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Monday
Oct102011

The Jewish Intactivist Community - Today’s Jews are Questioning Circumcision

"I believe circumcision is a major mistake...  Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition." 
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul.

“Mutilation of the divinely made human body is as far from Judaism as anything could be… Torah mentions circumcision only cursorily. Circumcision is conspicuously absent from the Sinai commandments, and from the subsequent listings of rules… Deut30- 6 mentions circumcision metaphorically at most, “circumcise your heart.” No less likely is the meaning, “tame your pride.” 
- Israeli Scholar Vadim Cherny, How Judaic is the circumcision?

Over the last hundred years, a Jewish and Israeli movement to stop circumcision has emerged. Jews have formed groups opposing circumcision, written articles and books presenting opposition and alternatives to circumcision, and most importantly, more and more of us have kept our own sons intact. Throughout history, a large percentage of Jews in different regions never circumcised. As Jews, our opposition to circumcision is due to modern notions of an individual’s right to their own body, new historical information about the non-Judaic origin of circumcision in Egypt and Africa, scientific discoveries about the damage caused by circumcision, and a desire by individuals to live a higher level of spiritual ethics. We acknowledge the moral, ethical, and physical problems of circumcision surgery and choose peaceful covenant ceremonies for our children instead.

All Jews have long given up corporal punishment, animal sacrifice, and other violent practices from the same time period of circumcision, activities that are no longer considered spiritual. It is time for Judaism to give up the violent surgery of circumcision, and to step into a new era of moral and peaceful welcoming covenants. Our movement includes Jewish Rabbis, scholars, parents, intellectuals, Israelis, and educators. Our opposition to circumcision is a logical extension and application of Jewish ethics and morality. Jews are disproportionally active in both the intactivist community and other human rights causes of our age. It is time for us as Jews to adopt peaceful covenants to welcome our new babies into the world.

Religious and Moral Rationales for Jewish Intactivism
מ Israeli Scholar Vadim Cherney: How Judaic is circumcision?  (Israel)
מ Defying Convention - An Interview With Miriam Pollack (U.S.)
מ Jewish Parents are Swapping Brit Milah for Peaceful Covenant Ceremonies (U.S.)
מ Brit Milah - Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics? (U.S.)
מ A Case for Bris without Milah. (New Zeeland)
מ Eli Ungar-Sargon and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Moral Problems of Circumcision (NY)
מ Moshe Rothenberg: Being rational about circumcision and Jewish observance (NY)
מ Lisa Braver Moss: The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments (U.S.)
מ Jenny Goodman, MD: An Alternative Perspective (UK)
מ Rabbi Nathan Segal: One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision (CA)
מ Redefining the Sacred by Miriam Pollack (U.S.)

"Circumcision... is a poor way to introduce a newborn male into the world and into the Jewish community. This presentation will focus on my experience as an active Jew living in an observant Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, who chose not to have his son circumcised. I will present the brit (literally "covenant") b'lee milah (without circumcision) ceremony that my wife, a full participant in the decision, and I held on the eighth day of our son Sammy's life."
- Moshe Rothenberg, Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community.

Today’s Jews are Acknowledge the Harm of Circumcision and Choose Peaceful Welcoming Covenants
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 1 (Worldwide)
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 2 (Worldwide)
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 3 (Worldwide)
מ Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors (Worldwide)

"Just like so many parts of the scriptures are homophobic, misogynistic, racist, classist. We're letting all those go away, all those really frightening passages about stoning adulteresses to death and so forth. Most people, Jews and Muslims, I suppose, don't take those seriously anymore and it's easy. There's no question. They don't struggle with it. It's just ink on a page. It just becomes a story, an allegory of the past, and they might not even think about whether that did ever happen, but it’s passed from history into mythology. So, I'm hoping and affirming that circumcision will also pass into mythology."  
- Tina Kimmel, PhD, MSW, MPH, Jewish Intactivist, Director of
NOCIRC, East Bay Area 
Maternal Child Health Epidemiologist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child

Individual Jewish Intactivists - Men / Father’s Voices
מ Howard Stern - Jewish Intactivist by Rebecca Wald (U.S.)
מ Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? (NY)
מ Shea Levy: To the Mohel Who Cut Me (U.S.)
מ Michael S. Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut - Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin (U.S.)
מ Jonathan Friedman: On Circumcision Authority, and the Perpetuation of Abuse (NY)

“Jewish parents are known for our devotion to our kids, so questioning circumcision comes naturally. Jewish practice has evolved over the millennia to keep up with modern ethics and scientific understanding. We now know that infants feel pain and that traumatic experiences in infancy can have lasting consequences. We also have an understanding of the function and purpose of the foreskin. Given these and other factors, I feel that the time has come for the covenant to evolve into a symbolic welcoming ceremony.”
- Rebecca Wald, host of BeyondtheBris.com, a blog for Jewish parents.

Individual Jewish Intactivists - Women / Mother’s Voices
מ Stacey Greenberg: My Son - The Little Jew with a Foreskin, Mothering Magazine (U.S.)
מ Diane Targovnik: How "Cut" Saved My Son's Foreskin - A Movie Review (U.S.)
מ Natural Parents Network - Intact and Jewish (U.S.)
מ Jewish Women’s Feelings - Jewish Intactivism
מ Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision (U.S.)
מ Sarah Rockwell: Lucking Into Bris Shalom (U.S.)
מ Jewish mom - Circumcision spiritually wounds, breaks bonds and trust (U.S.)
מ Female Intactivists - Women’s Perspectives
מ Miriam Pollack: Circumcision - A Jewish Feminist Perspective (U.S.)
מ The Naming at Very, Very Fine (U.S.)

"…as a progressive reform Jew I was raised to believe that any conflict between human rights and Jewish law and/or tradition, is always resolved in favor of human rights, and that this does not diminish Judaism, but in fact makes it stronger… So when does circumcision become a bad idea?  If a single child suffers from it directly, or indirectly from complications, or God forbid a single child should die (which is not common but does happen) isn't that enough warrant a re-evaluation? ... I believe it is time for the Reform movement to consider how contemporary medical and ethical studies on circumcision put the practice at odds with its cherished values of human rights and social justice -- values which, in my opinion, are truly what defines and are central to Judaism."
- Thomas Wolfe, Why do we need an alternative Brit Milah (Bris) ceremony?

