Jewish parents shun circumcision

The article below written by Kaya Burgess, Religious Affairs Corespondent, was published in the Times 27 February 2018.

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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