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  • Outlawing circumcision: Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic

    A German court ruling against circumcision has sparked controversy and emotion across religious and secular lines. The debate has reached +972: Larry Derfner views the decision as a crucial message against a practice he rejects, and Noam Sheizaf considers circumcision's normative power in conformist Israeli society. The following text presents a third perspective, which sees grave danger in state intervention in religious rituals.  By Alex Stein Attempts to ban circumcision are anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic, even if their primary motivation is not always anti-Semitism or Islamaphobia. Or, to put it another way, if outlawing core Jewish/Muslim practices is not anti-Semitic, then the…

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  • My (inadequate) justification for circumcision: A reply to Larry Derfner

    This morning we went to the beach. Three couples with four kids, all of them boys, all under the age of two. The conversation drifted to circumcision: one couple spared it from their kid, the other two – including us – didn't. Following a German verdict against circumcision, Larry Derfner writes: I am somewhat ashamed that I was willing to put my infant boys at risk, that I was willing to put them through such severe pain, for fear that if I didn’t, it would mean they weren’t Jewish and it would be my responsibility. I admit that I haven't…

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  • Stand up for your son: Say 'no' to ritual circumcision

    Even if criminalization is impractical, this week's German court ruling against circumcision on children, except for medical purposes, sent a much-needed message.  I've been an atheist since adolescence, but being a Jew has always been a vital element of my identity, something I can't imagine not being, and for this reason, above all others, I knew as a matter of course that I would have my two sons circumcized. It was only after going through it, with the blood and the boys' wailing and our anguish and worry - with the realization that this mohel was actually taking a knife to the foreskins of our eight-day-old sons' penises -…

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