Sample Peaceful and Ethical Covenant Texts
מ List of Intactivist Moyels & Rabbis by Dr. Mark D. Reiss (50+ Intactivist Moyels & Rabbis)
מ The Bris Shalom (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony
מ Bris Shalom (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony by Norm Cohen
מ Brit B'lee Milah (Covenant Without Cutting) Ceremony
מ Sample Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Covenant #1
מ Sample Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Covenant #2
מ Song for an Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Ceremony
מ Our Son's Bris Shalom, or Welcoming Covenant By Brenda Platt
 
“There are tens of thousands of intact Jewish boys and men around the world who thank their lucky stars they were not circumcised.”
- Brian Levitt, Jewish Intactivist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child,
Testimony at the California Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Circumcision.

Jewish Intactivists in the USA
מ Beyond the Bris Milah - Jewish Intactivist Blog (U.S.)
מ Jews Opposing Circumcision (U.S.)
מ Jews for the Rights of the Child (USA) *New Group
מ Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision - A Film by Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon (U.S., Israel)
מ Dr. Ron Goldman: Questioning Circumcision - A Jewish Perspective (U.S.)

"We are educated and enlightened Jews who realize that the barbaric, primitive, torturous, and mutilating practice of circumcision has no place in modern Judaism.” - Jews Against Circumcision

Jewish Intactivists in Israel
מ Gonnen - Protect the Child (Israel)
מ Af-Mila- Israeli Jewish Intactivists (Israel)
מ Intact Son - the Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation (Tel Aviv)
מ Kahal - Giving Up Brit Milah (Tel Aviv)

Monday
Sep122011

Jewish Intactivist Community - Today’s Jews are Questioning Circumcision

"I believe circumcision is a major mistake...  Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition." 
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul.

“Mutilation of the divinely made human body is as far from Judaism as anything could be… Torah mentions circumcision only cursorily. Circumcision is conspicuously absent from the Sinai commandments, and from the subsequent listings of rules… Deut30- 6 mentions circumcision metaphorically at most, “circumcise your heart.” No less likely is the meaning, “tame your pride.” 
- Israeli Scholar Vadim Cherny, How Judaic is the circumcision?

Over the last hundred years, a Jewish and Israeli movement to stop circumcision has emerged. Jews have formed groups opposing circumcision, written articles and books presenting opposition and alternatives to circumcision, and most importantly, more and more of us have kept our own sons intact. Throughout history, a large percentage of Jews in different regions never circumcised. As Jews, our opposition to circumcision is due to modern notions of an individual’s right to their own body, new historical information about the non-Judaic origin of circumcision in Egypt and Africa, scientific discoveries about the damage caused by circumcision, and a desire by individuals to live a higher level of spiritual ethics. We acknowledge the moral, ethical, and physical problems of circumcision surgery and choose peaceful covenant ceremonies for our children instead.

All Jews have long given up corporal punishment, animal sacrifice, and other violent practices from the same time period of circumcision, activities that are no longer considered spiritual. It is time for Judaism to give up the violent surgery of circumcision, and to step into a new era of moral and peaceful welcoming covenants. Our movement includes Jewish Rabbis, scholars, parents, intellectuals, Israelis, and educators. Our opposition to circumcision is a logical extension and application of Jewish ethics and morality. Jews are disproportionally active in both the intactivist community and other human rights causes of our age. It is time for us as Jews to adopt peaceful covenants to welcome our new babies into the world.

Religious and Moral Rationales for Jewish Intactivism
מ Israeli Scholar Vadim Cherney: How Judaic is circumcision?  (Israel)
מ Defying Convention - An Interview With Miriam Pollack (U.S.)
מ Jewish Parents are Swapping Brit Milah for Peaceful Covenant Ceremonies (U.S.)
מ Brit Milah - Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics? (U.S.)
מ A Case for Bris without Milah. (New Zeeland)
מ Eli Ungar-Sargon and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Moral Problems of Circumcision (NY)
מ Moshe Rothenberg: Being rational about circumcision and Jewish observance (NY)
מ Lisa Braver Moss: The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments (U.S.)
מ Jenny Goodman, MD: An Alternative Perspective (UK)
מ Rabbi Nathan Segal: One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision (CA)
מ Redefining the Sacred by Miriam Pollack (U.S.)

"Circumcision... is a poor way to introduce a newborn male into the world and into the Jewish community. This presentation will focus on my experience as an active Jew living in an observant Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, who chose not to have his son circumcised. I will present the brit (literally "covenant") b'lee milah (without circumcision) ceremony that my wife, a full participant in the decision, and I held on the eighth day of our son Sammy's life."
- Moshe Rothenberg, Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community.

Today’s Jews are Acknowledge the Harm of Circumcision and Choose Peaceful Welcoming Covenants
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 1 (Worldwide)
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 2 (Worldwide)
מ The New Jewish Movement to End Brit Milah - Part 3 (Worldwide)
מ Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors (Worldwide)

"Just like so many parts of the scriptures are homophobic, misogynistic, racist, classist. We're letting all those go away, all those really frightening passages about stoning adulteresses to death and so forth. Most people, Jews and Muslims, I suppose, don't take those seriously anymore and it's easy. There's no question. They don't struggle with it. It's just ink on a page. It just becomes a story, an allegory of the past, and they might not even think about whether that did ever happen, but it’s passed from history into mythology. So, I'm hoping and affirming that circumcision will also pass into mythology."  
- Tina Kimmel, PhD, MSW, MPH, Jewish Intactivist, Director of
NOCIRC, East Bay Area 
Maternal Child Health Epidemiologist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child

Individual Jewish Intactivists - Men / Father’s Voices
מ Howard Stern - Jewish Intactivist by Rebecca Wald (U.S.)
מ Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? (NY)
מ Shea Levy: To the Mohel Who Cut Me (U.S.)
מ Michael S. Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut - Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin (U.S.)
מ Jonathan Friedman: On Circumcision Authority, and the Perpetuation of Abuse (NY)

“Jewish parents are known for our devotion to our kids, so questioning circumcision comes naturally. Jewish practice has evolved over the millennia to keep up with modern ethics and scientific understanding. We now know that infants feel pain and that traumatic experiences in infancy can have lasting consequences. We also have an understanding of the function and purpose of the foreskin. Given these and other factors, I feel that the time has come for the covenant to evolve into a symbolic welcoming ceremony.”
- Rebecca Wald, host of BeyondtheBris.com, a blog for Jewish parents.

