web analytics
November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘circumcision’

She Called Him ‘David’ for the Grandfather Who Blew Shofar in the Ukraine Underground

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Even Yad L’Achim activists, who have been organizing classes for immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in Haifa and the Krayot for the past year, were surprised by the heavy turnout at a new class they opened recently in Kiryat Yam.

After advance work among Russian-speakers in the northern town, some 20 women showed up at the first class, held on kashrus and the Jewish home.

When the lecturer spoke of the importance of passing on Jewish heritage and education from one generation to the next, one woman in the room rose and, in a voice quivering with emotion, said that she had taken upon herself to have her 18-month-old son circumcised. The woman, who had immigrated from a town in Ukraine, related that her grandfather, named David, was one of those rare individuals who worried about keeping the Jewish coal burning during Communist rule.

He was the one in his town who made sure that a shofar was blown secretly in underground minyamin, who baked matzos in hidden basements, who put tefillin on young boys on the day of their bar mitzvah.

When the Nazis came to power in Ukraine, they herded the Jews into ghettos and made them wear the Jewish star on their outer garments. “Some 36,000 Jews perished, including my grandfather, David, Hy”d,” she said, asking Yad L’Achim for help in arranging a bris milah for her young son.

The very next day, at one in the afternoon, the bris milah was held in the woman’s home, and was performed by a mohel from the Bris Yosef Yitzchak organization.

The mohel pronounces the baby's name: David, for his grandfather who blew shofar in the Ukrainian underground.

The mohel pronounces the baby’s name: David.

Honored with sandakaus was the head of Yad L’Achim’s Haifa branch, Harav Chananya Zohar. At the conclusion of the bris, the mohel, who was honored with the recitation of brachos and the naming of the son, leaned over to hear the name. When the mother whispered, “David,” the tears flowed uncontrollably among all the participants.

After the bris, the mother said: “The spark that was lit for me by the Torah class reminded me of the entire family of my grandfather on my father’s side and his selfless dedication for Judaism. The class made me decide to change my home, to make it kosher and Jewish. From now on, I will call my son David, instead of the Ukrainian name I gave him at his birth.”

Mazal Tov to 65-Year-old Mother of ‘Illegal’ Baby

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

A 65-year-old Bnei Brak woman has given birth to her first child after being impregnated by in-vitro fertilization outside of Israel, where the process is illegal beyond the age of 54.

The Chassidic woman, Hana Shahar, and her unnamed 5.9-pound baby boy are doing fine after a Caesarean section operation at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, north of Tel Aviv.

Shahar has been childless during her 46-year-old marriage.

She is the second-oldest woman ever to have give birth, two years younger than a Spanish woman who gave birth shortly before she was 67.

Statistically, the dangers from pregnancy increase dramatically when a woman approaches the age of 50, but some women in the 50s have been able to give birth without problems.

Hana Shahar and her husband obviously are overjoyed.

The baby, God willing, will be named at the Brit circumcision next week.

Circumcision – Are Muslims Doing It Wrong?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Originally published at Jewish Business News

Religious Jewish circumcision, as well as your run-of-the-mill hospital circumcision, are done in the first couple of weeks of life. But in 6 percent of U.S. boys, the procedure is done much later, according to new research, increases the risk of complications and increases costs.

The study, published online Oct. 20 in Pediatrics, analyzed 2010 MarketScan claims data from commercial health plans, using procedural codes to identify circumcisions performed on males aged 0 to 18 years, and diagnostic codes to assess clinical indications for the procedure.

“Among circumcisions performed in the first year of life, we estimated rates for neonates and postneonates. We estimated the percentage of circumcisions by age among males who had circumcisions in 2010, and the mean payment for neonatal and postneonatal procedures.”

The study found that 156,247 circumcisions were performed, with 146,213 (93.6%) in neonates and 10,034 (6.4%) in postneonates.

Among postneonatal circumcisions, 46.6% were performed in males younger than 1 year and 25.1% were for nonmedical indications. The mean payment was $285 for a neonatal and $1,885 for a postneonatal circumcision.

The study concluded that “the large number of nonmedical postneonatal circumcisions suggests neonatal circumcision might be a missed opportunity for these boys. Delay of nonmedical circumcision results in greater risk for the child, and a more costly procedure.”

Islamic traditions do not determine a particular time for circumcision, despite the commonly held notion (among non-Muslims) that they follow the example of biblical Ishmael, who was circumcised at 13 years old.

The age of circumcision in Islam depends on family and geography. A majority of Muslims believe parents should circumcise their child before the age of ten, preferably seven. In any event, it should be done before puberty. In Malaysia, the operation is a rite of puberty, separating the boy from childhood and ushering him into adulthood.

Rabbis, Pols Slam Brit Mila Decision

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Haredi politicians blasted a Supreme Court decision Sunday that granted a mother the right to refuse her son’s circumcision.

The case in question stems from divorce proceedings currently before the Israeli family court. Last year, the civil court ruled that both parents must agree to the traditional brit mila procedure, but the father challenged the ruling in the rabbinical court. The latter ordered that the baby be circumcised, and levied a NIS 500 fine against the woman for every day she refused to submit the baby to be circumcised.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote, “the Jewishness of a Jewish boy is one of the matters that can be included in divorce, for if we rule otherwise, [this would mean that] a parent cannot include a cardinal and essential subject regarding his decision about the life of his child in the separation arrangements from his spouse – which in my eyes is inappropriate.”

