kindly upon him and be gracious unto him; and may the Lord bestow favor upon him and grant him peace.


  35. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    You are still free to practice your faith – just not force it on others. You can still do whatever you would like to your body in the name f your deity. This ruling just gives your children the same choice.

  36. Some people call it uncivilized to cut of a perfect part of another person's genitals without their permission. I think it's GREAT to teach your children faith. But let your children grow up to make their own permanent decisions that negatively affect their sexual health.

  37. Lynn Reed says:

    so now we are quoting Lord of The Flies? OMG-d

  38. Lynn Reed says:

    also see FREE BRIS CEREMONY on facebook, Offering empowerment & support to Jews who choose to leave their sons Intact (not circumcising). https://www.facebook.com/groups/141962229156708/
    Also giving access to a "DIY" ceremony (Bris) without the cutting (Milah) that they themselves can perform thereby circumventing:) the need to find a supportive rabbi… which in many parts of the world is difficult or impossible to do,

  39. Jason Maas says:

    Lynn Reed My experience is that most people who quote Lord of the Flies don't actually understand Lord of the Flies.

  40. Steve says:

    What a load of nonsense your selling.

  41. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    This is awesome news. There is no valid excuse for non-therapeutically mutilating the genitals of an unwilling human being. Religion should no longer be used as a shield for such a barbaric practice.

  42. Steve says:

    Seriously! Using the Ha’aretz article (which is site the intactivists repeatedly quote), which is citing a non-scientific and “informal” survey is the basis for your percentages!
    That’s not very reliable at all.

  43. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Intactivist nuts out in full force tonight.

  44. Natan Epstein says:

    Jews in Germany still do the Brit? I mean the fact that they live there is a shame….. the Germans never changed their mind about the Jews , the Jews just simply are too stupid and liberal thinking the modern world will allow them to practice religion , IDIOTS!

  45. Natan Epstein says:

    Jews in Germany still do the Brit? I mean the fact that they live there is a shame….. the Germans never changed their mind about the Jews , the Jews just simply are too stupid and liberal thinking the modern world will allow them to practice religion , IDIOTS!

  46. Jason Maas says:

    Many Israeli Jews are no longer doing brit milah, thankfully.

  47. Circumcision originated before the dawn of history. There was no knowledge of sanitation or the need for a sterile operating environment. Jews have traditionally performed circumcision on the eighth day after birth for many thousands of years. The medical literature was still reporting numerous deaths from ritual circumcision in the early twentieth century.2, 3 There must have been vast numbers of babies who died under those conditions through the centuries. Jewish law allows parents who have had three sons die from circumcision to leave the fourth son intact.6.

  48. Natan Epstein says:

    and sadly they will not be a part of Judaism , you mean many Israelis who are non observant of the Torahs commands or believe in god , that's a different story !!

  49. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Nearly ALL Jewish Israelis perform circumcision on their children. Baruch Hashem.

  50. Natan Epstein says:

    ooops jason i guess you were wrong … Stephen Leavitt thanks for the rescue !

    Jason another thing why are you bringing up an irrelevant answer to my comment ? i didnt comment about Israelis making brit mila or the fact that it does or doesn't make sense …

  51. Jason Maas says:

    Natan, you were the one who brought up Jews living in Germany as if where a Jew lived somehow related to their Jewishness. I pointed out the fact, as reported recently in the Israeli papers, that not all Israeli Jews circumcise, either. That news item reported that anywhere between 1 and 5 % of Israeli Jews are no longer circumcising, with that number seemingly increasing. Yes, there will always be those who say one Jew is "less' Jewish than another for some silly reason. I have a strong suspicion that any "god' who really did create a timeless, infinite universe probably doesn't care about brit milah. The bris was a human invention. In this day and age, if you feel that being circumcised makes you more Jewish, you should have every right to cut yourself. But unconsenting children should be left unmarked until they are adults and can decide for themselves.

  52. Yori Yanover I AM SO THANKFUL that you were able to enlighten me about this new religious text called "The Book of The Lord of the Flies." I will now go and translate this ancient and sacred text to as many languages as possible so that we can share the homoerotic fantasies of pubescent/adolescent boys expressing their sadistic ways on the pre-pubescent youths of their tribes. I am certain we will enjoy the pasttime of reading this sacred book for many thousands of years to come, while we wait for the "Big Plane" to save us from this Island we call "Earth". — But tell me Yori : Where is it in this most sacred of all the ancient books does it mention A SINGLE (*&&ING WORD ABOUT CIRCUMCISION?

  53. Natan Epstein says:

    You are coming from an atheist point of view not from a religious point of view that's why you cant stick your nose into this conversation !

    The reason why we do a brit mila is indeed a human spiritually made halcha by avraham avinu , the reason why we do a brit mila in our private part is because we use that part to do the most holliest thing on earth ( to have children ) thats why we have a painful process that has a religious value to it right over there (YES IT DOES HURT BU ME PERSONALLY I DON'T REMEMBER IT AT ALL !!) its a permanent "scar" to remind you that YOUR Jewish ( look at whats happening to Jews they are saying they don't need the brit mila to remind them of the Jewishness , bull crap !!!)

    Judaism isn't supposed to be a comfortable to the one who keeps it , Judaism doesn't conform to you , you need to conform to it !!

  54. Charlie Hall says:

    Where did all the anti-circumcision trolls come from?

  55. Natan Epstein Now hold on just a minute. You're about to get a forum ****storm if you think that saying "You can't stick your nose into this conversation" is going to win your viewpoint. Second of all, this closed-mindedness about Jews living in Germany violates Godwin's Law. Simply put – Referencing Nazi Germany automatically concedes your point, because you lack the relative knowledge to stay *ON TOPIC*. You look young. Learn from this, because you just discovered how nobody is going to pay attention to you anymore unless it's to counter you out of pity.

  56. Daniel Fialk says:


  57. Natan Epstein Now hold on just a minute. You're about to get a forum ****storm if you think that saying "You can't stick your nose into this conversation" is going to win your viewpoint. Second of all, this closed-mindedness about Jews living in Germany violates Godwin's Law. Simply put – Referencing Nazi Germany automatically concedes your point, because you lack the relative knowledge to stay *ON TOPIC*. You look young. Learn from this, because you just discovered how nobody is going to pay attention to you anymore unless it's to counter you out of pity.

  58. It's called Genital Mutilation, not circumcision.

  59. Jason Maas says:

    All babies are born atheists. Leave them alone so they can decide for themselves what parts of their bodies they want to keep, cut, tattoo or whatever else in the name of religion. That is the only stance consistent with modern society.

  60. Jason Maas says:

    If you were a baby having the most sensitive part of his body cut off in some strange religious ritual you had no understanding of, I'm absolutely certain that the person you'd consider a "nut" would be the man with the blade cutting your penis. If you were an adult and someone tried to cut part of your penis off against your will, hey would *definitely* be considered a nut, even criminal. Babies want to be held, fed, loved, and cared for, not cut. And they deserve that simple right.

  61. Jay Lapidus says:

    Well, Charlie, maybe the 2 trolls that just found you will answer your question.

  62. Steve says:

    Note my comments above about all the intactivist nuts parroting the same Ha’aretz article that cites a non-scientific “informal” study.

  63. Ari Fuld says:

    How much ignorance and anti Jewish tradition can there be from once post. To the Gentiles here, I have nothing to say to you. Not because I disrespect you but we have a LONG history of you not understanding me and my religion. I am just happy this time you are bashing me online and not with pogroms or worse.

    For those Jews or Israelis who have sacrificed their life for the cause of canceling, stripping or prove irrelevance of Jewish law and tradition, you will lose.

    In every generation there have been Jews who have tried with all their might to bash Judaism. Some of those Jews over the generations sometimes did a better job and with more effort than the Gentiles who have despised us forever. However, unfortunately for you, we have survived and they are no where to be found ( Maybe in the Haifa and Tel Aviv Circumcision resource centers).

    Lynn it always surprises me when people take time out to write and have absolutely ZERO knowledge on the matter they are commenting about.
    The first mention of Mohel is in Tractate of Shabbat page 156 A! The act of circumcision is mentioned in the Tanach (Genesis 17:9-14) as removal of the foreskin not a snip as you comfortably translated using your comfort dictionary.

    You all can disagree with the Torah but don't even attempt to try to change what it says to match your comfort zone.
    In terms of female mutilation? YES! That is mutilation! Why because the definition of right and wrong for a Jewish person is defined by G-d not by society or Lynn's or the circumcision resources opinions.
    I know you all think it is ridiculous for me to believe in morals from above BUT in your world where there is no GOD I don't really have to care what you think since it's all opinions anyway!
    Personally I am more frightened of a world that leaves the definition of morality up to man. A world that 60 years ago calls abortion murder and today says it's pro choice! All in the name of humanity of course.Then again since it is Germany that is saving humanity in this case I don't think I have to explain just how dangerous it can be to leave moral definitions up to man.

  64. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason Maas — Kindly back your claim with some real facts or take it back. What do you mean by "many"? More than 3?

  65. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason Maas — The reason is that boys' "genital mutilation" is sanctioned by my religion, in fact, stressed urgently by it. There are several areas which I cannot practice without it. Now, sinec the vast, vast, mega-vast majority of Jewish religious circumcisions result in no harm whatsoever to the child, it is my inalienable right in any democratic country to practice it.

    There is NO sanctioning of female circumcision anywhere in the Koran. So by now you've used my website to spread two lies: one about "many Israelis" opting against circumcision, and now about the Muslim religion promoting FC.

