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Intactivist Jews Increasingly Vocal in Israel  

BRIS- CIRCUMCISION intactivist Jews Increasingly Vocal in Israel

Intactivism—the movement to question circumcision—continues to win social acceptance worldwide, including in the Jewish state of Israel. Jews in the holy land are increasingly open to questioning circumcision. In recent years, Jewish Intactivists have published articles and essays in some of Israel’s largest papers including Haaretz, 927mag, Jewish Business News, the Jerusalem Post and others. A variety of active Intactivist groups such as Gonnen (Protect the Child), The Israeli Organization Against Genital Mutilation/Intact Son, and Kahal (a community group for parents of intact sons) have sprung up. The leaders of Kahal say that thousands of Israeli Jews are choosing to keep their sons intact.

We are Jews who are proud of our heritage and religion, and who see a need to make adjustments to protect the well-being of our sons. Judaism is a religion of constant evolution and ethical advancement. Early in Judaism animal sacrifice was abandoned, and Rabbis chose to abolish capital punishment. Many Jews and Israelis recognize that it is time that circumcision shift into a symbolic ritual such as the well-popularized Brit Shalom. Over 130 Rabbis are willing to do a Bris ceremony without circumcision, and this includes some Rabbis in Israel.


Update on the Intactivist Jewish Movement in Israel

“I am a Jewish filmmaker and I have been invited by the Council of Europe to its Parliamentary Assembly next week. By screening my television documentary It’s a Boy! For European parliamentarians I aim to help shore up their commitment to protection of children’s right to physical integrity – a key step toward ending ritual circumcision of boys….From a very young age attending Jewish schools my tpersonal preoccupation was the Jewish thirst for justice and our empathy for suffering. Tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, the Jewish injunction to heed the distress of living beings, became the wellspring of the filmmaking I’m most proud of, including films about Israeli society, its past, present and future.…Had I known such facts earlier, my son would have remained intact, as is the case with increasing numbers of Jewish boys today, including thousands in Israel… Parents like me know from our remorse that it was wrong to make such an irreversible, painful and dangerous decision for our children. We owed our children protection, and we owe it to our communities not to be silenced when we have erred as parents. …boys from all backgrounds need the protection of the rule of law – secular law – wherever they may live. The necessity for this now in Israel is obvious. To deprive children of Jewish and Muslim descent in any country of full legal protection because of their lineage amounts to a most perverse kind of prejudice against those children. As for any attempt by real anti-Semites to latch onto this issue, that would be denounced publicly. But then real anti-Semites are not usually the people keen to protect Jewish children from harm, and real anti-Semites would probably like nothing better than continuance of a practice that stokes anti-Jewish feelings and for generation after generation inflicts suffering on Jewish boys. Children’s right to physical integrity should be what Israeli parliamentarians defend – rather than a brutal anachronism.”

Victor Shoenfeld, Circumcision – defending the indefensible, Jerusalem Post,  01/22/2014


Jewish Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon in Tefiillin

Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon: Facebook Campaign Protests AAP Circumcision Policy

“There is a small but growing movement of Jewish parents who reject ritual circumcision, and I think it’s going to spread fast because they’re saying out loud what so many Jewish parents are thinking: ‘Why?’ And this, I believe, is the best answer to the problem: Stand up for your kid and say no. If you fear and abhor the ritual, don’t let anyone perform it on him. He’ll still be Jewish if you raise him Jewish – whatever anyone says.”

Larry Derfner, Stand up for your son: Say ‘no’ to ritual circumcision, 972mag

“Hard though it may be to hear, irreversibly removing a healthy body part – in this case, part of a boy’s genitals – without consent, violates a person’s right to bodily integrity, a cornerstone of post-Holocaust human rights law. It also undermines that child’s right to an open future….
Supporters of circumcision also say it’s an ancient, meaningful practice. But neither longevity nor meaning is usually accepted as sufficient moral justification to override individual rights. As one Orthodox Jewish father, Elie Jesner, puts it, “Mankind has been doing horrendous things for thousands of years: slavery, capital punishment, condemning homosexuals, oppressing women. That is not a club of actions I want to be part of.”
From a Jewish perspective, there are other issues. First, circumcision does not confer Jewish status. As Shaye Cohen, professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy at Harvard University, explains, “Male and female offspring of a Jewish mother are Jewish by birth under Jewish law; the male offspring are Jewish by birth even if they are left uncircumcised.” Second, biblical circumcision was not as extensive as today’s variant, which is actually an innovation of rabbis in the Hellenic period trying to stop Jewish men from restoring their foreskins. Evidently, definitional Jewish practices can and have evolved.

