Times caption (online edition only): A growing number of parents are choosing not to circumcise their sons
A piece in today’s Times by Kaya Burgess, Religious Affairs Correspondent. Subscribers can access the article – the comments stream is interesting, predictably – here.
Jews are increasingly choosing not to circumcise their sons and to hold a naming ceremony instead, a rabbi claims.
Anti-circumcision campaigners say there is an increasing movement within Judaism to forgo the removal of a baby boy’s foreskin in the brit or bris milahritual. David Smith, from the Genital Autonomy group, said: “We’ve worked to promote a ceremony called brit shalom, which has a ceremonial element but doesn’t have the circumcision.”
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, of Maidenhead Synagogue, said: “It does happen and is a new phenomenon, a result of parents wanting to have an initiation ceremony into the Jewish faith but without circumcision.”
He said an increase in inter-faith marriage was a factor. “Whereas the Jewish parent is used to circumcision and has 4,000 years of history propelling them along, the non-Jewish parent is not comfortable with it and wants an alternative.”
The rabbi said that a form of welcome ceremony traditionally used for baby girls was becoming more popular. Many parents chose the ceremony in addition to circumcision, but he added: “The major celebration has shifted to the less medical blessing in synagogue, which never used to occur for boys.”
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I recently discussed MGM with Rabbi Jonathan Romain on a BBC radio programme – here (19:03).