  66. Yori Yanover says:

    How about You shall not murder — it stems from a profoundly religious decree. You're in for dumping that one, too, Cyneva? In Jewish law the two commandments — circumcise your male child and do not murder are based on the same God and the same book. Why should I rely on YOUR judgment as to which of them to obey and which to discard? What right have you to dictate to ME what aspects of my religion to uphold?

    That's cultural colonialism on a grand scale.

  67. Jason Maas says:

    Yori, as an Arabic speaker and one well versed in the Islamic religion and the Koran, I know full well and good that the *Koran* does not condone *either* male or female circumcision. That rationale is found outside of the Koran. Yet you will find that it is just as strictly adhered to and sited by Muslims who insist, as do Jews, that circumcision is mandatory for boys (and for girls according to those who justify female circumcision). I'm the first person to disagree with them and point out the fallacy of that "logic." They disagree, though, and the result is that almost all Muslim boys and a majority of Muslim girls in countries like Egypt get cut.

    As to your point about the number of Israelis not circumcising, I provided a link to one news item that offered numbers. You do the math. It's certainly more than 3. Maybe more than 3%. I don't think it's disingenuous to call that "many" when you multiply that by the entire Israeli population.

    And again, to whatever degree *you* find that circumcision is necessary for *your* religious practice, *you* are more than welcome to have yourself circumcised. NO 8-day old infant, however, has any clue about religion, "god", scripture etc. You have no right to permanently alter the body of an unconsenting child in the name of a religion they have no notion of. You can perform whatever semantic games and tired rationalisations you want to try and justify the unjustifiable. Saying "It says so in the Bible" is probably the oldest justification for oppression and abuse there is. When reason fails, there's always scripture. Thank you for proving my point.

  68. Stephen Leavitt says:

    The like being called "Intactivists".
    They've got an entire Aryan-like cult going on.

  69. Natan Epstein says:

    BAMMMMM ….. WELL said …. BIG LIKE !

  70. Jason Maas says:

    Yori, the Torah also commands us to kill those who work on the sabbath, adulterers, etc. etc. etc. There's no arguing with it. Not at all. It's all there in black ink. No Exceptions. Later rabbis were able to lawyer things around and to find/make exceptions, but it doesn't change the fact that those laws are in there. So if you're all-or-nothing about it, you have to acknowledge the rules you don't like as well as the ones you do.

    In the end, we ALL pick and choose which rules to follow, and which ones to conveniently ignore. And that's OK, because we're adults and it's our right to make such choices. Again, though, you have no right to make permanent, life-altering, body-altering decisions for unconsenting children who cannot make those choices, at least where religion is concerned. That's not "cultural colonialism." It's just fair. It's protecting the inalienable right of the Individual to make that decision for him or herself. Yes, I know it's awfully post-Enlightenment of me to invoke such notions as "rights", "the individual", and "choice." But we live in a world based on civil society and secular laws now, not Bronze Age superstition.

  71. Jason Maas says:

    Most of the intactivists I know are Jews. I know you don't consider us "real Jews" but I've got news for you. You're not "real Jews" either, at least according to someone who's more frum than you. And there's *always* someone who is. It's like a fun little pecking order. You can berate non-cutting Jews, someone else can berate you for shaving your beard, someone will judge them in turn for driving on shabbos, etc. etc. and so on. That's how you create a society based on fear, judgment, and oppression instead of one based on morality, reason, choice, and individuality.

  72. Natan Epstein says:

    But here is the difference , if i have a baby born into my life he is my son and i need to educate him and my education is one of religion and that's how i will educate my kids because i believe in religion (THAT YOU CANT TAKE AWAY FROM ME !!) , whether you like it or not i will be circumcision my baby's god willing and i will do it with pride !!

  73. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason — If we took everything you know about the difference between the written Torah and the Oral Tradition, it would make for a handsome postage stamp.

    I don't know where you live, but if it's in the U.S., then your system is the largest slave holding system on the planet, with close to 3 million citizens in incarcerated.

    You also live in a civilization where 45 million people are barred from medical facilities for inability to pay.

    You also live in a country where annually 55 thousand people are murdered by their neighbors.

    You live in a a country that incinerated 100 thousand Iraqis for a crime committed by 19 Saudis.

    Way to go, secular civilization. Looks to me like you could stand a couple religious notes about being made in the image of God and being your brother's keeper.

    Every one who was looking to expand their ego-based agenda, went after religious Jews first. Because we have the chutzpah to look you in the eye and say, No, you may not.

    Our rabbis didn't lawyer anything, they simply operate within a brilliant system of updating and matching the written law to the changing technological, economic, and political circumstances. What's superstitious is your thin understanding of an intellectual effort lasting 3500 years and still going. You have nothing that even comes close.

  74. Yori Yanover says:

    Like it or not, children's rights are governed by their competent guardians. Children are not permitted to make those choices on their own, especially at the tender age of 8 days.

    I am responsible for my child's religious needs as I see them. If you believe my religious practice is illegal, file a complaint. But what happened in Germany was that the court completely ignored the German constitution when he made his arbitrary decision. He will be reversed by a higher court, most likely on the federal level.

    But if parents are not endowed with the right to make ALL moral decisions for their children, who is? The state? Really? I'd rather have Lord of the Flies…

  75. Yori Yanover says:

    We have a dual freaking posting system, to avoid spam. Also, some comments stay on Facebook and don't migrate here.

  76. Jason Maas says:

    Yori, your rights to govern the religious life of your child only go so far. They are not absolute. Try killing your child for working on the sabbath and then justifying it with scripture to see how far that gets you. Or try selling your daughter to her husband the way the Torah lays out. Yes, you are right that, right now, parents do have the right to genitally mutilate sons. They do not have the right to do so to daughters even though, as I pointed out earlier, people who genitally mutilate girls feel just as religiously obligated to do so as those who do it to boys. If you have any doubts, try banning female circumcision in Egypt. You will hear *all* the same arguments in favour of that as you are making in defense of male circumcision. Indeed, you might be able to learn a few things.

  77. Jason Maas says:

    Oh, I agree with everything you say about the US. But the US is not a secular democracy. It's a racist theocracy masquerading as democracy. The US is what happens when all the religious superstition you believe becomes rationalised by supposedly secular law. That's why *every single* piece of progress made anywhere in the developed world, including in Israel where I have also lived, has gone *against* what it says in the Bible, not in congruence with it. The abolition of slavery, women's rights, Gay rights, animal rights, workers' rights, etc. etc. are all due to civil, secular society, not anything from scripture. Yes, thankfully a few enlightened rabbis can be credited with some Enlightenment thinking as well. And they often based some of that enlightenment on scripture, which is fair because there is a little enlightenment in there. But then we're back to following some scripture at the expense of other scripture. No one follows it all, thankfully, and the most humane societies on the planet are the ones who have largely abandoned it all.

  78. Jason Maas says:

    Educate him all you like. Just don't cut off part of his penis. Damn, how hard is that to understand. If you can't see the difference between *reading* scripture and doing *everything* it says, then you probably shouldn't be trusted with either a Torah or a child in your hands.

  79. Jason Maas says:

    Natan, why not leave the choice up to him? I mean, why not? If you educate him, as you say, and if he agrees with you, then wouldn't even be *more* powerful and important for him to decide for himself to be cut? And if he decides it's not important to him, then you can say you did your best but that truly the choice was between him and god.

  80. Natan Epstein says:

    Because as i said that i have faith , and my faith commands me (regardless of what you think is right or wrong ) to commit the circumcision on my baby when he is 8 days old (the reason for him being 8 days old is because he cannot feel anything in that age or remember it and to give time for the mother to regenerate her energy ) , now i don't need to explain to you my religious practices i have every right to educate my kids and preform harmless acts (there is no harm in circumcision ) , im not imposing on you any of these laws only on my new born!!

  81. Jason Maas says:

    Where do you get the misinformation that he "cannot feel anything"? That is totally false. In fact, the latest research shows that babies likely feel *more* pain than adults and have even *more* sensitive nervous systems. Again, though, you are explaining *your* religious beliefs. Your child will not have those beliefs. You are saying that you don't want anyone imposing their beliefs on you, but you are imposing your beliefs on another person.

  82. Hugh Intactive says:

    Stephen Leavitt · "Aryan-like cult"? Nonsense. The Intactivist movement is mainly fuelled by men who bitterly resent that they were circumcised before they could resist, whether for religion or quack medicine.

  83. Natan Epstein says:

    because i dont feel it anymore or ever , I DON'T REMEMBER MY PENIS BEING CHOPPED OFF AND NO ONE ELSE REMEMBERS IT AS WELL !!!

    your just here to put your beliefs on us , to force us to think like you !!
    i don't think that it hurts , i dont see eye to eye with you on this matter , sorry go find somewhere else to force your views on !!

  84. Jason Maas says:

    This whole discussion reminds me a lot of the debate about spanking. It used to be normal for parents, teachers, police, and any adult to have the right to spank and even beat children. And many (most?) people who did so defended that practice with scripture. Now the rights of children *not* to be beaten are more important in many places than the rights of adults to beat children. Even the rights of parents are being limited to prevent them from spanking children, or at least doing so severely. Society has progressed. ALL the same arguments we hear about circumcision we heard about spanking. Thankfully, despite the cries of "persecution" and "parental rights" that we heard with spanking, we are moving in the right direction to protect children from bodily harm. Circumcision is simply the next issue where this same logic is being applied.

  85. Yori Yanover says:

    Austin Finney — Ge. 17:12 is where the ancient book mentions (*&&ING WORD ABOUT CIRCUMCISION quite specifically.