Individual Jewish Intactivists - Women / Mother’s Voices
מ Stacey Greenberg: My Son - The Little Jew with a Foreskin, Mothering Magazine (U.S.)
מ Diane Targovnik: How "Cut" Saved My Son's Foreskin - A Movie Review (U.S.)
מ Natural Parents Network - Intact and Jewish (U.S.)
מ Jewish Women’s Feelings - Jewish Intactivism
מ Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision (U.S.)
מ Sarah Rockwell: Lucking Into Bris Shalom (U.S.)
מ Jewish mom - Circumcision spiritually wounds, breaks bonds and trust (U.S.)
מ Female Intactivists - Women’s Perspectives
מ Miriam Pollack: Circumcision - A Jewish Feminist Perspective (U.S.)
מ The Naming at Very, Very Fine (U.S.)

"…as a progressive reform Jew I was raised to believe that any conflict between human rights and Jewish law and/or tradition, is always resolved in favor of human rights, and that this does not diminish Judaism, but in fact makes it stronger… So when does circumcision become a bad idea?  If a single child suffers from it directly, or indirectly from complications, or God forbid a single child should die (which is not common but does happen) isn't that enough warrant a re-evaluation? ... I believe it is time for the Reform movement to consider how contemporary medical and ethical studies on circumcision put the practice at odds with its cherished values of human rights and social justice -- values which, in my opinion, are truly what defines and are central to Judaism."
- Thomas Wolfe, Why do we need an alternative Brit Milah (Bris) ceremony?

Sample Peaceful and Ethical Covenant Texts
מ List of Intactivist Moyels & Rabbis by Dr. Mark D. Reiss (50+ Intactivist Moyels & Rabbis)
מ The Bris Shalom (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony
מ Bris Shalom (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony by Norm Cohen
מ Brit B'lee Milah (Covenant Without Cutting) Ceremony
מ Sample Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Covenant #1
מ Sample Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Covenant #2
מ Song for an Intact Jewish Boy Welcoming Ceremony
מ Our Son's Bris Shalom, or Welcoming Covenant By Brenda Platt
 
“There are tens of thousands of intact Jewish boys and men around the world who thank their lucky stars they were not circumcised.”
- Brian Levitt, Jewish Intactivist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child,
Testimony at the California Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Circumcision.

Jewish Intactivists in the USA
מ Beyond the Bris Milah - Jewish Intactivist Blog (U.S.)
מ Jews Opposing Circumcision (U.S.)
מ Jews for the Rights of the Child (USA) *New Group
מ Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision - A Film by Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon (U.S., Israel)
מ Dr. Ron Goldman: Questioning Circumcision - A Jewish Perspective (U.S.)

"We are educated and enlightened Jews who realize that the barbaric, primitive, torturous, and mutilating practice of circumcision has no place in modern Judaism.” - Jews Against Circumcision

Jewish Intactivists in Israel
מ Gonnen - Protect the Child (Israel)
מ Af-Mila- Israeli Jewish Intactivists (Israel)
מ Intact Son - the Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation (Tel Aviv)
מ Kahal - Giving Up Brit Milah (Tel Aviv)

Monday
Sep122011

Today’s Jews Reject Circumcision and Choose Peaceful Welcoming Covenants

The past century has been marked by the declaration and protection of universal human rights, as well as a marked increase in the quality of life, both in the United States and worldwide. With these improvements, higher expectations regarding a child’s right to bodily autonomy have become socially accepted and legally mandated. Many argue that since female children in the U.S. are protected by a 1996 law banning female circumcision, this law should be expanded to include the protection of male children as well.

There are a growing number of Jews who are becoming increasingly vocal in questioning both the ethics and the legality of circumcision. Jews, including some Rabbis in the Reform Judaism movement have been advocating for an end to circumcision for over 170 years. An increasing number of courageous Jewish and Israeli historians, scholars, fathers, mothers, intellectuals and activists have raised serious objections to circumcision surgery. The idea that an individual has the right to their own body, regardless of age, sex, gender, and religious affiliation is a recent notion in history. More and more Jews in America and worldwide are choosing not to circumcise their sons. These Jewish voices against circumcision are just starting to enter the mainstream conversation.

What follows is a collection of statements from Jews who question the ethics of forced, under-age circumcision.

"I believe circumcision is a major mistake...  Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition." 
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision

"We are educated and enlightened Jews who realize that the barbaric, primitive, torturous, and mutilating practice of circumcision has no place in modern Judaism.”
- Jews Against Circumcision

"…as a progressive reform Jew I was raised to believe that any conflict between human rights and Jewish law and/or tradition, is always resolved in favor of human rights, and that this does not diminish Judaism, but in fact makes it stronger… So when does circumcision become a bad idea?  If a single child suffers from it directly, or indirectly from complications, or God forbid a single child should die (which is not common but does happen) isn't that enough warrant a re-evaluation? ... I believe it is time for the Reform movement to consider how contemporary medical and ethical studies on circumcision put the practice at odds with its cherished values of human rights and social justice -- values which, in my opinion, are truly what defines and are central to Judaism."
- Thomas Wolfe, Why do we need an alternative Brit Milah (Bris) ceremony?

 “The practice of circumcision predates Judaism. Peoples as diverse as the Jews, Muslims, and South African Xhosas all practice it, but none of them invented it. The specific origins of circumcision are lost in antiquity, but the earliest records of the ritual are from Africa…. Circumcision was never universal in Judaism. Notable Jews from Moses to Theodore Hertz (the founder of Zionism) declined to circumcise their sons. Today in Sweden only 40% of Jewish boys are circumcised.”
- Norm Cohen, What About Religious Circumcision?, NOCIRC of Michigan

“Coming from a European background… where many Jews reject a brit milah as an archaic and barbaric ritual… This author grew up in France in a traditional Jewish family. Not a single male of her generation or her children’s generation within her large family (or in her circle of Jewish friends) was ever circumcised.” 
- Nelly Karsenty, Humanistic Judaism, 1988.

“There are tens of thousands of intact Jewish boys and men around the world who thank their lucky stars they were not circumcised.”
- Brian Levitt, Jewish Intactivist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child
Testimony at the California Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Circumcision.