Given all of this, it’s not surprising that some Jews are questioning the practice. A 2006 online survey reported in Haaretz found that nearly a third of parents of boys would prefer to forgo circumcision, but have it done primarily for social reasons. Israel is now home to the intact support group Kahal, while in the United States, Beyond the Bris and Jews Against Circumcision have sprung up.

Jews who question circumcision from the point of view of human rights and medical ethics should be respected, not demonized. But all critics of circumcision must be vigilant about the company they keep, distancing themselves from anyone not exclusively motivated by child protection. There is no place for anti-Semitic arguments or imagery…

Meanwhile, the Council of Europe should stand firm. If it backs down and denies some children their rights because their parents adhere to the Jewish tradition, it would single out only those children for lack of protection. Now that really would be anti-Semitic.
Dr. Rebecca Steinfeld, It cuts both ways: A Jew argues for child rights over religious circumcision, Haaretz, Nov. 26, 2013.

“Israeli circumcision critic Eran Sadeh (featured in the above news broadcast) has been working hard to educate Jewish people in Israel about the downsides to foreskin removal. He is the founder of the Israeli group Gonnen Al Hayeled (Protect the Child) and he is also a Beyond the Bris contributing writer. There can be no doubt that Sadeh’s advocacy is playing a large role in getting Israeli parents to think critically about this once universally accepted tradition.”

Circumcision In Israel Not Taken For Granted Anymore,

”After my exposure to the information regarding circumcision, I refuse to mutilate my baby. I don’t have the right and I do not agree! He was born whole and he will stay whole! His integrity is his full right! The Religious Court has no right to do that! No one in the whole world is authorized to force me to mutilate my son, to cut his penis!… In particular, religious oppression, unnecessary cutting of the penis of a helpless baby? A non-reversible surgical operation! A foreskin does not renew itself!

The baby can not express his own will. The right to decide is his alone. It is his body! The right, is not mine, nor anyone else’s in the entire world, but his own only!”[

Elinor, Israeli Mom, Jewish Mom Makes Intactivist Case in Israel.

“When my beloved son was born I didn’t circumcise him. It was an easy and natural step, which I saw as an expression of my existence as a free man.
I’m opposed to circumcision, and also have reservations about the use of the term ‘brit milah’ (‘covenant of circumcision’). It involves cutting the infant’s sexual organ, and I am opposed to the cutting of the sexual organs of boys and girls. Until now, I have naturally focused my efforts at persuasion on the population of secular parents. After all, it’s quite strange that people without any religious faith anxiously keep track of every heartbeat of their infant in the womb, run with him to the monitor, sonogram and every possible pregnancy test, guard him carefully from the moment of his birth – and then hasten to cut his sexual organ.

The ‘Jewish circumcision, ’ however, is performed by a mohel who is not necessarily a doctor, and always without anesthesia. This is an invasive and brutal act – abuse of a helpless infant, which I am certain will be outlawed in the future… According to Jewish law, a Jew is someone born to a Jewish mother and, according to a more progressive approach, anyone who sees himself as belonging to the Jewish people. There were periods and communities in Jewish history in which circumcision was not practiced – from the days of ancient Egypt up to the Communist bloc. Moses was opposed to circumcision and didn’t circumcise his son, and the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan uncircumcised.

Circumcision does not determine that a person is Jewish, and non-circumcision does not determine that a person is not Jewish. So to come and claim that the preservation of Jewish identity rises and falls with the cutting of the sexual organs of infants? That this is the most basic symbol that guarantees the survival of Jewish society? That this is the strongest tie connecting the Jewish people to itself and its God? More than faith? More than the Torah and the Ten Commandments? More than the State of Israel and the Land of Israel?

In light of such groundless claims, both religious and nonreligious Jews should start asking themselves questions.”

Uri Misgav, Let’s talk about circumcision. The idea that Judaism is inextricably linked to circumcision must be challenged and corrected. Haaretz, Jan. 2, 2014.