  86. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason Maas — I'm not responsible for Muslims and whatever they do to their daughters. In both my home countries, the U.S. and Israel, male C. is legal, Female C. is illegal. Both work for me.

    I won't begrudge you if you try to start a drive to change the law. But getting a judge to write new law in one afternoon is counter productive. It will just be reversed.

  87. Yori Yanover says:

    Do a similar ceremony for shoplifting and we're even. Baruch ata hashem elokeinu melech haolam who will accept our transgressions and let us walk away with this lovely piece of jewelry so we will beautify (enter Hebrew name) ________ in His honor.

    Works with candy bars, too.

  88. Yori Yanover says:

    I didn't see your link, but if it's to the Haaretz story, we really should base our debate on something a bit more reliable and less biased.

    Here's a quote from a Ynet story (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3333564,00.html)

    Dr. Schenker presented data which show that almost all men in Israel have been circumcised, apart from a small percentage among adult new immigrants.

    "In a country like Israel, in which about 100 percent of men have been circumcised, there is great significance in stressing the message that circumcision reduces the risk of being infected with HIV, but does not fully guarantee that. One must not be complacent."

  89. Yori Yanover says:

    As an advocate of non-violent parenting and a parent myself who never raised my hand on my child, I beg to differ. The decision to spank reflects a failure on the part of a parent to establish a strong communication with their child and the result is frustration. Perhaps a case could be made, according to some, that when it comes to imprinting the notion of grave danger, the spanking improves a child's memory. I doubt it very much. There is also a view that one may only hit a child if it is done without anger. That's also bull****, as far as I'm concerned, but I can see the point.

    There's also the fact that parents who don't hit their children can be just as baffled about what to do with them, how to get them to do stuff.

    All of that goes into the art of communicating with our children. It has nothing to do with a commandment from God.

    I will grant you that without the divine decree, circumcision is one barbaric thing to do to a child. I would not have dome it on my own, that's for sure/ What am I, a monster?

    But I accept that this is a huge mitzvah from God, and on that basis I uphold it. I think that if someone does it to their child without believing in God, they should see a psychiatrist. But to stop me with the power of the state from fulfilling God's command is simple fascism.

  90. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    My mother felt that way when she had my brother's genitals mutilated in the name of her religion – by all accounts, the mohel did a great job…unfortunately, my mother went to her grave without a a goodbye from my brother since he refused to speak to her after he discovered what she had done to him for a deity he doesn't believe in. She was pushing him to do it to his son and when he researched it, he was furious. She refused to see the error in her thinking and continued to defend what she had done. She never met her 3 grandsons and never saw my brother again. The information is out there, your children will know what was done to them and what they lost in the name of your religion…

  91. Leah Urso says:

    Israeli doctors are helping Africans learn about circumcisian t

  92. Natan Epstein says:

    Dee Resnick Forlano all i hear here is antisemitic crap in the name of liberalism , this is a faith who i had to have the operation and my kids will have it as well , you have no right to tell me what to do !!

  93. Leah Urso says:

    To help prevent AIDS. A Jew enters the covenant through circumcism

  94. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason — You continue to misrepresent the truth. No one is berating Jews who do not circumcise their sons. The problem here is that it is the other way around altogether — your side is trying to keep ME from following my divine command. It's not about what I think about a fellow Jews or vice versa. It's about an instrument of the state turning on my religious practice because it doesn't complement its sensibilities. That's the very essence of fascistic and colonialist behavior.

  95. Jason Maas says:

    Ah yes, "antisemitism." How is it "antisemitic" to want to give Jewish boys the same rights as Jewish girls not to have parts of our penises cut off? How is it "antisemitic" to argue that Jews should have the simple right to choose how we will celebrate our *own* religious beliefs without having things done to us by parents, family, and religious leaders? It's not "antisemitic", Natan. We're talking about simple, basic human rights here and freedom of choice. *Your* rights stop where the body of another person begins. That's not "antisemitic." That's reality.

  96. Yori Yanover says:

    I have absolutely nothing to say about it, other than there's a day and night difference between a Torah mandated divine command, spelled out precisely in both the written and the oral Torah, and an Africasn and Arab practice that dates back to well before the Koran. One is an established religious custom, the other a superstition.

  97. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    Anti Semitic re herring – I'm Jewish! My brother was raised Jewish and mutilated Jewish. He agrees that my parents didn't have the right to do this to him. It's the main reason he left the religion. He has trouble with a religion that requires a blood sacrifice be preformed against a non consenting person. He's right. So Natan – How many of the other 613 mitvahs that apply to you and are possible without the temple do you preform – or is it only the ones that are convenient? Like the ones that don't harm you, but harm others? Do you still stone woman that you suspect of adultery? If not, don't be a hypocrite and stop mutilating babies and calling it religious. You don't get to pick and choose.

  98. Jason Maas says:

    That's what is commonly called a "distinction without a difference." Your "divine command" is what everyone who hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid sees as superstition.

  99. Natan Epstein says:

    you are an Otto anti Semite because your taking one experiences and throwing it on everybody else , and to me doing all the mitzvot i do what i can as much as i can , i for one am totally fine with the brit being done to me , im proud of it … im comfortable with it …

  100. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    hmmm…no beard….simple one that might cause you some discomfort and you don't even do that – I call hypocrisy. Debate lost. Insert coins to play again

  101. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    oh…and not Otto – I didn't convert – I just stopped

  102. Jason Maas says:

    Yori, I think cutting the genitalia of an unconsenting child in the name of a faith they have no belief in is the very *essence* of fascism and colonialism. I know *you* don't see it that way; oppressors never see oppression that way until someone, usually the Sate these days, steps in and says, "Stop!." Like I pointed out before, EVERY piece of progress made in any area of human rights and social justice in the last few centuries has entailed limiting the rights of some in the interest of others. For better or for worse, when women get more rights, men lose some. When Gays get more rights, straights lose some. When children get rights, parents lose some as well. EVERY time a vulnerable population receives protections and rights they deserve, those oppressing them lose the ability to do the oppressing they have enjoyed for ages — usually sanctioned by some religion or cultural norm. Circumcision, like spanking, wife beating, Gay-bashing, or slave-owning is simply the next issue that society is having this debate about. Feel free to join the right side of history any time. The future is waiting. Or you can stay camped out with the wife-beaters and slave-owners.

  103. Natan Epstein says:

    where did you read that there is a need to grow a beard ?? LOL now i can see the self hate , you see religious Jews as people who where beards long noses and horns coming out of their heads … pathetic !

  104. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    It's one of the 613 – do you not even know them? I didn't dictate or assume the beard – your god did. Read please…I'm done being baited. I can't discuss the rules with you if you don't even know them. A simple google search for "613 mitvah" will help educate you about your own religion. I'm sorry you don't actually understand why you do the things you do.

  105. Natan Epstein says:

    marxists and anarchists (like democrats) believe that the definition of "right and just" is what they do. Therefore, everything they do is acceptable…and anything they disagree with is unacceptable.

  106. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    Here's a link – in case you're not sure how to do this – http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm see # 345

  107. Jason Maas says:

    And just like you, the Taliban or the heredim spitting on young girls they think are dressed immodestly think everything they do is ordered by "god."

  108. Steve Clow says:

    This isn't about singling out religions, this is about protecting children. I would think protecting Jewish children too would be a good thing. The court is considering the rights of it's youngest citizens, so they can grow up to be their own man, and a Jewish man who is intact is still a Jewish man. That can never change, no matter what mark is "missing" from him. This is the best possible decision for all, and I'm happy all my Jewish brothers and sisters can adapt to a happier future for all.

    Shalom friends.

  109. Natan Epstein says:

    But there is a majority of religious Jews in Israel who are against them …. Now there is no harm in my brit , my mohel did a great job and i don't feel any pain or uncomfortable experiences actually the opposite i actually cant see my self with foreskin , it disgusts me ..

  110. Dee Resnick Forlano says:

    I'm thrilled for you – does that lessen my brother's pain? Does it give him back a valuable part of his body? You have no idea what a baby is going to want as an adult. Don't ever presume you do.

  111. Lynn Reed says:

    The above was written & sent to us from a rabbi in 1984
    Stealing jewelry or candy bars does not alter a boy for life!!!

  112. Natan Epstein says:

    oy ah broch you just dont get it , you go back to the beginning ………..no it doesn't lessen his experiences , its tragic i never said it isn't but it isn't a statistic that can prove why its bad for everybody … this is a faith …. most kids born to parents who gave them correct faith education will follow the parents foot steps (it dosnt matter if its brain washing etc … because you brain wash your kids to letting them dress however they want ….. you teach your kids that they cant leave high school because they need to get a dagree because you have decided that right ? what if they dont want to go to school ? )

    mister hypocrite shhhh !

    im going to shape the way my kids think because i know they will appreciate it …( most kids do !)

  113. Jason Maas says:

    Natan, you lost 15 to 20 sq.inches of sensitive, nerve-filled tissue from the most sensitive part of your body. That's about the same amount that girls lose in female circumcision. Many men lose the frenulum when they are circumcised. That is one of the most sensitive parts of a male's anatomy. It is gone on many circumcised men. You don't know that though, you don't know what you are missing because you lost it when you were 8 days old. You have adapted, but you are still missing part of your body.

  114. Steve Clow says:

    Lynn Reed Not to mention conscience of right and wrong is something you can teach without amputation, religious or otherwise. My religion taught me a couple moral lessons, but it was the guidance of my parents that influenced my morality. Being cut wasn't what did it for me. A doctor coerced my parents to make that decision, when the decision should have been mine to refuse or accept.

