A panoramic article on the religious and cultural aspects of circumcision just appeared in Haaretz, Israel’s oldest and most influential daily newspaper. “Even in Israel, more and more parents choose not to circumcise their sons,” the headline glows. The article’s author, Netta Ahituv, covers the territory of conformity, medicine, marital and family discord, and religious identity.
You must read this epic piece. I cannot possibly do it justice, but here are some takeaways: Even in Israel, having an intact penis is at worst no big deal. The dissenting parent gets over it, the grandparents love the kid anyway, and there are no associated medical or “hygiene” problems. Cutting off the foreskin, on the other hand, is painful for the baby and decreases sexual sensitivity for the man. And, perhaps the bottom line of concern to Haaretz’s readership, a boy who is born Jewish, i.e., to a Jewish mother, is still a Jew – whether he is circumcised or intact.