What Will It Take to Wake Jews Up?

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Cartoon created by circumcision ban advocate.

The citizens of San Francisco will be voting on a proposition that seeks to ban circumcision in that city. Though I am strongly opposed to the proposition, if it passes, some good may come of it.

Let me explain. I am a passionate advocate of Jewish ritual known as the brit (often pronounced bris) — the ritual circumcision of 8-day-old Jewish boys. I am even an advocate of circumcision generally. I was recently in Africa — in Zimbabwe and Zambia — where I delivered mosquito nets and seeds to the poorest of Africa’s poor. I saw giant billboards there, as well as in neighboring Botswana, exhorting men to get circumcised. The World Health Organization estimates that male circumcision reduces the rate of heterosexually transmitted AIDS by about 60 percent.

As regards Jewish ritual circumcision, I can only say that I cried like a baby at the brit of my two sons. All I could think of was that, like generations of Jews who came before me, I had been given the gift of transmitting an unbroken chain of Judaism that dates back to Abraham, 3,600 years ago.

I find the arguments of those who campaign against the brit either specious or ludicrous. The notion that some terrible, lasting pain is inflicted on the baby is simply over the top. The average time the baby cries is probably well under the time it cries — and far less frantic — when tired or desiring milk. I fully understand the conflicted feelings of the mother, and I see no reason for her to be present when the actual cutting of the foreskin takes place.

Does the baby experience pain and discomfort afterward? Yes. But it is temporary, and the baby heals quickly.

The advantages wildly outweigh the momentary pain. The brit uniquely strengthens a Jew’s religious identification, and the ceremony instills in the family and the community a profound identification with the nearly four millennia of the Jews’ world-changing history.

As for the argument that the foreskin is important, I can only say that in my most self-pitying moments I cannot recall lamenting not having my foreskin. As I have told anti-circumcision activists on my radio show, you have to be pretty bored with life to be preoccupied with not having foreskin.

One might add that the same people who are profoundly upset over the removal of foreskin rarely have a problem with the removal of a living human fetus. San Francisco considers protecting the human fetus religious fanaticism, but it is seriously considering protecting a newborn’s foreskin.

So, then, given my profound support for circumcision, what good could possibly come from San Francisco passing a ban on it?

If the most left-wing major city in America starts arresting Jews who have their children circumcised there, some American Jews might awaken to the threat to Jews posed by the left.

Obviously, San Francisco’s already existing bans on toys in Happy Meals, on soda in city-owned places and on plastic bags, and the city’s proposed ban on the sale of pets, even goldfish, have not moved many Jews (or non-Jews) to begin wondering whether left-wing governance is dangerous. But perhaps a ban on circumcision will.

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  • Ghostwriter

    Who drew that comic book,Julius Streicher's grandson?

  • Jacob

    But… if cirumcision is banned in San Francisco, how will "Rabbi" Michael Lerner preside over brit milah ceremonies for the children of his congregants????

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    Mr. Prager, You always strive to clarity and impeccable logic, yet unfortunately not this time.

    1) Nowadays you must not use generic term "Jews" without an additional specification: Did you mean spiritual or "nothing-but-ethnic" Jews?

    Many in the latter category are in fact in front lines of the struggle against the Brit-Milah for many years! They are authors of numerous anti-circumcision books, web sites, et cetera! How on Earth can you expect of them to wake up because of this blatant anti-Jewish (and anti-Constitutional) act inSane Fransico while some of them were just behind it?!

    2) The anti-circumcision legislation is directed against Judaism indeed. And so does the legitimization of homosexual propaganda up to pushing it into the schools. The school defiles and depraves each and every (Jewish) kid which is unfortunate to be sent their.

    Have you seen any Jews wake up? Have you seen at least one "rabbi" wake up? How is the anti-circumcision law worse than forceful depravation of kids and promotion of the abomination?

    3) Contrary to your naive hope, the recent history teaches us that our "hard necked" people is capable to wake up only when they finally find themselves in Auschwitz or something analogous. Some could not wake up even in Stalin's dungeons, like those henchmen of Bolsheviks who shouted that they are dying for Stalin before their execution.