  115. Lynn Reed says:

    Natan Epstein "BUT in your world where there is no GOD"? Really because I question what has been done for 3500 years (which is debatable) then there is no GOD in my world? Rabbis have always taught to question everything, which is the hallmark of Judaism that leaves room for growth and change. Well it is time to stop cutting baby boys and it is clearly time for you to look at why you feel the need to harm a child to be a JEW!

  116. Lynn Reed says:

    Yori Yanover no one is telling you how to practice your faith, just stop cutting baby boys, and let them decide if they wish to follow that mitzvah & choose to practice when they are of age.

  117. Lynn Reed says:

    I wonder if the Mohelim fanatic "trolls" are in full force here too. Yori is that your problem? You losing business (Brit Milahs) over this?

    Just wondering as there is also alot of money to be lost in the catering business too & usually things that people are so adamant about losing involve money too….just wondering.
    Baby seal clubbers had issues with that ban as well..they lost jobs!

    You see I have no dog in this race, only baby boys who grow up to be men who are scarred and cannot have normal sex lives, and all because they needed their "papers"

    I am so sad for my husband that he cannot feel what he would had he not been cut!

    Also cutting has been proven to interfere with breastfeeding, which is most important to the health and development of human beings.

  118. Jason Maas says:

    Oh, I have no doubt that, just like all the other pieces of social progress I've mentioned, cases about circumcision will go back and forth for ages. The debate will rage on. But that's the point. What is accomplished in courts and through laws is only one small part of it. It's what happens in the court of public opinion, and all the little debates that happen among parents and families that matter just as much. And that's where we're winning, too. Not all the time, and not nearly enough for my satisfaction. But enough. And it's only the beginning.

    The world is changing, Yori. It is becoming less and less acceptable to do things things to unconsenting people in the name of religion. It is becoming less and less acceptable to inflict pain on children to punish or "educate" or indoctrinate them. It is becoming more common to limit the rights of parents and priests in the name of protecting the rights of the vulnerable. For every few steps forward there is always a step or two back. But progress marches forward nonetheless.

  119. Your barbaric religion just lost it's ability to mutilate children. Deal with it.

  120. Lynn Reed says:

    Yori Yanover Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu, Melekh ha’olam, shehekianu, v’kimanu, v’higianu lazman hazeh…means Blessed art Thou, oh Lrd- our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season. A SEASON where our sons are being left as The Creator made them! Baruch Hashem & Mazel Tov

  121. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : for the past hours, the debate has been raging, yet there is one salient point that has been made time and again and has not been addressed:

    With regards to 'Religious Freedom', It is illogical to argue that ritual infant circumcision is defensible under that clause. The reason being is that the infant has just entered the world and cannot 'choose' his (or her) religion.

    What the court is saying is that the child has a right to bodily integrity AND they are upholding religious freedom as it is the body of the boy who is being cut in the name of religion: not the parents. That boy (and many have IRL) could grow up and resent what his parents did to him and also decide that he doesn't want to be Jewish (or Muslim, or whatever other faith). Sure, he can declare that, but the scar and damage from circumcision is irreversible.

    This point continues to be ignored by others: that 'freedom of religion' does not extend beyond your own body: therefore you have no right to exercise your freedom of religion on another person, especially if it has consequences which are permanent (even if it is your own child)

  122. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : for the past hours, the debate has been raging, yet there is one salient point that has been made time and again and has not been addressed:

    With regards to 'Religious Freedom', It is illogical to argue that ritual infant circumcision is defensible under that clause. The reason being is that the infant has just entered the world and cannot 'choose' his (or her) religion.

    What the court is saying is that the child has a right to bodily integrity AND they are upholding religious freedom as it is the body of the boy who is being cut in the name of religion: not the parents. That boy (and many have IRL) could grow up and resent what his parents did to him and also decide that he doesn't want to be Jewish (or Muslim, or whatever other faith). Sure, he can declare that, but the scar and damage from circumcision is irreversible.

    This point continues to be ignored by others: that 'freedom of religion' does not extend beyond your own body: therefore you have no right to exercise your freedom of religion on another person, especially if it has consequences which are permanent (even if it is your own child)

  123. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : Your questions are an attack on the poster in an attempt to deflect the points made, and you have, up until now, ignored the point: Freedom of religion is valid, but only to the boundaries of one's own body. If my religion said that I had to cut off my child's left pinkie finger, do you consider that a valid argument?

    Naturally parents will teach their children morals. This is (we hope, depending on the morals) a good thing. When a child grows up, he can change his mind. However, if his body has been irreversibly altered, then that is something that cannot be changed.

    Routine or Ritual Infant Circumcision is a violation of human rights and a violation of the child's right to Freedom of Religion. Please phrase your arguments further to address these points.

  124. Jason Maas says:

    Circumcision does not stop AIDS. The United States has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the developed world. It also has the highest rate of circumcision. For much of the 20th century, until about 1970, almost all baby boys born in the US were circumcised. The rate is still almost half in many places, maybe higher. That means the vast majority of sexually active, adult American men are circumcised. And yet no benefits where HIV is concerned. It could very well be that circumcision *contributes* to AIDS. In any case, if there were any benefits for circumcision, you would see them in the US. Instead, the US has the highest HIV rates, highest STD rates, highest infant mortality of any western nation. I would say the US is a great example NOT to follow. Watch what they do and do the OPPOSITE.

  125. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover ; why do you attack Jason on the basis of where he lives? No society is perfect:

    please address the arguments made with regards to freedom of religion and the right to bodily integrity (This law is not against circumcision at all: just against circumcision on minors who are getting no say in the matter…)

  126. Permanently altering another person's body for your religious beliefs is not acceptable. Forcing someone to undergo a surgery they don't want, need, or as for it not acceptable. Your son can get circumcised when he is an informed and consenting adult if he wishes.

  127. Are you aware that Judaism promotes female circumcision? In the event of a person having ambiguous genitalia (Hebrew: tumtum), circumcision is required. That means circumcision of a female is sanctioned. Would you circumcise your daughter, Yori? Your religion demands it.

  128. Yori Yanover says:

    In other words, you take a Talmudic reference to a case which appears in less than 1 percent of the population, and about which there is disagreement and the mutilation is far from being the only remedy — you ignore all those issues, present female circumcision as some mitzvah and throw it in to win the debate.

    That's some ambiguous genitalia you have there, darling.

  129. Yori Yanover says:

    Laurel — What law? You are misrepresenting a judge's decision which will surely be reversed by a higher court on constitutional grounds as if it were a law. There is no law in Germany against circumcision, only an activist judge's playing fast and furious with an appeal from the prosecution.

  130. Yori Yanover says:

    Jason Maas — That's fine, I'm not asking you to follow me. I only expect the state to respect my age-old religious practice. Especially a state that has so much to atone for when it comes to Jews.

  131. Yori Yanover says:

    Laurel Wing Robertson — You are wrong on the extent of parental rights. A parent is empowered to make many life altering decisions for their children.

    Inoculation is one area where parents are being called to actually ask a doctor to inject viruses or bacteria into their children's bodies.

    We also decide on a myriad other medical issues, including, for instance, blood infusion, which some parents object to on religious grounds. Resuscitate? Take heroic medical action? These are all areas where parents are required to make life and death, and obviously life altering choices for their child.

    What angers you is not that parents can and must do this, but that Jewish parents are permitted to decided about removing their child's foreskin. And I'm glad we piss you off, because it means we're doing something right.

  132. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover: Still waiting on your answer… and try to stick to the topic of freedom of religion (for the individual being cut)… and try to not pull the Holocaust card this time. This is something that has nothing to do with the holocaust. You don't see Gays or other groups persecuted by the Nazi Regime always saying "You're against what I'm doing so that means you're just like the Nazi's". That's a deflection against the argument at hand. And it would be nice if someone would just simply address the one issue without trying to muddle it by attacking the other person by accusing them with no real basis of being a bigot or guilty of hate crimes…

    The people calling for an end to this practice are all for upholding *your* rights to practice your religion and your rights to bodily integrity and human rights.

    Do you really not see why the ritual or routine infant circumcision is a direct violation of these rights of the child in question?

  133. This is genital mutilation no matter what your fanatical belief system says. If I am ever a witness to a doctor cutting a baby's penis I'm going to take the knife from him and stab him until he stops moving.

  134. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Yori, Natan.

    Keep riling these guys up. We've gotten a few good thousand pageviews just from them refreshing the page.

    Snip snip.

  135. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Yori, Natan.

    Keep riling these guys up. We've gotten a few good thousand pageviews just from them refreshing the page.

    Snip snip.

  136. Natan Epstein says:


  137. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Ad Hominem Abusive, Stephen Leavitt. If you can't address the issue directly, please refrain from making a personal attack. It's bad form.

  138. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    And does nothing towards actually invalidating any argument made thus far.

  139. Jason Maas says:

    I guess we have a real dilemma, don't we: We have one group of adults who really, really want to cut the private parts of unconsenting baby boys and another group of adults who just really don't think that's a good idea. Looks like a tie. I guess the only fair thing to do is ask the kids themselves. They can decide when they're old enough.

  140. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : This particular ruling is not Law, however the laws that RIC is in violation of is the right to freedom of Religion (the Baby's right to freedom of Religion: the parent's and everyone else's rights on this END where another person's body begins) and the right to bodily integrity (as cited in the ruling).

    It is also in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 2, 3, 5, 6 & 18. This international Declaration has similar rulings in Domestic Law.