"I'm continuing to struggle with the whole issue of circumcision and my Jewish identity and circumcision as a part of Judaism... Just like so many parts of the scriptures are homophobic, misogynistic, racist, classist. We're letting all those go away, all those really frightening passages about stoning adulteresses to death and so forth. Most people, Jews and Muslims, I suppose, don't take those seriously anymore and it's easy. There's no question. They don't struggle with it. It's just ink on a page. It just becomes a story, an allegory of the past, and they might not even think about whether that did ever happen, but it’s passed from history into mythology. So, I'm hoping and affirming that circumcision will also pass into mythology." 
 - Tina Kimmel, PhD, MSW, MPH, Director of NOCIRC, East Bay Area 
 Maternal Child Health Epidemiologist, co-founder of
Jews for the Rights of the Child

“In Israel, opposition to circumcision has happened in just two decades, and now these “rebels” number in the tens of thousands, according to Ronit Tamir, founder of Kahal, a support group for parents who choose not to circumcise their children.” 
- JEWISH WORLD, 3/11/10.

"I should like to suggest to my fellow Jews that perhaps the time has come to redeem the foreskin itself, rather than sacrifice it. Surely some substitute might be found for this rite... that would be preferable to this assault upon and mutilation of a newborn infant..." 
 - Professor George Wald, M.D, Harvard University Professor, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine 

“I knew we weren’t the first Jewish parents to keep our child intact; what did everyone else do? The internet provided a few examples of Bris shalom ceremonies… Since our Bris shalom, I’ve run across others in the same predicament; I’ve had conversations about whether or not we made the right choice (we did), if my son is “actually Jewish” (he is), and if we would make the same choice again (we would). The only thing I would change is my own hesitation. If there’s anything the past year and a half of parenting has taught me, it’s to trust the instincts that keep my child safe and happy.… And when our son inevitably holds us accountable, as kids seem wont to do, I look forward to saying, “We thought you were already perfect,” rather than “It seemed like the thing to do.” 
- Pamela, Intact and Jewish, Natural Parents Network, July 14th, 2011

“Mutilation of the divinely made human body is as far from Judaism as anything could be… Torah mentions circumcision only cursorily. Circumcision is conspicuously absent from the Sinai commandments, and from the subsequent listings of rules… Deut30:6 mentions circumcision metaphorically at most, “circumcise your heart.” No less likely is the meaning, “tame your pride.” 
- Israeli Linguist Vadim Cherny, How Judaic is the circumcision?

“The truth is that we don’t fully understand the psychological consequences of infant circumcision. We can point at things like the interruption of breast feeding cycles and the like, but beyond that, it’s hard to say with any degree of certainty. Ronald Goldman Ph.D. has done some work on this and believes that the psychological effects are profound. One thing that I think is clear is that infant circumcision is more dangerous than adult circumcision. Infants are far more susceptible to infectious disease than adults. I am in favor of abandoning the practice of *infant* circumcision. What a person does to his own penis when he reaches the age of consent is not my concern. From a Jewish perspective, I have argued that the religious cost of abandoning infant circumcision is not as high as people think.” 
 - Eli Ungar-Sargon, My Debate with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Comments, Jewschool, July 27th, 2011 

“When all is said and done, circumcision is really a human rights issue. What right do any of us have to permanently remove a normal, healthy, sensitive part of another person's body without their consent? I have no problem with an adult male who chooses to be circumcised. I do have a problem with an adult who makes that decision for a child. I have known too many men, both Jewish and Christian, who resent the fact that they were circumcised." 
- Laura Shanley, A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision

“There are many abandoned practices that are widely considered unethical nowadays, even though they are ordained in the Torah. These include slavery, polygamy, and corporal punishment for working on the Sabbath. Just like slavery, polygamy, and corporal punishment, the practice of circumcision is a cultural practice that predates Judaism. If Judaism is to survive, then we must accept circumcision for what it is, a form of torture and sexual mutilation, and stop it. There are other ways we can teach our children to respect women and sustain a happy marriage and family life.” 
- Jonathan Friedman, founder of IntactNews.org

“Voices within the progressive Jewish community have been struggling with their practice of ritual circumcision for over 170 years, since the beginnings of Reform Judaism. Some of circumcision’s biggest public critics have been Jews.  
Alternative bris shalom (covenant of peace) ceremonies have been performed by Jews to meet the symbolic and communal obligations of the traditional ritual by welcoming newborns into the Jewish community without the pain, trauma, bodily violation, and risks associated with the surgery.” 
 - Norm Cohen, What About Religious Circumcision?, NOCIRC of Michigan 

“Judaism has always been a core piece of my identity, even though my practice and understanding have evolved over the years. I have great reverence for what we hold as spiritual. When the authorities of my tradition define the sacred in a way that violates the most elemental and life-giving forces, mothers and babies, then something is very wrong. That which is not ethical, cannot be spiritual. That is a basic Jewish tenet… It is Judaism that has taught me that reverence for life, the principle of pikuah nefesh, and the mandate incumbant upon all of us to distinguish (l’havdeel) between what is holy and what is profane. It is precisely these fundamental tenets of Judaism that have led me to conclude that circumcision is not holy in terms of Jewish ethics.… What is most satisfying to me is knowing that I have helped a number of parents, particularly Jewish parents, come to the conclusion that they can be good Jews and leave their baby intact.”
- Miriam Pollack, Defying Convention: An Interview With Miriam Pollack, Beyond the Bris, July 27, 2011

“Of all the ancient customs still practiced, circumcision is the one we should be least proud of. I say this as a father who succumbed to communal pressure and had my son circumcised. He suffered not just a little, and despite the involvement of a doctor who applied topical anaesthetic. I then investigated the scientific record and was amazed to learn that a preponderance of experts worldwide consider circumcision medically unjustified, a painful, risky amputation of a functional body part….. Is this a price worth paying for a badge of identity hidden under men's pants, a badge shared with Muslims and Aboriginals? Few Jews would wish to resume animal sacrifices or polygamy, yet circumcision shares with these practices a tribal origin outside of Judaism, and fealty to it is distinctly in the realm of the irrational.
Thus the need for the emotional blackmail so many parents are subjected to; the myths of no pain and no risk; the hugely exaggerated claims of potential health benefits. Throughout Europe, health services abjure routine circumcisions because of the doctors' commitment to upholding the Hippocratic Oath not to do harm. Jewish parents should embrace that simple principle and take up welcoming ceremonies for our babies that are violence-free and egalitarian.
- Victor Schonfeld, Director of the documentary War Cries: It’s A Boy!, Jerusalem Report, November 22, 1999.