    • guest

      sorry ,bodily mutilation is a very real and devastating trauma. it is a biological and psychological catastrophe and man many jewish physicians and psychologists admit that and are wary of the permanent damage that can be incurred but usually is not linked to this trauma. At least a dozen brilliant ,courageous and honest therapists had been demonized and destroyed simply because they exposed the hidden effects on body and soul. . the anti mutilation movements are not against judaism nor islam. this is a fact whether you like it or not. it is sad that you were made to believe that this ritual mutilation is some holy act. it is foolish and irrational to think that some god would create an organism and then require destruction of the most private intimate and pleasurable areas. does it not occur to those who are raging for this mutilation that this is a trauma based method of social control and is it not very odd that it targets a healthy pleasureable part of the anatomy.

    • guest

      this is strictly an ethical and humane issue and not in any way religious. the rabbis and sheikhs refuse to see this because of some religious guilt and fear , plus loss of power over the followers. they erroneously feel the whole belief would crumble. But a serious look at the damages and the trauma from learned medical and physiological sources plus honest psychologists and psychiatrists with proper experience will show the depth of harm and the hollowness of any argument for any mutilation. it is understandable that people who have suffered this trauma be unable and unwilling to face their deep denial ,but alas biological reality is more real than soothing ideology. any human needs to be allowed to choose for himself the fate of his body and most intimate of organs. jews and moslems need to reconsider this and look into some roots of psychopathology due to this deeply damaging practice.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      "The anti mutilation movements" mainly consists of liberasts obsessed with fornication and believing as though circumcision steals some of their lust. If those liberasts were sincere in there concerns about mutilation, they would fight against the so called "female circumcision" – the real mutilation, committed routinely in islamic "culture". More on this – here:

  • StephenD

    If noting else this proves the charge and why there is an affinity between the left and Islam. Both want to rule every aspect of your life. One of the reasons I get so upset when folks use the term Liberal to describe a most Totalitarian mindset.

  • Ben

    As the Jewish conservative atheist I agree with Mr. Prager . That law is the totalitarian act of violence,like the birds` shave in Peter the first i`s Russia. Jews must decide by themselves. The idea of the cosmetic reform of the religion looks ridiculous to me.
    Condemnation of Jewish( and Muslim) rithuals is the recollection of nazis theory and practice. The time of matzoth` fight will come!

    • guest

      protecting against a mutilation has nothing to do with politics or nazis,. in fact if anything is coercive and punitive and destructive like nazism fascism and stalinism, it is the act of mutilation itself. forced un consenting helpless wordless newborn or child with permanent damage and psychological trauma. think of it .use your head not your fanaticism. no one wants toput any political spin on this . think honest debate and rational approach. it is the mutilation trauma itself that makes rabbis and devout jews and moslems unable to transcend their ironclad denial. same so mutilated or brainwashed american doctors

  • mrbean

    Hmmmm… it is illegal to have a circumcision but an government funded abortion should be law? Crazy…..

  • Mary

    I would like to break it gently to my Jewish friends that there are far more Chrisians to be affected by this inane rule of no circumcision than Jews. How many Jews can there be in S.F.? Most of the folks whose freedom is being curtailed will be Christians. Shouldn't we remember that we are in this together?

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    "The anti mutilation movements" mainly consists of liberasts obsessed with fornication and believing as though circumcision steals some of their lust. If those liberasts were sincere in there concerns about mutilation, they would fight against the so called "female circumcision" – the real mutilation, committed routinely in islamic "culture". More on this – here:

  • James

    So it's okay for a parent to permanently and irreversibly alter the anatomy of their child if they have cultural/religious justification?

    I assume then everyone here supporting this article would fight just as hard to defend the right of parents to circumcise their daughters, or bind their feet.

    It's not an issue of religion. It's an issue of consent. Wait until the child is old enough to consent to the brit, and there is no problem.

  • Synesthesia

    Oh, I have had enough of this. Just because I'm against taking babies regardless of race, religion and gender and cutting their genitals does not mean I hate Jews.
    Just the opposite really. It is not people's right to do this to a child. I don't care about tradition or any of that. You don't have the right to hurt a baby like this and alter his body for life without his consent.
    It has nothing to do with left or right. It's more about protecting the rights of that child to make decisions about his body without religion or mislead doctors interfering. (Also, I might add that those HIV studies are a bit dubious.)