    But the fact remains: irregardless of my poor wording with regards to Law vs. Ruling, you still have failed to address the question I have posed time and again: I (and everyone else here, I expect) would be much appreciative if you would stop trying to distract us from that question and simply answer it. Thank you.

  141. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Austin Finney : Perhaps another choice of words would be more appropriate. The Religion is not Barbaric. Particular practices within the religion may be labled as being barbaric or cruel, however they hardly define the entire faith, and trying to attack everything as opposed to the specific points of grievences does nothing to change things: it only colours you a bigot (which you may not be: in which case, please don't say things like that?). Cheers.

  142. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Nothing like riling up some fanatics to boost your pageviews

  143. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : Misleading Vividness (in regards to your reply to Lynn) Try again.

  144. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover : You're changing topics again. You still have not addressed freedom of Religion of the Child.

    Your last statement includes:

    Red Herring (Innoculation or other medical issues)

    The fallacy of Division (claiming that parents *must* do this: which is also containing the fallacy of 'Bandwagon')

    You also appeal to tradition, fear and belief.

    Begging the question


    Ad Hominem ("What angers you is that…") Don't put words in my mouth and then try to attack me with your Strawman (congratulations: you got two fallacies for the price of one!)

    For the sixth or seventh time now, answer the original question posed, Yori.

  145. Yori Yanover says:

    Laurel — I answered several times already.

    As a parent I am deposited with the power of making life and death decisions about my children.

    I decide whether they should receive inoculations from diseases, which and how much.

    I decide about all their medical treatments, I sign wavers for their doctors.

    I decide what and how much food they receive. I decide which adult to trust to watch them.

    Virtually every single day I am called to make crucial decisions for my children, which I do in keeping with my entire construct of culture and morality.

    The state trusts me with these choices and turns to me whenever my child's life has reached such a turn where my authority is required.

    You and the state court do not have the right to question my values, as long as my competence is not being questioned. To impose your values over mine would be fascism.

    Now, if you believe that I'm harming my child, you go to the police and complain. But what the judge did was ban an age old religious practice because of his cultural preference. That is a miscarriage of his duties. A lower court already decided that the Muslim doctor was not to blame for the botched circumcision. The judge went ahead and ruled not on the facts of the original case, but on exterior facts.

    That's not how appeals work in democratic systems.

    I have no idea what articles you were citing, but I'm sure they were not written with the banning of religious circumcision in mind. That much intellectual honesty I'm sure you possess.

  146. Charlie Hall says:

    Islam does not require female "circumcision".

  147. Charlie Hall says:

    I see that the anti-circumcision extremists are using arguments that are identical to those of many anti-abortion extremists. No surprise given that the Children's Rights argument used by the German court is based on the same logic as the Fetal Rights that Germany uses to ban most abortions. Jews should be wary of the anti-abortion movement.

  148. Charlie Hall says:

    The claim has been made that there is no medical benefit to circumcision. While brit milah is not done for medical benefit, the claim is false:


  149. Yori Yanover says:

    Laurel — A child does not have freedom of religion independent of his parents. He also does not have freedom of movement or freedom of assembly without parental consent. A child, by definition, is a product in the process of becoming, and until it is recognized as valid, the parent makes all his grand scale decisions.

    A child cannot have freedom of religion. Being a child is defined as living under the authority of another.

  150. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Charlie Hall : Islam also does not require male circumcision. Circumcision is not in the Qur'an, but in the Hadith and is based on old testament law. There are passages in the Qur'an which some Muslims say contradict the Hadith on Circumcision.

  151. Yori Yanover says:

    If a divine document were not involved I would probably have endorsed your sentiment. But, alas, God is on the side of the cutters, expressing His will in so many words, and the ritual has gone uninterrupted for close to 3500 years. That ruling in Cologne will not last a month.

  152. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Medical treatments are not the same as ritual and/or routine infant circumcision. There is no medical value in the practice. Therefore it is not a valid comparison.

    And you are again distracting from the argument that the child has a right to choose his own religion, regardless of how he is raised. Amputating a piece of his body in the name of religion is a violation of his right to freedom of religion.

    Also: children are not our property to do with as we wish. Indeed, we try to do the best we can for them: but time and again, parents have had their childen removed from their care, or they have been charged because they let their children get tattoos, subjected them to painful things in the name of 'beauty' etc. Grown children have also sued their parents and/or doctors/mohels for performing this procedure without their consent.

    The articles I cited are very easily referenced. Just Google the universal declaration of human rights and you can read them for yourself. You make an assumption that they are not relevant without even investigating… How can you be sure of anything? tsk tsk.

  153. Jason Maas says:

    No, my sentiment still applies. After all, by the admission of even those who subscribe to the "divine document", the covenant of the bris amounts to a contract. The German ruling simply states, like all good post-Enlightenment ruling, that the terms of the contract need to be approved by the Individual at the heart of the issue, namely the child. Since ALL contract law in every modern society affirms that children must be mature enough to consent to any contractual agreement, it makes sense to wait for the child in question to reach maturity before the terms of the contract are acted upon. The logic is infallible and there is ample precedent. Regardless of whichever direction the next ruling goes, ultimately all modern societies will side with this court. Infant circumcision will be illegal in every developed nation within a generation or two. Todah l'El.

  154. Jason Maas says:

    Charlie, while there are good debates to be had about when life begins and when a fetus might be considered a human being with rights, there are *no* pro-choice advocates that have ever gone so far as to say that a newborn infant isn't fully human. None. If you can find someone on the pro-choice side who says that an 8-day old infant doesn't deserve rights, please point them out to me so that I, as a pro-choice advocate, can condemn them, just as I condemn you. You are saying that an 8-day old infant does not have rights to his body. If you think that's somehow "pro-choice" then you are far more dangerous to the pro-choice cause then any run-of-the-mill antiabortionist.

  155. Charlie Hall says:

    Jason, not only have you just fallen for the ecological fallacy, you failed to understand the research on circumcision and HIV transmission. In fact, circumcision has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by heterosexual sex. In the US, HIV has mostly been transmitted by homosexual sex and by needle sharing by drug addicts. It is entirely possible that the high rates of circumcision prevented HIV from spreading wildly to heterosexuals in the US. Not for nothing did AIDS activists join with the religious community to fight San Francisco's proposed circumcision ban (which a judge kicked off the ballot before the vote).

  156. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Wow. My reply to you disappeared. Coincidence?

    If you had no idea what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is, you should use the power of Google, and not assume anything until you actually know what you're talking about. Your assumption would be wrong.

  157. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    1. God said to do it and that is the bottom line.
    2. circumcision is widely recognized as reducing the rates of sexually transmitted disease. 2005 article in Pediatric Journal reports "Estimates of the population-attributable risk suggested that universal neonatal circumcision would have reduced rates of sexually transmitted infection in this cohort by 48.2%. "
    3. another research article published in Pediatrics Journal in 2000 states "Our results confirm the highly protective effect of newborn circumcision against IPC and the less protective effect against CIS." IPC stands for Invasive Penile Cancer and CIS stands for Carcinoma in Situ.
    4. Africa has recogized that circumcision reduces the rate of HIV transmission and is trying to train the medical community on how to perform it.

    I hope this encourages Jews living in Germany to make Aliyah!

  158. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Stephen Leavitt : Godwin's Law. You lose. Next.

  159. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "How about You shall not murder — it stems from a profoundly religious decree. You're in for dumping that one, too"

    LOL – how did you come to that inane leap of logic?

    "Thou shalt not murder" doesn't fall into the category of that which should be dumped because it seeks to protect, not mutilate.

  160. Jason Maas says:

    Charlie, the claim that circumcision has "medical benefits" has been amply refuted by numerous other medical bodies, like the Royal Dutch Medical Society, the Australian and New Zealand Paediatric Societies, as well as Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish groups.

    The notion that circumcision has "medical benefits" is also refuted by reality. The United Sates has the highest circumcision rate of any developed nation — perhaps as high as 90% at the height of circumcision's popularity in the late 60s and early 70s. That means that the vast majority of sexually active, adult American men are circumcised. Despite this fact (or because of it) the US also has the highest HIV and STD rates of any developed nation, FAR higher than in the EU where circumcision is rare. If there were any benefits at all to circumcision, you would see them in the US. Instead, you see just the opposite. Even when we look at Africa, the results are mixed at best. In 10 out of the 16 nations surveyed, HIV rates are actually *higher* in countries where circumcision rates are highest. In others it's about equal, and in a few, yes, HIV rates are lower in areas that circumcise. These results indicate that circumcision is a false variable. It is not the circumcision that is responsible for the lower HIV rates in countries/cultures that circumcise, but something else we have yet to identify fully.

  161. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "As a parent I am deposited with the power of making life and death decisions about my children."

    Cutting off part of his penis isn't a life or death decision. Well, actually, it would be if it killed him. So leave him be. It's his penis. Not yours.

  162. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "Children are not permitted to make those choices on their own, especially at the tender age of 8 days."

    Which is why they need to be allowed to make the choice for themselves when they're old enough.

  163. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "This isn't about singling out religions, this is about protecting children. I would think protecting Jewish children too would be a good thing."

    You would think so, wouldn't you? Especially since cutting the body of a child runs counter to Jewish law that prohibits torture.

  164. Jason Maas says:

    Charlie, I'm a doctoral candidate who has researched this issue extensively in the US, EU, SE Asia, and the Middle East. I started by doctoral research in Thailand examining the tremendous success that the Thais have enjoyed through massive, grassroots condom campaigns. As you may know, Thailand was facing an AIDS pandemic in the 90s. A combination of condoms and cheap retrovirals were able to turn the situation around. No circumcision (Thailand is a majority Buddhist nation where circumcision is practiced only by the Muslim minority in the south). Considering the fact that circumcision has not worked in the US and has not been shown to work anywhere in Africa (despite the false claims of pro-circumcision advocates) then Africa would be much better served by massive condom and retroviral campaigns that actually *have* been shown to work in Thailand and Brazil.