“More and more Jews are choosing to not circumcise their boys.. (Thank God!) And just as we accept Jews who do not keep kosher or observe as we do, we recognize the amazing diversity of practice and belief that is part and parcel of our astounding heritage.
Genital cutting does not create a 'mensch' (a conscious-caring individual). Indeed it is more of an obstacle to our natural development and [a] source of anger and confusion. Coming from an Orthodox background and having lived in Jerusalem, i am very aware that the problems of domestic violence and sexual pathology are just as prevalent in the observant communities as in the secular. Deuteronomy 10:16 says: "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart..." In Hebrew, the word foreskin is 'orlah'... there is an 'orlah' covering the ear and the heart... What is preventing us from 'hearing the word of God and opening our hearts in love and compassion.. This is the real circumcision that needs to occur. and it is a life-time learning ceremony…. 'Brit Milah' is the hebrew for the covenant of 'circumcision'. 'Mila' also means 'word'.. We can welcome the child with songs and praises and holy words, gentle tones, and soft touches and smiles.”
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision

“AS AN INCREASING NUMBER OF AMERICANS – including a sizable number of American Jews – question the act of male circumcision, a group of San Francisco activists are advocating to ban circumcision… Many of the leading activists against circumcision around the country are Jewish.” 
- JERUSALEM POST, Challenging the Circumcision Myth [PDF], (Israel) 04/10/2011

“In any other arena of medical or religious practice, such an activity as the willful removal of healthy, God-given, purposefully functioning tissue (without sufficient mitigation of the pain that it causes) from a fully conscious infant, would be immediately recognized, in both Jewish and American law, as the trespass it is.
Or, to put it another way: It's a mitzvah to fight to end circumcision!”
- Samuel Richmond, a Jewish Intactivist in southern California, The Case for Brit Without Milah, Circumstitions.com

“…as recently as the mid-nineteenth century, in Eastern Europe and Russia there was a widespread move to stop [circumcision]… Led by women–what a surprise!–who thought the practice barbaric and patriarchal, the movement eventually even convinced Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, who refused to allow his own son to be circumcised.” 
- Michael S. Kimmel, Professor, SUNY Stony Brook, TIKKUN, Volume 16, May/June, 2001.

“It seems to me that for liberal Jews the choice comes down to this. Do we want to in some way circumscribe the sexual possibilities of our sons by performing a body modification when they are infants so as to bear witness to the covenant? Are there not other ways to bear witness? Are there not other ways to maintain our distinctiveness from the society around us? Despite having circumcised my two sons, the more I think about the issue, the more likely – were I a resident of San Francisco – I would support the referendum.” 
- Sandford Borins, Ph.D., The Circumcision Referendum: A Liberal Jewish Perspective
Sandford Borins, Ph.D., is a professor of Management at the University of Toronto.

As someone who was raised in the ways of traditional Orthodox Jewish life, I recognize that circumcision cannot be compatible with Judaism, or any belief system, that treasures the sanctity of human life.” 
- Jonathan Friedman, founder of IntactNews.org.

“When you take the religion out of circumcision, and really look at what the procedure actually involves, it is easy to see why more and more people are choosing to leave their sons intact. I thank my lucky stars for the Internet and the information it provided me on circumcision (as well as a million other mommy related questions). The Internet has allowed me to question the status quo; to find out why things are the way they are. A privilege our foremothers did not have. For me, the mere thought of giving birth to my precious baby at home without any medical intervention and then cutting off a part of his body eight days later just seemed absurd. I told myself that if G-d created my son with a foreskin, then he was going to keep it.” 
 - Stacey Greenberg, My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin, Mothering Magazine. 

“All attempts to justify a custom such as this by means of one or another symbolic explanation collapse in the presence of the baby, in agony under the mohel’s knife.… there is enough of worth in Judaism to guarantee its survival, even after it rids itself of this disturbing custom. It may even be strengthened this way.” 
- Professor Hanoch Ben-Yami, Central European University, Letters, Azure, Summer 5767 / 2007, no. 29

"I am confident that my people have such an abundance of life-enhancing, life-affirming and mind-opening traditions, that our identity and sense of cultural self-heed will happily survive our outgrowing of circumcision, a cruel relic which has always felt to me like an aberration at the heart of my religion." 
- Dr. Jenny Goodman, Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective

“Jewish parents are known for our devotion to our kids, so questioning circumcision comes naturally. Jewish practice has evolved over the millennia to keep up with modern ethics and scientific understanding. We now know that infants feel pain and that traumatic experiences in infancy can have lasting consequences. We also have an understanding of the function and purpose of the foreskin. Given these and other factors, I feel that the time has come for the covenant to evolve into a symbolic welcoming ceremony.” 
- Rebecca Wald, host of BeyondtheBris.com, a website for Jewish parents of intact sons.

“I happen to agree with you that foreskin removal should be illegal. It is a mutilation… I agree with you that men should not be circumcised. . . I don’t know where this circumcision came from, some people feel it’s a religious thing, it’s about health, it’s about cutting off the foreskin makes your penis less likely to get cancer. There’s been all kinds of myths. I think it’s nonsense. That if you’re born that way, it seems to me it’s a mutilation to cut it off. The same way in Africa they sometimes cut off a woman’s clitoris and they think that’s justified. I think our foreskins were cut off in order to desensitize us, and I think it was a bunch of religious nudnicks who decided they didn’t want us going around fornicating so they cut off some of our penis skin.”
- Howard Stern, Talk Radio Host, Howard Stern, Jewish Intactivist by Rebecca Wald, J.D., BeyondTheBris.com, March 31, 2011

“…as recently as the mid-nineteenth century, in Eastern Europe and Russia there was a widespread move to stop [circumcision]… Led by women–what a surprise!–who thought the practice barbaric and patriarchal, the movement eventually even convinced Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, who refused to allow his own son to be circumcised.” 
- Michael S. Kimmel, Professor, SUNY Stony Brook, TIKKUN, Volume 16, May/June, 2001.

"Without compromising either our children’s identity or the survival of our people, we can invite all of our Jewish children, our baby girls and our baby boys, into a brit b’lee milah, a covenant without circumcision, and school them in the wisdom, love, and beauty of the Jewish tradition. Unlike Christianity, which teaches that a child is born into original sin and must be redeemed, Judaism teaches that the soul is pure — only the penis needs “redemption.” The truth is that the whole baby is pure, body and soul, including his tender genitals, and it is both a mitzvah and our most sacred duty to protect him." 
- Miriam Pollack, Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power 
Tikkun 26(3), 2011.

