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Silverstone doesn’t take a kind view of circumcision

by Anthony Weiss, JTA

May 5, 2014 | 2:26 pm

Alicia Silverstone appears at a book signing for “The Kind Mama” at the Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., on April 22, 2014 – Book Passage – Corte Madera, CA. (Jonathan Shensa / PR Photos)/JTA<br />

Alicia Silverstone appears at a book signing for “The Kind Mama” at the Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., on April 22, 2014 – Book Passage – Corte Madera, CA. (Jonathan Shensa / PR Photos)/JTA

Alicia Silverstone has had a long and varied career in the public eye, from her star-making turn in the 1995 film “Clueless” to her reemergence a decade later as a vegan and animal rights activist. But in her latest iteration as a celebrity mom, Silverstone is taking on a new role — intactivist.

In her new parenting book, “The Kind Mama,” Silverstone announces that she did not circumcise her son, Bear Blu, according to the anti-circumcision website Beyond the Bris. Her decision apparently raised some family hackles.

“I was raised Jewish, so the second my parents found out that they had a male grandchild, they wanted to know when we’d be having a bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony traditionally performed 8 days after a baby is born),” she wrote, according to Beyond the Bris. “When I said we weren’t having one, my dad got a bit worked up. But my thinking was: If little boys were supposed to have their penises ‘fixed,’ did that mean we were saying that God made the body imperfect?”

Silverstone’s father was born Jewish and her mother converted before Alicia was born. She was raised in a Jewish household.

Her stance sets her in opposition to recent scientific evidence, which indicates that neonatal male circumcision can have substantial health benefits that significantly outweigh the risks.

However, Silverstone hasn’t been reluctant to buck established medical science. “The Kind Mama” has been heavily criticized for claiming that children don’t need to be vaccinated, an argument that has alarmed pediatric health experts.

The book also has a foreword written by Jay Gordon, a pediatrician who has achieved notoriety as the doctor for notorious anti-vaccination advocate Jenny McCarthy.

Passing on circumcision, by contrast, is far less controversial — the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the health benefits outweigh risks, but that the decision should be left up to parents.

None of that is to say that Silverstone’s parenting approach is clear sailing for the squeamish. Her favored method for feeding her son — pre-chewing, then spitting it into his mouth, like a mama bird — went viral a couple years ago, but it’s not for the faint of heart.


 

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