In the political arena, reaction to the ruling came fast and furious. Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef called the ruling a landmark “yet another worrisome escalation in the ongoing trend, in recent years, to limit the authority of the Rabbinical Court. “

In addition, MK Aryeh Deri, leader of the Sephardi Haredi party Shas, called the ruling a “scandal.”

“Our forefathers, who sacrificed their lives for this commandment for thousands of years, did not dream that the state they hoped for would prevent a Jewish father from circumcising his son.”

On the Ashkenazi side of the spectrum, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) claimed that “In the political climate that the present government exudes, with new anti-religious bills being presented on a weekly basis, it is only natural that the High Court would continue with its rulings that contradict the Jewish heritage and our right to exist here as Jews, and contribute to the division of the nation.”


Council of Europe Executives Advise Inaction on Male Circumcision

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Council of Europe has climbed down from along and weak limb by issuing a letter that in effect neutralizes a resolution by its parliament that equated mutilation of female genitals and non-medical circumcision of boys for religious purposes.

The Council called them “by no means comparable.”

The Council of Europe’s leadership sent a letter to the parliament that advised it against further attempts by members to target ritual circumcision.

European rabbis praised the Council of Europe’s leadership.

Rabbi Mendel Samama of the Conference of European Rabbis said the letter was a “sign of real progress on the issue of religious circumcision in Europe.”

The letter was in reaction to a controversial resolution passed by the council’s parliament last year that said the circumcision of boys was a “violation of the physical integrity of children.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the letter a “significant step” that he said is “particularly pleasing in light of a worrying trend across Europe where liberal extremes have taken precedence over the basic human right of religious practice.”

Signs Of The Covenant

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

This week’s portion begins by discussing a mother’s status after childbirth. The Torah tells us she becomes temeiah (commonly translated as spiritually impure) “as at the time of her menstruation (niddah).” In the very next sentence, the Torah says that if the child born is a male, circumcision is to take place on the eighth day.

This is not the only time the laws of niddah intersect with circumcision. Consider the first time circumcision is mentioned in the Torah. There, God commands Abraham to circumcise all males of his household (Genesis 17:9-14). Precisely at that time, God also reveals that a child will be born to Sarah, Abraham’s wife (Genesis 17:19). When Sarah hears the news, she laughs. The Torah explains her laughter by pointing out that Sarah had aged and was no longer menstruating. In the words of the Torah, “Sarah was old, well on in years, the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah” (Genesis 18:11). Here again, there is a confluence between circumcision and niddah.

Circumcision is also prominent in the Moses narrative. While on his way to Pharaoh to demand that the Jews be freed, Moshe finds himself in a terrible predicament: one of his sons is close to death. Tzipporah, Moses’s wife, steps in and saves the child by circumcising him. She then declares, “a bridegroom’s bloodshed was because of circumcision” (Exodus 4:26). Note how circumcision is here linked to the blood of bridegroom. By definition, blood, for a groom, hints to the menstrual blood of the bride as well.

Additionally, the sentence from which it is deduced that the blood of circumcision was placed on the door posts of Jewish homes for the Exodus from Egypt deals with blood of birth (dam leidah) which as noted is treated as dam niddah – the blood of menstruation. (See Rashi on Exodus 12:6 and Ezekiel 16:6)

Many wonder what is the counterpoint for circumcision relative to women. These texts seem to teach that the laws of niddah, the laws of family purity, comprise that counterpoint. Interestingly, milah and niddah are not only mentioned together but they have similar meanings. The Hebrew for circumcision is milah, which according to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch comes from the word mul, meaning “opposite.” Niddah has a comparable meaning – “separate.”

The repetitive linkage of the male circumcision and the female status of niddah gives us a clear message. While it is too often the case that sexuality is exploited and perverted worldwide, the Torah stands apart, insisting on an opposite approach – one of holiness. The words mul and niddah charge male and female alike to sanctify life even in the most powerful and intimate realms.

Norway Wants to Limit Circumcisions to Hospital Rooms

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Norway’s health minister said Wednesday the countryman no intention of banning religious circumcisions but should restrict the religious practice to be carried out only in hospitals.

“If the children are circumcised in hospitals by competent personnel, we will prevent complications,” Health Minister Bent Høie told the Aftenposten newspaper. “This is the most realistic way to ensure the little guys against damage. All the other proposals risk exposing the boys to injury.”

He said that stories last year that the government would ban circumcision were totally untrue, but Anne Lindboe, Norway Children’s Ombudswoman, said last year, “This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky.”

“A ban on something that is so common for religious or cultural reasons would not be for the good of the children,” he was reported as saying by Norway’s English-language The Local newspaper.

Jewish boys traditionally are circumcised in a ceremony in the synagogue or in a banquet hall, where a festive meal immediately follows the ceremony.

The health minister’s attempt to make sure that circumcision is carried out under hospital sterility also would turn the rite into a totally sterile ceremony.

There still are voices in Norway calling for banning circumcision of babies or young boys.

He estimated that some 2,000 ritual circumcisions would be carried out in Norwegian hospitals annually, and said that the government had yet to decide who would bear the cost.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/norway-wants-to-limit-circumcisions-to-hospital-rooms/2014/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: