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Less than 2 Days to Fund "Celebrating Brit Shalom"

Beyond the Bris - July 30, 2014 - 12:24pm
Books gifted to U.S. rabbis will be matched!Non-circumcising Jewish families will now be able to have a beautiful prayer book of alternative bris ceremonies, thanks our successful Kickstarter campaign. The campaign wraps up at 6:00 A.M. Friday—so it's not too late to help us reach our stretch goal of getting our book to U.S. rabbis.

An anonymous donor likes our idea of gifting the book to rabbis and synagogue libraries so much that he has agreed to match all pledges book-for-book from now until the end of the campaign! We have three options for gifting the book (1, 4, and 10 copies) as well as other backer rewards. Help us send a clear message that today's Jewish families are celebrating brit shalom! Funding above our goal will also go to added publicity, e-commerce start-up, and many other endeavors.

Help us show the world just how many people support Jewish ritual choice for families, like mine, that have opted not to circumcise. Please make the last hours of our campaign count by boosting our backer numbers! You can raise our numbers with as little as a $1 pledge and your name doesn't have to be public—just choose an unidentifiable Kickstarter profile name if you wish to be anonymous.          

Meanwhile, the forthcoming "Celebrating Brit Shalom" continues to make news. Recent press includes "A New Alternative to Jewish Circumcision," (Ozy, June 29.) Jewish circumcision critic Brian Levitt wore his "Celebrating Brit Shalom" t-shirt during a Huffington Post Live segment on men who resent their circumcision (June 28). My own op/ed "Considering Brit Shalom?" appeared in the Boulder Jewish News (July 22). Co-author Lisa Braver Moss and I have just returned from Genital Autonomy 2014 where we spoke about our upcoming book to an audience of fellow activists, the public and reporters.  

As our campaign draws to a close, we look forward to keeping you in the loop with future news about "Celebrating Brit Shalom" and the broader Jewish movement to question circumcision. A deep and heartfelt thanks to all who have backed us with pledges large and small. 
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Kickstarter Campaign for Brit Shalom Book Funded!

Beyond the Bris - July 15, 2014 - 11:50am
By Lisa Braver Moss and Rebecca Wald

We have wonderful news to report! Celebrating Brit Shalom is fully funded and will be available this fall. We look forward to finalizing the book and music, getting rewards to backers, and making the book and songs widely available to meet the ceremonial needs of Jewish families opting out of circumcision.

Each and every one of your contributions represents a step in the right direction for humanity, and we are so grateful. All children deserve a peaceful welcome into the world, and that’s what Celebrating Brit Shalom is all about.

In the Jewish tradition, Elijah is considered to be the angel protector of children. We would like to take this moment to specially recognize our “Elijah backers” thus far—those whose extreme generosity has pushed us over the top before our funding deadline.

So far, our Elijah backers include Brian Levitt, The Barefoot Intactivist, Doctors Opposing Circumcision, T. Campbell Jackson, George Vuckovic of Tilted Planet, and Olivier Zimmermann of Intact Switzerland. Together, these backers are responsible for more than 50% of our funding to date.

Now that we’ve met our Kickstarter goal, we have the opportunity to move into the “stretch funding” phase of our campaign. Meeting our initial goal means the project will go forward. Stretch funding—which can be raised through Kickstarter through July 31st—will help to ensure that Celebrating Brit Shalom is seen by the widest possible audience.

To this end, we’ve added a new reward. For a $180 pledge (“ten chai”) we will send a copy of our book to 10 different rabbis or other officiants from our carefully compiled list. We will only send a book to those officiants whom we’ve contacted first, and who really want a copy. If you have particular officiants in mind, please let us know.

Many of our other rewards are still in place, so please continue to feel free to back us at any level you like. We are deeply grateful for your ongoing support.

We are so excited about being able to put this book and music out into the world!
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Kickstarter Update: "Tablet" Article, Two New Glick Books Added

Beyond the Bris - July 11, 2014 - 1:29pm
By Lisa Braver Moss and Rebecca Wald

Hello! We are so thrilled by the excitement and support that our forthcoming book, Celebrating Brit Shalom, is generating. A few days ago, Tablet Magazine published a long feature article about alternatives to Jewish circumcision—and our Kickstarter campaign was prominently mentioned.