  165. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "To the Gentiles here, I have nothing to say to you. Not because I disrespect you but we have a LONG history of you not understanding me and my religion."

    There are also many Jewish people against this barbaric practice. So talk to them.



  166. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Sorry Charlie: the studies that policy was based on have since been peer-reviewed and found to be lacking on medical/ethical/legal grounds. the original percentage of protection reported of 50-60% is actually the *relative* percentage of protection, rather than the *absolute* percentage of protection that everyone assumed. The absolute percentage of protection (even if they were valid studies not fraught with methodological errors) is closer to 1.8, which is clinically insignificant.


    and the real life statistics counter the claims.

    And tell the babies in NYC and Israel given herpes by their mohel's that there are medical benefits to circumcision.


    Naturally, the two who died will never be able to voice their opinions on the matter…

  167. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Sorry Charlie: the studies that policy was based on have since been peer-reviewed and found to be lacking on medical/ethical/legal grounds. the original percentage of protection reported of 50-60% is actually the *relative* percentage of protection, rather than the *absolute* percentage of protection that everyone assumed. The absolute percentage of protection (even if they were valid studies not fraught with methodological errors) is closer to 1.8, which is clinically insignificant.


    and the real life statistics counter the claims.

    And tell the babies in NYC and Israel given herpes by their mohel's that there are medical benefits to circumcision.


    Naturally, the two who died will never be able to voice their opinions on the matter…

  168. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    And then there's Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon – a Jewish filmmaker (from an orthodox family):


  169. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "You can be whatever you wish. But why must a German court tell me how to follow MY faith?"

    Follow your faith however YOU want – that does not mean you have the right to forcibly mark your faith on the body of someone ELSE who cannot consent.

  170. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Charlie Hall : with regards to the fallacy that circumcision helps prevent the spread of HIV: it is you are out of your league here and do not possess all the facts in the matter. The studies that claim that circumcision prevents the transmission of HIV were flawed from beginning to end and the reported percentage of protection (which I cited in an earlier post) is grossly misleading.

  171. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    It's not a false claim. There is no overall medical benefit to cutting off a healthy body part. In fact, the risks far outweigh any *potential* positive.

  172. Jason Maas says:

    Charlie, on that, you and I agree. Try telling that to a Muslim who advocates female circumcision on religious grounds, and they will pull out ALL the same arguments that people like Yori do about why it is. And again (and again, and again, and again) whether a religion does or doesn't require this or that is a decision that *really* should just be left up to the person whose body it is. Period. Do what you will with your *own* body in accordance with whatever you believe, and leave children alone so they can decide likewise when they reach an age when they can do so. Simple.

  173. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Stephen Leavitt Nothing like an illogical yee-haw who can't actually make an on-topic argument to reinforce their opponent's stance in a debate.

    Lessee: Page views vs. the ability to defend one's opinion. You can keep your hot-air inflated victory, Stephen… you already lost earlier by Godwin's Law. Have a nice day.

  174. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "you failed to understand the research on circumcision and HIV transmission. In fact, circumcision has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by heterosexual sex."

    You fail to realize that the 'research' in question was based on flawed methodology and in fact the opposite has been discovered in other studies.

    Further detail here:



  175. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Yori Yanover Gotta love the fact that I've now replied to you twice, and both times the comment disappears.

    Ritual Circumcision on 8 day old infants is not compatible to a medical procedure as there is no medical need.

    The whole 'I make decisions for my children all the time' argument does not hold water here.

    Parents are not allowed to tattoo their children. Nor inject them with botox nor hit them nor cut any other part of their body nor give them breast implants. The only reason Circumcision has been tolerated for so long is that it's a culturally accepted procedure. People are starting to realize that the reasoning behind it is faulty.

  176. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Charlie Hall Islam does not require male circumcision either. Circumcision of either sex does not even make an appearance in the Qur'an.

  177. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    @Vicki Southern Wetting: The results of those studies have been called into question after peer review. Next.

  178. Steve Clow says:

    Exactly. Sounds like a simple train of thought to me, especially now that so many Jews are keeping their children intact. Doesn't make them any less Jewish.

  179. You're attempting to deflect from the fact that Judaism does call for genital mutilation of females by calling it a rare event. It was common enough for the writers of the Talmud to take notice and to write guidelines on how to handle the situation. 1 in 2000 people are born with ambiguous genitalia/intersex conditions. That's a lot of people when you add it up. If your daughter was born with ambiguous genitalia, would you circumcise her? Yes or no? If no, you're a hypocrite because you would knowingly go against the Talmud.

  180. I agree with Vicki, most of Western Europe does not believe there is a G-d. Although there could be cases where humanistic-atheistic morality could clash with religious rules, this case, like Schitah, is not such a case. Germany owes the Jewish community the benefit of the doubt.

  181. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    Sorry, Laurel. I am currently reading on "Uptodate" CURRENT benefits associated with circumcision. Here is the source: Neonatal circumcision: Risks and benefits
    Laurence S Baskin, MD, FAAP
    Section Editors
    Charles J Lockwood, MD
    John G Bartlett, MD
    Deputy Editor
    Vanessa A Barss, MD
    All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
    Literature review current through: May 2012. |This topic last updated: Mar 20, 2012.

    I will copy salient points in following posts, all of which come from this article.

  182. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    "Reduction in urinary tract infection — Urinary tract infection (UTI) is uncommon in males at any age. The effect of circumcision on UTI has been studied primarily in infants because they have a higher prevalence of UTI than older males. UTIs in infants can result in pyelonephritis requiring hospitalization and, rarely, septicemia and death. In infants with congenital uropathy UTI can have serious sequelae, such as renal scaring and lifelong renal insufficiency.

    Studies consistently report that circumcised male infants have significantly fewer UTIs than uncircumcised male infants [10,18-24]. A meta-analysis found that among febrile male infants less than 3 months of age, the prevalence of UTI in circumcised and uncircumcised infants was 2.4 and 20.1 percent, respectively [24]. The risk of developing a UTI is, on average, 3 to 12-fold lower in circumcised infants. However, since the absolute risk of UTI is small in male infants (0.4 to 1 percent), 100 to 200 circumcisions would need to be performed to prevent one UTI."

  183. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    "Adult circumcised men have a lower rate of UTI than uncircumcised men [27]. The prevalence of UTIs in uncircumcised adult males increases with age and certain disease states, such as diabetes mellitus [27,28]. (See "Acute uncomplicated cystitis, pyelonephritis, and asymptomatic bacteriuria in men" and "Epidemiology and risk factors for urinary tract infections in children".)

    Reduction of cancer — Compared to uncircumcised men, circumcised men appear to have a lower risk of penile cancer, and their sexual partners may have a lower risk of cervical cancer.

    Penile cancer — Squamous cell cancer of the penis is a rare disease. The age-adjusted incidence in the United States is less than 1 per 100,000 males, comparable to that in other developed countries [29]. It has been estimated that the risk is increased three to six-fold in uncircumcised men. Much of the protective benefit of circumcision is lost if circumcision is not performed in early infancy. The data supporting these conclusions are presented separately. (See "Carcinoma of the penis: Epidemiology, risk factors, and clinical presentation".)

    Cervical cancer in partners — Cervical cancer is less common in the sexual partners of circumcised men. In one study, sex with either uncircumcised men or men circumcised after infancy increased a woman's risk of cervical cancer four-fold [30]. In another, monogamous women whose circumcised male partners had ≥ 6 sexual partners had a lower risk of cervical cancer than women whose partners were uncircumcised (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.23-0.79) [31].

    HPV infection is a necessary, but not sufficient, factor in development of virtually all cervical cancer. A partial explanation for the link between cervical cancer and lack of male circumcision is that uncircumcised men are more likely to acquire and transmit HPV to their partners [32] (see 'Sexually transmitted infections (not including HIV)' below and "Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: Definition, incidence, and pathogenesis", section on 'Overview of HPV infection')"

  184. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    "Other — Case-control studies have reported that circumcised men have a lower rate of prostate cancer than uncircumcised men [33,34]. This could be related to multiple confounders; further investigation is required.

    Reduction in penile inflammation and retractile disorders — Penile inflammatory disorders, such as meatitis and balanitis (ie, inflammation of the glans), are extremely uncommon in circumcised men, but can develop whether or not circumcision has been performed. Balanoposthitis, a suppurative inflammation of the glans and foreskin, usually requires surgical intervention [28]. Uncircumcised males who retract the foreskin while bathing are less likely to experience problems with inflammation [35]. (See "Balanoposthitis in children: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment".)

    Most studies suggest penile problems occur more often in uncircumcised men [36-38]:

    •A longitudinal study of 500 New Zealand boys followed from birth to age 8 reported that circumcised infants had a higher rate of meatitis in infancy, but a lower rate of penile problems after infancy due to absence of foreskin-associated disorders (eg, balanitis and inflammation) [36]. By age 8, the rate of penile problems in circumcised and uncircumcised boys was 11.1 and 18.8 problems per 100 children, respectively. Most of these problems were minor and could be treated medically, but some required surgical intervention for phimosis or balanoposthitis.
    •A retrospective survey of 272 uncircumcised boys and 273 controls who were circumcised at birth found that the total frequency of medical visits for penile problems (eg, balanitis, irritation, phimosis) was significantly lower in the circumcised group (5 versus 10 percent, respectively) [37]. Most of the problems were minor.