“I'm 37, and have been sitting on a mountain of grief and rage for 17 years, since I discovered what was stolen from me while reading a critique of circumcision in a hip, underground, alternative Jewish newspaper I found at a campus Hillel, of all places… In the Torah, God also commands us to stone people to death, burn animal sacrifices, and take slaves from neighboring nations. Jews have given up those unholy practices, why shouldn't we give this one up too? The majority of Swedish Jews are intact, and guess what? They're still Jewish! Judaism, whether a cultural, ethnic, or religious identity, does not require circumcision. Jewishness is solely defined by parental lineage or conversion, not by genital cutting. Today, there are Jewish baby welcoming ceremonies for all genders free from genital cutting… Maybe you'd get used to Brit Shaloms instead, I hear they're quite enjoyable for everyone involved - especially the baby.”
- Matthew Taylor, The case against circumcision, MondoWeiss​, August 4, 2011

“What is most satisfying to me is knowing that I have helped a number of parents, particularly Jewish parents, come to the conclusion that they can be good Jews and leave their baby intact.… This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make on behalf of your baby. If you choose to circumcise, it can never be undone. If you choose not to, he can make the choice later in life. To Jewish parents, I would remind them that their child is Jewish if the mother is Jewish, according to Jewish law. If they raise him in a Jewish home and give him a dynamic, joyful Jewish education, this child will embrace his Jewish identity with love and commitment.” 
 - Miriam Pollack, Defying Convention: An Interview With Miriam Pollack, Beyond the Bris, July 27, 2011

“So it’s quite obvious that to question any aspect of Judaism, including circumcision is not anti-Semitic. It is very much in keeping with Judaism’s rich tradition of discussion and debate…So what if parents don’t want the milah, but still want the brit? Several different alternative rituals have been created by parents and rabbis of all branches of Judaism. They’re typically called a Brit Shalom, so rather than covenant of cutting, it’s a covenant of peace. They tend to involve all the traditional aspects of a traditional bris, including all the same participants and blessings, just without the actual circumcision. Some will simply use the same naming ceremony used for girls. It’s not particularly common, but it is being used more often now than in the past. Support groups exist for parents of intact Jewish boys. Cars now bear bumper stickers which read, “Jews embracing wholeness. Saying no to circumcision”. Even in Israel, there are Jewish organizations that oppose brit milah. One non-profit organization in Israel working to stop circumcision took its case to the High Court of Justice in 1998 and maintained in its petition that “in a modern democratic society there is no place for the ‘barbaric’ ceremony which mauls a child who does not have any say in the matter." The movement is largely made up of Reform parents, but it is visible in other areas as well. Moshe Rothenberg is a Conservative Jew living in an observant Jewish community in Brooklyn, yet he did not circumcise his son. (Rothenberg).  The Af-milah newsletter is an Israeli newsletter dedicated to ending brit milah.  Those who question and refuse to have a brit milah aren’t necessarily doing it because they have assimilated or because they’re anti-Semitic. Some feel this way after careful study of Jewish texts and observances.” 
- D.A. Huffman-Parent, Brit Milah : Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics?

“It's been a (long) half month since George's birthday, birthday party and naming ceremony. The week was a little harried, a little different than I'd imagined, but in the end everything worked out beautifully. The fog lifted in San Francisco just in time for George's aunties to make it and in the absence of challah or a mohel, my baby got his Hebrew name just the same. 
When I was researching the bris shalom, I found very few resources online for parents who, like us, were trying to welcome and name their son… We found some scripts and sat down together to craft a ceremony with only the meaningful-to-us and none of the extras or concessions. The result was a short, sweet and informal gathering with babies running around, friends and family sharing well wishes, bread and honey and -- most importantly -- an intact baby boy with a brand-spankin'-new Hebrew name. 
Here is the script. I realize this won't be a riveting post for most people, but my hope is that someone might stumble across it while researching for their own son's bris shalom, and find a useful bit or support for the somewhat thankless task of naming an intact Jewish boy…” 
- Stefanie, The Naming, Very, Very Fine, December 29, 2010 

“I wish I hadn’t been circumcised. I could show you studies that I believe demonstrate the deleterious effects of the procedure on infants, the costs to the adults that had the procedure done earlier in life, and the falsity of the supposed health benefits of circumcision, but I won’t. There are dedicated organizations that can convey that information far better than I could. What I have to offer you is my personal experience... I grew up going to shul [synagogue], celebrating the holidays, going to Sunday School, having a Bar Mitzvah [the Jewish coming-of-age, at 13 for boys], and even going to a Jewish Day School, yet today I am in almost complete control over the extent to which Jewish culture and Jewish religion play a role in my daily life. The exception is circumcision…” 
 - Shea Levy, To the Mohel Who Cut Me ,BeyondTheBris.com, June 4, 2011

“I'm 37, and have been sitting on a mountain of grief and rage for 17 years, since I discovered what was stolen from me while reading a critique of circumcision in a hip, underground, alternative Jewish newspaper I found at a campus Hillel, of all places… In the Torah, God also commands us to stone people to death, burn animal sacrifices, and take slaves from neighboring nations. Jews have given up those unholy practices, why shouldn't we give this one up too? The majority of Swedish Jews are intact, and guess what? They're still Jewish! Judaism, whether a cultural, ethnic, or religious identity, does not require circumcision. Jewishness is solely defined by parental lineage or conversion, not by genital cutting. Today, there are Jewish baby welcoming ceremonies for all genders free from genital cutting… Maybe you'd get used to Brit Shaloms instead, I hear they're quite enjoyable for everyone involved - especially the baby.”
- Matthew Taylor, The case against circumcision, MondoWeiss​, August 4, 2011

"We have been Jewish Intactivists for many years, passionately working to educate people on the harms of circumcision. …we both realized that we too would like to see the circumcision of unconsenting minors actually OUTLAWED — yes, even for Jews (and Muslims etc).
- Brian Levitt and Tina Kimmel, co-founders of Jews for the Rights of the Child.