On June 26, Lisa wrote a wonderful piece for the Huffington Post about brit shalom families. And Dr. Mark Reiss has just returned from Israel, where he connected with many Humanist rabbis there who are willing to perform brit shalom—a connection that was made after one of those rabbis found our project and reached out to us! Dr. Reiss' Celebrants of Brit Shalom list now has 200 officiants—12 of whom are in Israel.

In two weeks we'll be heading to Boulder, Colorado for the Genital Autonomy 2014 conference, where Lisa will be speaking about non-circumcising families in the Jewish community and Rebecca will be speaking about this web site. Additionally, Lisa and Rebecca will be presenting together about the Celebrating Brit Shalom book and song project. We'll be sharing greater detail about the ceremonies we plan to include in the book, as well as playing a sneak-peak of the songs.

As of today, we're 64% funded. We have $2,884 left to raise to fund our all-or-nothing campaign—so if you've been meaning to back us but just haven't gotten around to it yet, please don't delay. To help our efforts, cultural anthropologist Leonard B. Glick has just donated two signed copies of his wonderful book, Marked In Your Flesh (Oxford University Press 2005)—and we've added them as rewards at the $60 level. We'll also include a copy of Celebrating Brit Shalom and the songs, when they're released in the fall.

For those of you on Facebook, when you come across news about our project, please "Share" liberally. (Of course, feel free to spread the word first as well.) A Facebook "Share" can be priceless, with its power to let new people know about the Jewish movement to question circumcision. Thanks so much for your support!
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Bris Without Cutting Officiant List Tops 200

Beyond the Bris - July 11, 2014 - 3:34am
The movement to name newborn Jewish boys without the surgery of circumcision has reached a milestone—200 celebrants (officiants) are available to perform the ceremony. More than 120 of these are rabbis.

Called brit shalom (Hebrew for covenant of peace), this alternative naming ceremony may correspond in most ways with traditional brit milah, except that there is no cutting of the baby.
"They're especially happy ceremonies, for that reason," says Mark Reiss, M.D.

For 14 years, Dr. Reiss, of San Francisco, has been recruiting celebrants of brit shalom for his web page. He estimates
that 300-500 boys are welcomed into their U.S. Jewish communities with brit shalom ceremonies every year. Most U.S. states, several Canadian provinces, and other countries are represented on the list. Twelve of the celebrants are in Israel.

"The celebrants include rabbis, cantors and other lay leaders, who need not reject circumcision themselves, but want to accommodate parents who do. New celebrants are always welcome," says Dr. Reiss. 

Those who wish to contact Dr. Reiss to add their name to the list of celebrants, or to learn more about brit shalom, may do so by phone (415) 647-2687 or by email at 
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Genital Autonomy Symposium 2014

Beyond the Bris - July 10, 2014 - 12:10pm
The 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights, “Whole Bodies, Whole Selves: Activating Social Change,” will be hosted at the University of Colorado—Boulder on July 24-26, 2014.
The Symposium focuses on interdisciplinary dialogue about the often controversial topic of genital cutting practices of male, female, and intersex children, and on strategies for protecting children from unnecessary genital alteration.

The Symposium features speakers from around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Liberia. Included are experts in healthcare law, bioethics, midwifery, pediatrics, medicine, psychology and psychotherapy, sociology, anthropology, religion, intersex advocacy, foreskin restoration, and children’s rights. 

Beyond the Bris is pleased to report that seven of its contributing writers will be presenting at the conference. Ron Goldman will be speaking about the psychology of circumcision; Jennifer Margulis will be speaking about the business of circumcision; Lisa Braver Moss will be speaking about non-circumcising families in the Jewish community; Eran Sedah will be speaking (via Skype) about the anti-circumcision movement in Israel; Dr. Richard Schwartzman will be speaking about unconscious cruelty—the emotions behind genital cutting; Rebecca Wald will be speaking about Beyond the Bris; and Francelle Wax will be screening an excerpt from her forthcoming film.     
These Symposia have taken place every other year since 1989, alternating between the United States and a location abroad. They are an important forum for advancing knowledge and thought on these issues, and for connecting people in the Genital Autonomy Movement from all over the world.