    Chronic inflammation or repeated forceful retraction of a congenital phimosis may cause scarring and secondary phimosis, which sometimes requires surgical intervention [14,15,39]. Frequent catheterization without replacement of the foreskin, poor hygiene, and chronic balanoposthitis can also lead to phimosis and eventual paraphimosis (ie, entrapment of a retracted foreskin behind the coronal sulcus). Urinary obstruction, hematuria, pain, and edema and necrosis of the glans may occur in severe cases. (See "Paraphimosis: Definition, pathophysiology, and clinical features".)

    Acute and recurrent problems of the foreskin can sometimes be managed medically with hyaluronidase or topical betamethasone cream [40-42], but mechanical or surgical intervention may be required.

    Reduction in sexually transmitted infections — If only biological factors are considered, uncircumcised men may be at greater risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections because the warm, moist environment provided by the prepuce may provide more favorable conditions for infection than the circumcised glans.

    A significant reduction in risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections would be an important medical benefit of circumcision. However, behavioral factors, such as having a low number of sexual partners and consistent correct use of condoms, are probably more important than circumcision status for protection against sexually transmissible diseases. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that any public health or educational program has had an effect on the hygienic practices of adolescent or adult males, other than the increased use of condoms in a few HIV high risk populations in the western world [43-45]. (See "Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases".)"

  185. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    "There is high quality evidence that circumcision protects against acquisition of HIV, HPV, and HSV-2, but not gonorrhea or syphilis (see below). It appears to protect against trichomonas infection as well.

    HIV infection — A systematic review of randomized trials performed in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda found that adult male circumcision reduced the acquisition of HIV by heterosexual men by 38 to 66 percent over 24 months [46]. It is presumed that neonatal circumcision would offer a similar benefit.

    In Africa, the lack of circumcision appears to be one of several facilitating factors in HIV seroconversion. (See "The stages and natural history of HIV infection", section on 'Lack of circumcision'.) The World Health Organization has recommended that circumcision be considered as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package that includes provision of voluntary HIV testing and counseling services, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, promotion of safer sex practices (delayed initiation of sexual activity, reduced numbers of sexual partners, avoidance of penetrative sex), and provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use [47]. Additional research is required to develop male circumcision programs in resource poor settings, but there is increasing support for circumcision as a part of the preventative public health care plan for the prevention of HIV spread in Africa [48].

    It is important to remember that circumcision only reduces the risk of acquisition of HIV infection by about half and that there is no strong evidence that circumcised HIV-infected men are less likely to transmit the infection to their female or male partners [47]. Consistent correct use of condoms are highly effective for both preventing acquisition of and transmitting HIV.

    Circumcision may significantly reduce HIV infection because the inner aspect of the foreskin appears to be richer in cells with HIV-1 receptors than the glans [49-51]. Thus, removal of these target cells may reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of acquiring infection when the man is exposed to HIV."

  186. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    "Sexually transmitted infections (not including HIV) — An embedded study within the randomized South African trial discussed above [52] assessed the effect of circumcision on acquisition of high oncogenic risk HPV (HR-HPV), Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis infections [53,54]. Urethral swabs and urine samples were analyzed using PCR.

    •Male circumcision had a protective effect on HR-HPV prevalence (intention-to-treat analysis, HR-HPV prevalence in the circumcision group 14.8 percent (94/637) versus 22.3 percent (140/627) in the control group; RR 0.66, 95%CI 0.51-0.86) [54].
    •Male circumcision had a borderline effect on prevalence of trichomonas infection (intention to treat analysis OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.29-1.03), but the reduction became statistically significant in the 'as treated' analysis (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.25-0.93) [53].
    •There was no evidence of a protective effect against Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection [53].

    This study is the best evidence to date that circumcision reduces the risk of HR-HPV and trichomonas infections among heterosexual men and explains why women with circumcised partners are at a lower risk of cervical cancer than other women.

    The Ugandan randomized trials of adult male circumcision confirmed and extended these findings [55]:

    •Male circumcision had a protective effect on HR-HPV prevalence (HR-HPV prevalence in the circumcision group 18 percent versus 27.9 percent in the control group; RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.46-0.90).
    •Male circumcision had a protective effect on HSV-2 seroconversion (HSV-2 seroconversion in the circumcision group 7.8 versus 10.3 percent in the control group, RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56-0.92).
    •There was no evidence of a protective effect against syphilis infection.

    Females can benefit from male circumcision, as well. An analysis of the spouses of men enrolled in the Ugandan randomized trial of adult male circumcision for HIV prevention [56] found partners of circumcised men had lower rates of genital ulceration (adjusted prevalence risk ratio [aPRR] 0.78, 95% CI 0.61-0.99), trichomonas infection (aPRR 0.55, 95%CI 0.34-0.89), and bacterial vaginosis (aPRR 0.82, 95% CI 0.74-0.91) than partners of uncircumcised men [57]. Possible explanations for these findings are that circumcised men may be less susceptible to infection/colonization with these organisms or the circumcised penis may be less likely to transmit these organisms than the uncircumcised penis.

    Easier hygiene — Genital hygiene is easier in the absence of a foreskin. Good hygiene may prevent many problems associated with the foreskin [35], but can be difficult to maintain in uncircumcised boys, even in developed countries. Studies of middle class British and Scandinavian schoolboys concluded that penile hygiene is usually not well-maintained [11,58]. Care of the uncircumcised penis is described separately. (See "Care of the uncircumcised penis".)"

  187. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    When any government or people disagree with the King and Creator of the Universe, they should not be obeyed. The Jews who love and revere Hashem will do as He directed, not as the government directed. If Germany prevents circumcision now, it will soon prevent something else. How quickly we forget painful lessons inflicted on previous generations. WAKE UP!

  188. Charlie Hall says:

    The studies WERE peer reviewed and published in high impact journals. I've never heard of the journal in which that article was published, and my institution's library doesn't even carry it.

    However, if you want to send me a copy of the article I would be happy to review it. If the clinical trials WERE flawed in a way that made the conclusions suspect I would of course change my opinion. I will say, however, that the questions raised in the abstract are mostly not ones that would cause concern. It is easy to be nihilistic as you can find flaws with any medical research study, however, in practice most such flaws are minor.

    And you don't have to give me a lecture on the difference between relative risk and attributable risk. I teach that to medical students and public health students! A risk difference of 1.8% means that 55 men would have to be circumcised to prevent a single transmission. That is a tiny number compared to other medical interventions.

    The Orange County cases are likely the result of a version of the Orthodox Jewish procedure that the leading Orthodox rabbis have been trying to stamp out for a long time.

  189. Charlie Hall says:

    Statements of opinion are not evidence. Let the opponents do their own trials and we'll talk.

  190. To the jews : God told you to circumcise your kids *supposedly* 3500 years ago, that's lovely. My god told me to put to death anyone who touches a baby in that manner. Your mohel needs to watch his back, because my knife is much MUCH bigger. I am happy to see a government make it illegal for you to do what YOUR god wishes you to do. Perhaps once it becomes illegal all over the world you will then learn that this god of yours is letting us do it for a REASON.

  191. Stephen Leavitt says:

    I'm having a great day. You fanatical yahoos are boosting the pageviews with all your refreshes.

  192. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Charlie Hall:

    You seem to be confused as to the methodology and purpose of scientific studies is.

    Scientists SHOULD be acting at the mercy of the results in the testing and not trying to skew the results to mislead the public (which is exactly what happened in the Africa trials. What they are doing now ('They' being UNAIDS, WHO & CDC) on the basis of those badly run and misreported studies is counterproductive.

    It's not necessary for 'Opponents' to do their own trials. It is enough that SCIENTISTS adhere more closely to ethical behaviour and don't report false or misleading results of their studies have run trials already. The evidence speaks for itself.





    (you won't understand why, but this last study is particularly relevant: go back to school and when you do understand, THEN we'll talk)

  193. Stephen Leavitt says:


    The American Academy of Pediatrics points to a survey (self-report) finding circumcised adult men had less sexual dysfunction and more varied sexual practices.

    a British study of 150 men circumcised as adults for penile problems, Masood et al. found that 38% reported improved penile sensation (p=0.01), 18% reported worse penile sensation, while the remainder (44%) reported no change.

    In a 2008 study of Kenyan men, Krieger et al. stated that "Adult male circumcision was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Circumcised men reported increased penile sensitivity and enhanced ease of reaching orgasm."[6] In a 2009 study of 22 men in Mexico circumcised for medical or aesthetic reasons, Cortés-González et al. reported a statistically significant improvement in "perception of sexual events" (p=0.04)

  194. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Vicki: Pulling the Holocaust card anytime anyone disagrees with you does not invalidate their argument: and in this case, it cheapens the horrific events that occurred then. Not only does this invoke Godwin's Law (hence, you automatically lose this debate) but it is an offence to the people who actually suffered at the hands of the Nazi's. No one is saying don't circumcise, no one is saying 'no Jews allowed' and besides the bigotted trolls, the only thing anyone is arguing for is for children to be afforded their own rights: including that of freedom of religion and bodily integrity.

  195. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    The studies also show that supposed protection of circumcision against UTI's disappears after the age of six months: and the last sentence of your 1st post there says it all:

    However, since the absolute risk of UTI is small in male infants (0.4 to 1 percent), 100 to 200 circumcisions would need to be performed to prevent one UTI

    (the rate of UTI infections in infant girls is significantly higher than in boys, but you don't see us now cutting girls and trying to justify it by skewing study results: they just get antibiotics)

    The HIV/Circ connection has been addressed. The studies also report that Circumcision is a risk factor for the female partners of those men. Selective 'evidence' if you can call it evidence, does not make it truth.

