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Not all Jewish men support male circumcision

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Not all Jewish men support male circumcision, despite the fact that this ritual is inherent to Judaism. Michael Chabon author of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, for instance, is one of these Jewish men.

He wrote in his memoir Manhood for Amateurs,

"Mutilation [is] the only honest name for this raw act that my wife and I have twice invited men with knives to come into our house and perform, in the presence of all our friends and family, with a nice buffet and Weekend Cake from Just Desserts… We have been through all of the standard arguments — hygiene, cancer prevention, psychological fitness, the Zero Mostel tradition . . . and found they are all debatable at best.”

Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the penis Male circumcision practiced as a religious rite is found in the Hebrew Bible, as part of the Abrahamic covenant. The act of circumcision brings a young Jewish baby boy into a covenant with God.

Here are the arguments in favor of circumcision: It provides important health advantages which outweigh the risks, has no substantial effects on sexual function, has a low complication rate, and may prevent the transmission of the AIDS virus.

Here are the arguments opposed to circumcision: It adversely affects penile function and sexual pleasure, is justified solely by medical myths, is extremely painful, and is a violation of a male child’s human rights.

You can read about the controversy here.

What do you think? Is male circumcision a barbarism or a justifiable medical prophylactic? Should Jewish males be circumcised simply because we are told that this ancient religious rite of passage joins them in a covenant with God?

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