WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS OPINIONS THAT MIGHT BE OFFENSIVE TO MY RELIGIOUS READERS. IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK. I PROMISE THE POST AFTER THIS WON'T BE AS INTENSE.
For the record, I have been putting off writing this post for a long time. It is a subject that causes me a lot of anger and at the same time I know it will offend many of my readers. But this subject is so very important to me that I had to finally share my opinion.
Imagine you walk into a family's living room. The room is packed with family and friends. Everyone is smiling and having a good time. They are celebrating the birth of a new baby boy. How wonderful! Everyone is mingling, catching up and of course talking about the new baby boy. The proud parents are basking in the company of those close to them and showing off their son to everyone.
"Look how cute he is".
"Isn't he just perfect".
Everyone nods in agreement - that is except for his foreskin.
Than the mohel walks in and the ceremony begins. The baby is passed on a pillow between close friends and family. The designated god-father is the last one to be handed the baby. The mohel comes to the baby and opens the diaper and starts saying a series of prayers.
The mohel's objective is to remove the baby's foreskin as a sign of the covenant between the Jewish people and "god". The foreskin contains more than 20,000 specialized nerve endings, making it the most sensitive area on any human, boy or girl. The foreskin is fused to the penis glans, or head, much in the same way a fingernail is fused to a finger and must be torn off. Once the foreskin is separated, a clamp is often used to protect the glans so that the foreskin and all of its nerves can be cut off. After this there are a few things that can happen.
In the ultra-orthodox world, the mohel will use his mouth to suck some blood from the open wound, which he will than spit out. This practice is known as mitzitza be'peh, or sucking by the mouth. This is an extremely archaic and extremely dangerous (not to mention horrifyingly inappropriate and disgusting) practice. It causes the death of tens of babies every year, due to infections passed from the adult mohel, to the victim. This dumb practice that is only legal because it is part of a religious ceremony was dropped by most non fundamentalist streams of Judaism because it is so dangerous. Instead, the mohel will most often use a glass tube to draw some of the blood out.
After this blood sacrifice, the baby is given a name, making him a full member of the Jewish nation and everyone eats some more in celebration of this "wonderful" event.
In my opinion this is THE most horrific thing practiced in Judaism today. Simple facts: A baby just had the most sensitive part of his body cut off in sacrifice to some deity that he has not chosen. No one asked this young baby if he wanted to donate 40%-60% of the skin of his penis to a "god" of which he never heard. This baby will now live the rest of his life with a very much desensitized penis. The once internal and protected glans, which is the most sensitive remaining part, is now unprotected and over exposed. It will constantly rub against clothing for the rest of the baby's life and will develop a callus in a process called keratinization causing further loss in sensitivity. Many circumcisions, are cut very tightly causing discomfort during erection. When this baby becomes a middle-aged man, he will be 60% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
I know many of you are thinking, "but I was always told it was healthy". Yes, we were all told that, but it was a lie. The main "health risk" of the foreskin is infection because the person did not keep themselves clean. In today's day and age, when we can all shower very often, it is very very easy to keep the body and the foreskin clean. Even if it was not that easy, you just don't slice off a part of a body because its hard to clean. And of course, the number one "health benefit" that people love to preach about is that it lowers the risk of catching HIV when having unprotected sex. But do you know what really lowers the risk of HIV? NOT HAVING UNPROTECTED SEX! But the Catholic Church and other religious fundamentalists are very anti condoms, so they would rather have people slice up their genitals than "god forbid" wear a condom.
Since the risks and damage greatly out ways any once thought to be real benefit, the only real reason to do this unnecessary procedure is religion. And it is wrong for the person who's foreskin is in question to not have any say in the matter. If an adult male is so dedicated to his faith that he would like to have his penis mutilated, he is free to do that. But the unnecessary mutilation of a baby's penis without his permission is simply wrong.
I know what a sensitivities subject this is to religious and non religious Jews alike. This is a core part of their Jewish identity. When I first came across these facts, I was encouraged to research the matter on my own so that I could prove all these claims wrongs. I was sure that all the new information I had just learned was part of sum anti-Semitic conspiracy. But the more I read, the more i learned it was all true and the more horrified I became by the practice.
I always say that as much as I disagree with religion, everyone should have the right to practice the religion of their choice, as long as they are not hurting anyone. Well, in this case, every single boy comes out hurt, and damaged for life. This is a horrible practice that should be reexamined and stopped.
Here are some links that you might find interesting:
50 Reasons to Leave it Alone
An Open Letter to Mohel Michael Henesch
Cut is a documentary about circumcision from a Jewish perspective. I highly recommend it.