    What is your interest here? Defending your cultural practice or the truth?

  196. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Stephen Leavitt : Red Herring (no one was discussing sexual function, and just like the HIV and STD claims; there are studies showing results on both sides of the coin). And you would rather attack posters than actually address the issue. Why are page views such a wonderful thing to you? Why is that so much more important to you than the truth?

  197. Vicki Southern Wettig says:

    MY cultural practice? These are the words of the Lord most High to His children. I am a Christian, not Jewish. Culture has nothing to do with it. It is a relationship and convenant with our Creator and the Jewish people. Since He Created and established Truth, He is the one to define it. I don't have an agenda outside the Truth of the Living G-d.

  198. Laurel Wing Robertson says:

    Really Vicky? You're a Christian? Then you should know that Christians are directed to not circumcise, as it is a mark of disbelief in the purpose of Christ (your professed savior).

    The passage in Romans goes:

    ~Rom. 2: 17-19 "But if you bear the name Jews and rely upon the Law…You who boast in the Law through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?…For indeed your circumcision [i.e. the mark that is already on your genitals] is of value if you faithfully keep the Law, but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has been made obsolete. If therefore the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be counted the same as your circumcision? And will not he who is physically uncircumcised , if he keeps the Law, will he not condemn you who, through the letter of the Law and through circmcision, are a transgressor of the Law. For he is not a Jew who is one externally. Neither is circumcision that which is external in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly. And circumcision is that which is of the heart by the Spirit. . .and hispraise is not from men, but from God."

    Now, there are numerous analyses available online as to why, for other reasons, Circumcision is contrary to the Christian Ideal, and I suggest you go ahead and search them out and read them because right now you have shown yourself to be a first class hypocrite.

    With response to the charge of it being a cultural practice, if you are North American based, Israeli, from another country where RIC is performed, then yes: it is a cultural practice (for less than a hundred years in North America, I might add). Circumcision in America and Canada was promoted, not as a religious practice, but as a cure all for ails such as Epilepsy and Masturbation. Only later, when people started getting used to the practice and it became more widely practice did Christians start trying to find some justification for what had been done to them and why they would continue to do it to their children.

    Ignorance of a faith you proclaim to adhere to is hardly impressive Ms. Vicky Southern Wetting, though hardly surprising. You're human, just like the rest of us, and if you cut your boys or were trained and swallowed the lie that God wanted boys to have their genitals cut, it can happen: millions of others before you made the same error. But at this juncture, what course of action do you think God will look favorably upon? Defending a train of thought which you have been shown clearly and in no uncertain terms to be be erroneous? Or admitting you were wrong, educating yourself and stop fighting those arguing for compassionate laws to protect innocent children who should have a say in the matter what sort of alterations will be done to their bodies (should you also believe that we were made in God's image…God doesn't make mistakes: if boys and girls were meant to not have certain bits the blueprint would have been different).

  199. DantheMan says:

    How dare you change anything God made perfect.

    There is no room for improvement in anything God made, and not just in circumcision.

    Let me just make sure you’re eating your steaks raw, your wheat unpressed, you don’t get glasses, or have your tonsils removed, and ignore that design flaw with the punctum caecum.

  200. The covenant law only applies to the chozen ones in their promised land. They have to abide by the laws of the land they live in or go home. It is against Islam to distroy other peoples healthy body parts when education can can keep them healthy. They are acting on circumcision induced paranoia.

  201. Yori Yanover All the social problems you mention are side effects from being sexually traumatised as infants.

  202. Yori Yanover All Rabbis are Pharisees, or Lawyers for Judaism.

  203. Juana Oner says:

    I am not Jewish but I am outraged on their behalf – and on behalf of Muslims too this is an outrageous, bigoted, antisemitic ruling no matter what excuse they give. Germany never learns, does it?

    And what are they going to do, go around pulling down the pants of Jewish boys to see if they're circumcized?

  204. It would be advantagous for Jews to help outlaw the practice of the covenant law of infant prepuce excision sacrifice in all countries except the promised land. Then they can get rich, allbeit on blood money, and people like me who had excessive flesh, muscle and nerve excised from blaiming the Jews for causing sexual dysfunction upon them.

  205. Jason Maas says:

    Sadly, some parents just love their religion more than they love their children.

  206. Jewish history shows how circumcision can be used as a weapon against non Jews.

  207. UTI's in infants are caused from un attentive mothers and dirty diapers, for both sexes.

  208. Vicki Southern Wettig Jesus was circumcised by Jewish law and chose to nullify the lawl by committing suicide by blasphemy to the covenant law. Infant circumcision is antichrist.

  209. Yori Yanover 3500 years uninterupted, you say? 2000 years ago a bunch of rebel Jews started the hygienic baptism ritual to replace the excision ritual, and the birth of Christianity resulted.

  210. Ari Fuld says:

    Read the rest of my post to the Jews. Why would you respond without reading? silly, no?

  211. Ari Fuld says:

    Lynn, with all do respect ( not sure how much) questions are accepted and healthy as long as you are searching for the ultimate truth and not substituting it with your own ideas.

    According to statistics, in one or two generations down the line your kids will either not be Jewish at all or become religious.

    "Why I feel the need to harm a child to be a Jew"
    Again, let me try to clarify the point that morality is not in your hands to decide. The only measurement that exists here is if a G-d exists and if he gave the world a book of morals or not? Everything else is opinion and not even worth an argument.
    I personally believe that when you bite into a vegetable you are killing a living organism! I really hope you are at least a vegetarian?! Of course you are against abortions right? (I wonder)

    No I am not comparing a Brit to eating meat, rather I am pointing out that your opinions that are not based on the Torah, are based on nothing but thin air! It's about what you fell is right or comfortible and has nothing to do with an ultimate good or bad.

    You don't have to give your son a brit and you don't have to keep Kosher or Shabbat or anything else other laws of Judaism.
    You can change the laws of Judaism as much as you like and do what you please, just one simple request; If you're changing the rules of the game DON'T CALL IT JUDAISM.

  212. That's not true. The circumcision puts into effect the covenant of Abraham. The circumcision is a necessary element. Someone who doesn't have one is considered outside the community. Once he gets he is in automatically because, as you said, he is born Jewish, but it's an essential. The same goes for the convert. If converts didn't need it it wouldn't be done – no need to make someone in adulthood go through the painful experience.

    By the way, with such a strong opinion like the one you express, it's extremely misleading to have such a neutral name for an organization.

  213. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    "Read the rest of my post to the Jews. Why would you respond without reading? silly, no?"

    No. What's silly (and that's putting it mildly) is continuing to support the genital mutilation of children.

  214. Bilha Flateau Stein says:

    Thanks for sharing article.

  215. Steve says:

    There aren’t that many of them. It takes a lot of energy to constantly obsess about one subject.

  216. Natan Epstein says:

    I don't feel i am missing a part of my body, and actually i won , i won my heritage and a permanent connection to Judaism so shhhh …..

  217. Meir Liberman says:

    LOL! Its amazing that ALL the anti-circumcision trolls are the same ones that were trolling the circumcision articles at Times of Israel!

  218. Jason Maas says:

    If that's how you want to rationalise the simple fact that you had 15 to 20 sq. inches of highly sensitive and healthy tissue sliced off of your body against your will, fine. Again, though, that is a choice that only the person undergoing the procedure should make as a consenting adult, just like people who have any other kind of plastic surgery. I understand that religious orthodoxy has never held choice in too high esteem, but it is the 21st century now. It is time for Jewish (and Muslim) children to enjoy basic rights that they have been deprived of for a long time.

  219. I am first time on this site. And I am amazed by the number of so-called "Jewish" progressive and ignorant comments about such an absolutely harmless and even medically recommended procedure (I'm not even talking about the religious aspect of it, prohibition of which is, in my view, absolutely offensive to parents who adhere to their faith much closer than many "Jews-by-birth" and other liberal commentors). Did you read that UN WHO recommends and will provide doctors to Africa to teach and conduct circumcision to prevent spread of HIV. Have you heard by any remote chance on the planet where you live that 95% of newborn males (Jewish and otherwise) undergo circumcision in hospital with first 2-3 days.
    And what about abortion, which is real mutilation and murder of unborn child. I'm sure that many of the commentors are for the "freedom of choice". And comparison (by some) with female genetil mutilation is completely false. Circumcision is religious rite for Jews and Muslims and it does not do any harm or deprive males from any proper ways to enjoy sexual life. At the same time genital mutilation is not required in any religios rite and is performed exclusively to deprive females from any sexual satisfaction and, presumably, keep her faitful to her husband.

  220. And some other very important fact (for me, at least). You, probably, don't know how Nazis found and separated Jews among Red Army prisoners of war. They forced them to drop pants and checked if they are circumcised. Four of my uncles were killed in WWII. They all died as Jews and I proud of them. When I came to US 35 years ago I have circumcisedy teenage sons because I could not do it in the Soviet Union. Communists presented same arguments that people like Lynn and Cynevapost in their comments. You don't understand (I'd rather say, you don't feel the essence of Judaism. I called you JINO.

  221. "Someone who doesn't have one is considered outside the community." I've never heard of an Israeli consulate asking to see a man's penis when he applies to make aliyah. I've never heard of a rabbi asking to see a man's penis when a man asks to join a congregation, or when a couple asks the rabbi to marry them. I am sure this list can be added to.

  222. Jeff Cowsert says:


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