Rabbi David Mivasair blesses a Jewish boy as part of his Brit Shalom, on his 8th day after his birth. Instead of a circumcision, his family choose a Brit Shalom, a symbolic Jewish covenant naming and welcoming.
On the eighth day of my son Kai's life, we had a ceremony across the street from our house, right by the Pacific ocean. We had our good friend playing guitar while we all sang in Hebrew. Rabbi Mivasair explained to everyone the meaning behind what we were doing in an eloquent and meaningful way.
A new study finds that circumcision does not prevent sexually transmitted infections, throwing into question commonly held beliefs about the connection between circumcision and STIs, which researchers say are largely based on extrapolations from studies performed on men in Africa.
New medical classification codes released by the World Health Organization (WHO) diagnoses foreskin adhesion in newborns as a medical condition, putting all newborns at risk of medically unnecessary circumcision.
A greater number of American, Canadian, Israeli, and Jews worldwide are beginning to question milah (the surgical circumcision) aspect of the bris. Is it wishful thinking to hope that Judaism in today's age moves to a symbolic interpretation of circumcision, as it has already done for other violent commandments from the Torah?
Goldman describes some of the harm of circumcision. "Studies show that circumcision is significantly painful, traumatic, and affects the brain. Some infants do not cry because they go into shock. After circumcision infants change behavior, and there are disruptions in mother-child bonding. Anesthetics, if used, do not eliminate circumcision pain." The effects of circumcision pain were not mentioned in the AAP report.
Goldman explains that advocates ignore the significant harm of circumcision. "Most circumcised men, including doctors and researchers, do not know what they are missing. Studies show that circumcision removes up to one-half of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft. The foreskin protects the head of the penis, enhances sexual pleasure, and facilitates intercourse. Cutting it off removes several kinds of specialized nerves and results in thickening and progressive desensitization, particularly in older men." A survey showed that circumcised men were 4.5 times more likely to use an erectile dysfunction drug. He describes the psychological harm of circumcision in detail in his book.
Most of the official Humanistic Jewish organizations do not distinguish between bris shalom (welcoming ceremony without circumcision) and hospital circucmcision, but there is a growing tendency to oppose circumcision altogether in favor of the new peaceful welcoming ceremonies. Humanistic Rabbis do not perform ceremonies in conjunction with circumcision.
We have a perfectly designed genital structure, the foreskin, and cutting it off is to me a major violation of boys' human rights... I found out that 3/4 of the nerve endings were missing, and this was only recently discovered. Only one study has been done comparing about 160 men in two groups, circumcised and intact, and found that the most sensitive part of the penis is the foreskin... by miles.