“Sorry to disappoint, but that's the end of our story. Or at least the end of the story of Zachary's bris. There was no circumcision on that day. We had decided not to circumcise our son. Although he enters a world filled with violence, he would enter it without violence done to him. Although he will no doubt suffer many cuts and scrapes during his life, he would not bleed by our hand… We welcomed Zachary into our family on that morning without a circumcision. We decided that we want him to live in a world without violence, so we welcomed him without violence. We decided that we want him to live in world in which he is free to experience the fullness of the pleasures of his body, so we welcomed him with all his fleshy nerves intact. And we decided that we want him to live in a world in which male entitlement is a waning memory, and in which women and men are seen--in both ritual and in reality--as full equals and partners. So we welcomed him equally, his mother and I, in the time-honored way that desert cultures have always welcomed strangers to their tents: We washed his feet.” 
 - Kimmel, Michael S. 2001. The Kindest Un-Cut. Tikkun 16(3): 43.

Monday
Sep122011

Merck Researcher Admits: Gardasil Guards Against Almost Nothing

Source:  Population Research Institute

By Joan Robinson and Steven W. Mosher  Weekly Briefing: 2009 (v11)

On the morning of 2 October 2009, one of us (Joan) joined an audience of mostly health professionals and listened as Dr. Diane Harper, the leading international developer of the HPV vaccines, gave a sales pitch for Gardasil. Gardasil, as you may know, is the new vaccine that is supposed to confer protection against four strains of the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Dr. Harper came to the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination to prove to us the real benefits of Gardasil. Sadly, her own presentation left me (Joan) and others filled with doubts. By her own admission, Gardasil has the doctors surrounding me glaring at a poor promise of efficacy as a vaccine married to a high risk of life-threatening side effects.

Gardasil, Dr. Harper explained, is promoted by Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, as a “safe and effective” prevention measure against cervical cancer. The theory behind the vaccine is that, as HPV may cause cervical cancer, conferring a greater immunity of some strains of HPV might reduce the incidence of this form of cancer. In pursuit of this goal, tens of millions of American girls have been vaccinated to date.

As I sat scribbling down Merck’s claims, I wondered why such mass vaccination campaigns were necessary. After all, as Dr. Harper explained, 70% of HPV infections resolve themselves without treatment in one year. After two years, this rate climbs to 90%. Of the remaining 10% of HPV infections, only half coincide with the development of cervical cancer.

Dr. Harper further undercut the case for mass vaccination campaigns in the U.S. when she pointed out that “4 out of 5 women with cervical cancer are in developing countries.” (Harper serves as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) for HPV vaccination in the developing world.) Indeed, she surprised her audience by stating that the incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. is so low that “if we get the vaccine and continue PAP screening, we will not lower the rate of cervical cancer in the US.”

If this is the case, I thought, then why vaccinate at all? From the murmurs of the doctors in the audience, it was apparent that the same thought had occurred to them.

In the U.S. the cervical cancer rate is 8 per 100,000 women.1 Moreover, it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. The current death rate from cervical cancer is between 1.6 to 3.7 deaths per 100,000 women.2 The American Cancer Society (ACS) notes that “between 1955 and 1992, the cervical cancer death rate declined by 74%” and adds that “the death rate from cervical cancer continues to decline by nearly 4% each year.”3

At this point, I began to wriggle around in my seat, uncomfortably wondering, is the vaccine really effective? Using data from trials funded by Merck, Dr. Harper cheerfully continued to demolish the case for the vaccine that she was ostensibly there to promote. She informed us that “with the use of Gardasil, there will be no decrease in cervical cancer until at least 70% of the population is vaccinated, and in that case, the decrease will be very minimal. The highest amount of minimal decrease will appear in 60 years.”

It is hard to imagine a less compelling case for Gardasil. First of all, it is highly unlikely that 70% or more of the female population will continue to get routine Gardasil shots and boosters, along with annual PAP smears. And even if it did, according to Dr. Harper, “after 60 years, the vaccination will [only] have prevented 70% of incidences” of cervical cancer.

But rates of death from cervical cancer are already declining. Let’s do the math. If the 4% annual decline in cervical cancer death continues, in 60 years there will have been a 91.4% decline in cervical cancer death just from current cancer monitoring and treatment. Comparing this rate of decline to Gardasil’s projected “very minimal” reduction in the rate of cervical cancer of only 70 % of incidences in 60 years, it is hard to resist the conclusion that Gardasil does almost nothing for the health of American women.

Despite these dismal projections, Gardasil continues to be widely and aggressively promoted among pre-teen girls. The CDC reports that, by 1 June 2009, over 26 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed in the U.S.4 With hopes of soon tapping the adolescent male demographic, Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the vaccine, and certain Merck-funded U.S. medical organizations are targeting girls between the ages of 9 and 13.5 As CBS news reports, “Gardasil, launched in 2006 for girls and young women, quickly became one of Merck's top-selling vaccines, thanks to aggressive marketing and attempts to get states to require girls to get the vaccine as a requirement for school attendance.”6

Just as I began, in my own mind, to question ethics of mass vaccinations of prepubescent girls, Dr. Harper dropped another bombshell. “There have been no efficacy trials in girls under 15 years,” she told us.

Merck did study a small group of girls under 16 who had been vaccinated, but did not follow them long enough to conclude sufficient presence of effective HPV antibodies.

If I wasn’t skeptical enough already, I really started scratching my head when Dr. Harper explained, “if you vaccinate a child, she won’t keep immunity in puberty and you do nothing to prevent cervical cancer.” But it turned out that she wasn’t arguing for postponing Gardasil vaccination until later puberty, as I first thought. Rather, Dr. Harper only emphasized to the doctors in the audience the need for Gardasil booster shots, because it is still unknown how long the vaccine immunity lasts. More booster shots mean more money for Merck, obviously.

I left Dr. Harper’s lecture convinced that Gardasil did little to stop cervical cancer, and determined to answer another question that she had largely ducked: Is this vaccine safe?

Here’s what my research turned up. To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse effects include Guilliane Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many others. The CDC acknowledges that there have been 44 reported deaths.7

Dr. Harper, who seems to specialize in dropping bombshells, dropped another in an interview with ABC News when she admitted that “The rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.”8 This being the case, one might want to take one’s chances with cancer, especially because the side effects of the vaccine are immediate, while the possibility of developing cancer is years in the future.

