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.”