The 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights is sponsored by The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (USA), Intact America (USA), Genital Autonomy (UK and Australia), and the Sexpo Foundation (Finland). It is locally organized by NOCIRC of Colorado.
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A Beautiful Brit Shalom in America

Beyond the Bris - July 5, 2014 - 10:21am
Courtesy of Amira Gaynor
"When we planned this Brit Shalom for our son, we struggled to find appropriate Jewish content for the ceremony. It was difficult to figure out which content honored the Jewish tradition of welcoming a Jewish boy to the community without honoring/performing the circumcision. Having a Jewish resource to guide the ceremony would have been a valuable resource. I wish "Celebrating Brit Shalom" had been available four years ago!" 
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THE ECONOMIST: Against the Cut, The intactivist movement takes on the oldest surgery known to man

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 14, 2013 - 3:18pm
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a magazine with its origins in Britain, a largely intact country, would take a sober and objective look at the San Francisco circumcision ballot measure. The Economist correctly concludes, “Whatever the fate of his proposed … Continue reading →
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ZIMBABWE: A familiar fear – one intervention at a time, likely the norm in HIV prevention

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 14, 2013 - 3:06pm
Many critics of the African circumcision trials drew the obvious conclusion that a push for male circumcision in Africa and elsewhere would result in a corresponding drop in condom use. In a partially useful risk reduction intervention, such a result … Continue reading →
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“Circumcise @Oprah” protest … Thank you, @GlenCallender

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 11, 2013 - 5:34pm
Glen Callender loves his foreskin. I love the size of his balls. Wow! Thanks, Glen, for sticking it to The Woman!
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OPINION: Intactivism, Anti-Semitism, and Foreskin Man

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 11, 2013 - 4:41pm
Growing up in Texas, the only Jews I knew lived in the Bible. As far as I could understand, circumcised boys were all my fundamentalist and not so fundamentalist Christian friends. Intact boys were foreigners or the kids who spoke … Continue reading →
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SWAZILAND: Mass HIV infection, shortage of medical personnel, and now false hope

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 11, 2013 - 4:06pm
In a nation where the HIV infection rate is said to be nearing 50%, people are desperate. Getting sick with wholly curable diseases can be life-threatening. Getting HIV is a short-order yet slowly unfolding death sentence. It may take 10 … Continue reading →
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GENITAL CUTTING: Geese get equal treatment in Africa at Dr. Piot’s urging

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 11, 2013 - 3:46pm
When the Kenyan and Ugandan studies were announced linking lower HIV infection risk with male circumcision, many sober voices immediately called for safe and consensual procedures by trained clinicians instead of those provided in the wild by folk doctors, if … Continue reading →
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Male Circumcision and HIV - July 10, 2013 - 2:49pm
This blog, Male Circumcision and HIV, is going on hiatus indefinitely. The way the world interacts on issues of public health and culture is changing. This blog was started before twitter and facebook and the social revolution that characterizes online … Continue reading →
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DENMARK: Circumcision associated with sexual dysfunction in men and women

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 10, 2013 - 2:23pm
UPDATE: Download paper here. Int J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print] Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark. Frisch M, Lindholm M, Grønbæk M. Source Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens … Continue reading →
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Change Again

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 10, 2013 - 1:57pm
I’m starting a “best of” effort to import old posts from Scroll down for posts in the order they were originally published.
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CNN’s “The Debate” asks, Should teens make circumcision decision?

Male Circumcision and HIV - July 10, 2013 - 12:14pm
Given a choice between the occasional teen obsessing over getting circumcised and a majority of parents obsessing over doing the circumcising for said teens before they are of an age to raise a ruckus, the former seems far preferable. This … Continue reading →
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