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Jewish, and uncircumcised

It's no longer just a medical debate. A small but growing number of Jewish parents are questioning why they should circumcise their sons – and are deciding to reject a fundamental tenet of their faith
Toronto — Growing up in Victoria, Alana Moon went to Jewish school, attended synagogue most Saturdays and celebrated the Sabbath.

But when her son, Amani, was born, Ms. Moon couldn't rationalize the idea of making her newborn go through elective surgery. She refused to have him circumcised – and joined a small but growing number of Jews who are rejecting an ancient, fundamental tenet of their faith.

In recent decades, circumcision rates have plummeted in hospitals across Canada, largely because of the medical consensus that the practice doesn't have the health benefits once believed. Increasingly vocal members of the anti-circumcision lobby, who say the process is unnecessary and barbaric, have also played a role.

Now, a Jewish wing has joined their ranks, including a small number of scholars and rabbis, support groups and websites. They point out that a circumcised penis isn't required to make someone Jewish, even according to Orthodox law. An alternative bris ceremony, minus the surgery, is gaining ground among Jews opposed to circumcision.

A small pocket of Jewish boys are now growing up with their foreskins intact – a trend many Jews find troubling. Parents who make the radical choice not to circumcise face such huge social and familial pressure, many refuse to talk about it or tell their friends.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070521.wcircumsize0522/BNStory/lifeFamily/

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