The article below written by Kaya Burgess, Religious Affairs Corespondent, was published in the Times 27 February 2108.
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.”
Barrister James Chegwidden takes us through the English Court’s current views on genital autonomy.
The presentation was given at Keele University, September 2016. This video is essential viewing for anyone interested in child protection and the Family Courts in particular.
Using letters and emails received over the last 20 years David Smith presents testimony from men sent to the charity NORM-UK now known as 15 Square. His presentation concentrates on the psychological aspects of the harm caused by the non-therapeutic circumcision of male children.
Gert van Dijk describes the current ethical position of the KNMG (Royal Dutch Medical Association) on non-therapeutic male circumcision. The Netherland’s policy is currently one of “active deterrence”. If the policy were to be reviewed the position might well change to a total ban.
Workshop date; Tuesday 16th January 2018.
Location; Keele University, Staffordshire.
This workshop is designed to explore the psychological harm experienced by men who have been circumcised, either as a baby, child or adult. This damage is often trivialised and goes unrecognised by health care professionals, family and friends, and sometimes by the individual himself. Click here to register for this event.
This video was recorded at the World Association for Sexual Health Congress in Prague on the 29th of May 2017. Dr Morten Frisch is from Denmark and has been researching this subject in the Danish population.
Four presentations on four different aspects of male genital cutting were well received at the WAS Congress in Prague. The subjects covered were:
- “Health related and sexual consequences of non-therapeutic male circumcision in childhood” by Morten Frisch from Denmark;
- “Non-therapeutic circumcision the position of the Royal Dutch Medical Association” by Gert van Dijk from the Netherlands;
- “Gender, genital alteration and beliefs about bodily harm” by Brian Earp from the USA;
- “A summary of the voices of damaged men from the records of 15 Square” by David Smith from the UK.
The session was chaired by Tiina Vilponen from the Sexpo Foundation from Finland. Before and after the session we were on the stand with the Sexpo team and a lot of interest, concern and surprise in the the topic of male genital cutting was shown by Sexologists from an enormous range of countries.
From L to R: Brian Earp, David Smith, Tiina Vilponen, Gert van Dijk and Morten Frisch.
Prague 29th May 2017
Reports on the BBC World Service (15/02/2017) and Africa Health describe a study published in the Lancet concerning the initiative to educate religious leaders to encourage the uptake of male circumcision as an HIV prevention measure. If you have questions about the HIV prevention benefits attributed to male circumcision by some trial studies in Africa then the presentation given by Michel Garenne from the Pasteur Institute in the video below is a good place to start looking for answers.
The video was recorded at the Genital Autonomy and Intaktiv e. V. conference in Frankfurt, May 2015.