Photo:  AAP Circumcision Policy



  1. ZviGross1

    February 8, 2016 at 3:19 am

    I no longer will subscribe to this anti Torah site of half truths and deceptions. The Torah is supreme and uncircumcised are called ” arelim “and had the holy temple would exist they wouldn’t be counted amongst the Jews celebrating the exodus through “Korban Pesach”.

  2. clockworkgirl21

    February 8, 2016 at 4:16 am

    ZviGross1 So you look down on people who won’t mutilate their children? How good of you. Piss off.

  3. ZviGross1

    February 8, 2016 at 5:24 am

    You might as well look in the mirror and look down at yourself. For 3500 years G-D covenant protected us and it will as.long as there is a sky and earth, but you and your ilk will not be caunted amongst them. You will just dissappear from amongst us like other like you have during the generations.
    I wish no ill upon you, while cutting yourself off from the Jewish people.

  4. KKatz

    February 8, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Circumcision is not compatible with modern scientific understanding of biology and the foreskin. 

    Unless you agree with Maimonides and want to deliberately damage your son’s sexuality, it’s time to move past this archaic cruelty.

  5. MH Bertaux Navoiseau

    February 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

    KKatz Actually, Maimonides may very well have been insidiously against circumcision:

    “Circumcision undoubtedly weakens lust and
    sometimes pleasure.”

    is well-known how useful the foreskin is to the alleged member.”
    real aim is to inflict physical pain to the member…,

  6. ZviGross1

    February 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    The medical community itself is split regarding circumcision but you guys know better.
    One who doesn’t cicumcise, is outside of the covenant of G-D with the Jewish people. They probably don’t observe the laws of Kashrut of family purity etc. They are Jew by birth only and not by practice, and ghey will naturally be cut off from the Jewish nation through assimilation.
    Your opinions are insignificant for a G-D fearing observant Jew.

  7. BaruchZeichner

    February 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    One might wonder about the brutal cutting of infant boy’s penises and the violent psychopaths that run Israel…is there a connection?  Would Netanyahu be sane and capable of empathy and compassion if he had not been cut as an infant?  We can never know for sure but it is worth considering.  How has being cut limited Bibi’s capacity for sexual pleasure?  Has his capacity for empathy and compassion also been effected by what I call “the first betrayal” for baby boys? I’m glad to see this absurd dogma being rejected.

  8. ZviGross

    February 9, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I can’t believe that a person by the name of Baruch -blessed – will write such an absurd comment!!! There aren’t more compassionate and helpful humans  anywhere on earth as observant, circumcised Jews, which only proves the opposite of your false assertions!!! 
    Google “Charity amongst observant Jews” please.

  9. BaruchZeichner

    February 9, 2016 at 2:01 am

    ZviGross please let me know exactly which parts of my post you disagree with rather than this blanket statement that says nothing.  Why is circumcision a good thing?  Do you disagree with the assertion that is is traumatic to the infant boy?  Based on what do you make such an assertion?  Let your eyes be opened.  Even religious people can see what’s real if they open their eyes.

  10. BaruchZeichner

    February 9, 2016 at 2:26 am

    ZviGross PS. Netanyahu is a murdering psychopath.  Prove otherwise.

  11. ZviGross

    February 9, 2016 at 5:18 am

    BaruchZeichner ZviGross
    You may argue with G-D’s commandments, but I ,will follow him. We will keep circumcising our children and our father in heaven knows what is good for us and our boys.
    Those who don’t follow, they simply disappear, get lost to assimilation. It’s your and any one else’s choice. We the followers of the creator ,the choice has been made for us, just like it was made for our forefathers before us for.

  12. BaruchZeichner

    February 9, 2016 at 5:39 am

    ZviGross Well there you have it.  I don’t believe in your god.  Furthermore I do believe that mutilating babies to please your imaginary god is a sick thing, and any god that required mutilation of children at birth should not be followed.  The abrahamic paradigm needs to go once and for all.

  13. MH Bertaux Navoiseau

    February 9, 2016 at 11:16 am

    ZviGross BaruchZeichner  Wrong! The first one did choose for himself!!!

  14. Danala123

    May 1, 2016 at 6:20 am


  15. MH Bertaux Navoiseau

    February 9, 2017 at 9:51 am

    ZviGross1  The Llewelllyn encyclopedia says that “arelim” does not exist.

    only “erelim”, that are angels”, does.

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