Jewish Journal


June 27, 2011

Weird updates in the battle over circumcision bans


Jonah Lowenfeld has an interesting post about just how weird the circumcision wars are getting. Here’s a, um, snippet from Bloggish:

On one side, you’ve got a small group of religious Jews using Facebook to invite people to San Francisco’s Union Square on November 9. In the event that the ballot measure passes, the organizers plan to hold a public bris, or Jewish ritual circumcision, as a form of protest. The organizers haven’t yet identified a baby.

On the other side is an anonymous, dedicated publicist of all things opposed to circumcision. Despite repeated requests, this individual won’t reveal his or her name to anyone—not even to the very intactivists whose work he (or she) publicizes.

To be sure, individuals and organizations on both sides of this debate have been pushing their agendas in all kinds of ways ever since San Francisco announced last month that the measure—- which would ban circumcision of any male under the age of 18 for any reason other than a medical emergency—had qualified for the November 2011 ballot.

Opponents of the ban have talked about introducing legislation in the California State Assembly and the House of Representatives, and last week a group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the hopes of keeping the measure off the November ballot entirely.

On the intactivist, side, the Bay Area Intactivists participated in yesterday’s Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco to promote their cause, according to a Facebook page. And who can forget “Foreskin Man,” the comic book by intactivist Matthew Hess, which was roundly critiqued as anti-Semitic?

Even so, Heshy Rosenwasser thinks his idea of what to do if the ballot measure passes—hold a public ritual circumcision of the first Jewish baby boy born in or around San Francisco on or after Nov. 2—breaks new ground.

“I’m not familiar with any case in which a bris was held as a protest,” Rosenwasser said. “I think this may be the first time that would be done.”

I, for one, hope it doesn’t come to that. Read the rest here.

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