In the clinical studies alone, 23 girls died after receiving either Gardasil or the Aluminum control injection. 15 of the 13,686 girls who received Gardasil died, while 8 died among the 11,004 who received the Aluminum shot. There was only one death among the group that had a saline placebo. What this means is that 1 out of every 912 who received Gardasil in the study died.9, see p. 8 The cervical cancer death rate is 1 out of every 40,000 women per year.10

The numbers of deaths and adverse effects are undoubtedly underestimates. Dr. Harper’s comments to ABC News concur with the National Vaccine Information Center’s claim that “though nearly 70 percent of all Gardasil reaction reports were filed by Merck, a whopping 89 percent of the reports Merck did file were so incomplete there was not enough information for health officials to do a proper follow-up and review.”11 On average, less than 10 percent—perhaps even less than 1 percent—of serious vaccine adverse events are ever reported, according to the American Journal of Public Health.12

Given the severity and frequency of Gardasil adverse reactions, I definitely wasn’t the only one in Dr. Harper’s audience who winced when she dismissed most Gardasil side effects as “easily just needle phobia.”

Due to the young age of the trial participants and the short duration of the studies, the effects of Gardasil on female fecundity have not been studied. I did discover, in my post-conference reading, that Polysorbate 80, an ingredient in the vaccine,13, see p. 12 has been observed in a European clinical study to cause infertility in rats.14 Is this an additional concern? Time will tell.

I do not wish to give the impression that Dr. Harper presented, even inadvertently, a consistently negative view of her own vaccine. She did tout certain “real benefits,” chief among them that “the vaccine will reduce the number of follow-up tests after abnormal PAP smears,” and thereby reduce the “relationship tension,” “stress and anxiety” of abnormal or false HPV positive results.

To me, however, this seems a rather slim promise, especially when weighed against the deaths and side effects caused by the Gardasil campaign. Should millions of girls in the United States, many as young as 9, be put at risk, so that sexually active adults can have less “relationship tension” about false positive HPV results? Is the current rate of death, sterility and serious immune dysfunction from Gardasil worth the potential that in 60 years a minimal amount of a cervical disease (that is already decreasing on its own) may perhaps be reduced?

But what I really wanted to know is why Merck is so eagerly marketing such a dangerous and ineffective vaccine? Aren’t there other ways they could make a profit? While Merck’s behavior is probably adequately explained by the profit motive, what about those in the Health and Human Services bureaucracy who apparently see Gardasil as medicine’s gift to women? What motivates them?

I (Steve) think that they see Gardasil as what one might call a “wedge” drug. For them, the success of this public vaccination campaign has less to do with stopping cervical cancer, than it does with opening the door to other vaccination campaigns for other sexually transmitted diseases, and perhaps even including pregnancy itself. For if they can overcome the objections of parents and religious organizations to vaccinating pre-pubescent—and not sexually active--girls against one form of STD, then it will make it easier for them to embark on similar programs in the future.

After all, the proponents of sexual liberation are determined not to let mere disease—or even death—stand in the way of their pleasures. They believe that there must be technological solutions to the diseases that have arisen from their relentless promotion of promiscuity. After all, the alternative is too horrible to contemplate: They might have to learn to control their appetites. And they might have to teach abstinence.

Friday
Sep022011

Say NO! To Circumcision



ONGOING ACTION CAMPAIGN:
Tell Doctors To Put Down The Knife!

America’s medical organizations all acknowledge that infant circumcision is NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY—yet their members are responsible for nearly all the infant circumcisions performed in the United States!

This October, pediatricians are gathering in Boston for the American Academy of Pediatrics' annual conference, and Intact America will be there once again to tell doctors that circumcision is wrong for baby boys. Thanks to our ongoing Put Down The Knife! campaign, you too can tell doctors that circumcision is a harmful violation of a child’s right to bodily integrity, and it needs to end NOW.

If you haven't yet sent your letter, write to America's doctors right now and demand that they tell parents the truth about circumcision. If you’ve already sent your letter, then please consider asking your friends, family, and coworkers to send letters of their own. The larger our community, the louder our voice! You can also help by donating to our campaign:

Donate Here

 

NEWS & UPDATES

♦ The Centers for Disease Control has resumed its focus on “routine” circumcision, and is preparing to release for public comment a revised statement on its recommendations for male circumcision. STAY TUNED—once this statement is made available to the public, we’ll let you know, and we’ll tell you how you can make your opinion known

♦ The New York Times recently published an article about how more and more parents are breaking with tradition and choosing to keep their sons intact. Intact America’s Executive Director, Georganne Chapin, is quoted in the article.
Read the article >>

♦ Intactivist and filmmaker Eli Ungar-Sargon has produced a film about circumcision, “Cut,” and screenings are being scheduled all around the country. To find out more, visit the film’s website.
“Cut” tour information >>

♦ Last month, representatives of Intact America traveled to Rome for the International AIDS Society’s annual conference. We’d like to give a very public thank-you to those activists—Brian O’Donnell, Amy Callan, David Wilton, and Martin Novoa—who worked so hard to get our message heard by policymakers and health professionals: circumcision does not prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
More about the International AIDS Society’s conference in Rome >>

 

HELP US PLACE AN OPEN LETTER IN THE BOSTON GLOBE!

This October, Intact America will attend the 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in Boston. This year’s conference is critical. With all the media attention focused on circumcision right now, we need to be there to explain to pediatricians, medical students, and health professionals WHY so many people are questioning this surgery, and to ask them to Put Down The Knife! Thanks to a very generous donor, we’ve been able to reserve our booth. But this year, we also need to make a very public statement that reaches as any people as possible. Here’s our plan:
  • Publish an Open Letter in the Boston Globe on the opening weekend of the conference, demanding that pediatricians Put Down the Knife! and stop cutting America’s baby boys.
  • Place an ad in the special AAP daily conference newspaper, inviting attendees to stop by Intact America’s booth and learn about Intact America’s work, and why they should care about the problem of infant and child circumcision in the United States.

Will you help us make these important public statements?

It will cost thousands of dollars to place both of these ads, and we need your help to make it happen—to reach the medical community and garner media attention. This opportunity requires us—and you—to ACT NOW. Please make your tax-deductible donation today and help us tell doctors to stop cutting our baby boys.
DID YOU KNOW?

More and more men are coming forward and talking about how circumcision has negatively affected their lives. The recent Global Survey of Circumcision Harm is a grassroots, all-volunteer effort that has shed a much-needed light on the plight of men trying to come to terms with the damage done to them when they were infants. So often doctors say “the baby won’t feel a thing" or “the baby won’t remember.” The poignant accounts on the survey’s website, though, tell a different story. Read the results of the survey thus far, and consider participating and sharing your own story.

 

Source:  http://www.intactamerica.org