Category Archives: Judaism

A Silly Article Claiming Jewish Parents are Rejecting Circumcision

Most Jews, myself included, consider a Bris to be an exceptionally joyous occasion, that is beloved by everyone. It is so standard, so normal, that it’s never been in dispute. At least I didn’t think so, until I read an alarmist (contrived and biased?) article from the New York Times that ponders “When Jewish Parents Chose Not to Circumcise.

Naturally, such a pronouncement would—and has—caused quite a bit of controversy.

Stated reasons why parents take issue with the procedure reads like a laundry list of assorted nonsense: fear of causing pain or “mutilation,” considering it an outmoded custom, and claiming it’s sexist against daughters. The main reason, however, appears to be a strong objection from a non-Jewish spouse.

Based on the title alone, one is led to believe that this issue is being debated within the Jewish community at large. I know, from my own personal experience, that it’s absolutely not. Just to be clear: I have never heard of a single case involving two parents who were both raised Jewish refusing to circumcise their son. (Maybe they’re out there, but it is so far from the norm, it’s barely worth considering.)

Most people, regardless of their religion, consider circumcision to be positive, healthy, and much more aesthetic. Certainly, there are cultural differences, but if given the choice, I think most grown men would not choose to undo it.

It’s interesting to note that the folks interviewed for the article were a single mother and interfaith couples. One of them, a Jewish man, is quoted as saying that the fight over circumcision with his non-Jewish wife was “the hardest thing we’ve ever had to deal with,” and they ended up forgoing it because she was so against it. (It’s quite obvious that had the wife been Jewish, they would have kept the tradition.) He goes on to say: “I didn’t want it to end our marriage and tear apart our family.”

The sad fact is that the odds of such marriages lasting are slim to none, because the husband and wife are so completely opposite. Without a common belief system to the guide the family, it is nearly impossible to thrive. I don’t say any of this because I’m against interfaith couples. I say it because every stat for the past 30 years has proven that when Jews intermarry, the children are rarely raised Jewish and that cycle perpetuates with the grandchildren.

If someone chooses to intermarry—and everyone deserves that choice–they need to go into it with their eyes open. It’s highly unlikely that a non-Jewish spouse will want to raise a child according to Jewish tradition. It may start with a fight over the Bris, which inevitably will lead to a fight over a Baptism, and a Christmas tree, and an Easter Bunny, and so on.

There are certain issues which are so important, no compromise can exist. If a Jewish parent believes circumcision is right because it is the physical manifestation of the Covenant, that argument will not sway someone who doesn’t believe it to begin with.

So, I guess the article should’ve been titled “When Interfaith Couples Choose not to Circumcise.” Of course, that would take a lot of steam out of the hysteria and defeat the purpose…

Throughout history, there have always been Jews that rejected Judaism. (That’s fine; we’re not keeping anyone by force and if they’re unhappy, we have to let them go.) Those of us in the mainstream will continue to circumcise, until the end of time, not because we have to, but because we want to! Because we know, deep in our hearts, without any doubt, that it’s right, it’s good, and it’s the best possible option for every Jewish male.

 

Readers are welcome to chime in with their opinions.

A Repulsive Encounter with Jewish Voice for Peace

Anyone who’s been blogging for a while is used to receiving unsolicited emails. On a daily basis, I get numerous notes and pitches, most of which have a Jewish theme. Some are relevant, others are not, but the occasional few are downright repulsive.

Unbeknownst to me, my email was somehow added to a mailing list for a group called Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston Chapter. (If you’re not familiar with them, google it. I won’t link to them for obvious reasons.)

This radical, anti-Zionist group opposes many existing and proposed Jewish settlements in Israel, condemns AIPAC, spreads fake, pro-Arab propaganda, has been classified as a hate organization by the ADL, and, most shocking of all, actually supports the BDS movement that aims to bankrupt the State of Israel!

According to their own website, these are their stated goals, all of which are rejected by every legitimate member of the Jewish community who know it’s simply not true:

  • An end to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
  • Full and equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel
  • An end to unconditional U.S. military aid to Israel.
  • Recognition of Palestinian refugees right to return home.

Obviously, this group is on the opposite end of the spectrum from my views, as I wrote last year when I discussed my utter contempt for JVP and their activities. Nothing has changed since then. There is not one idea they put forth that I don’t completely, wholeheartedly reject. I support America. I support Israel. I support Jewish values. I support rational thinking. I support truth, justice, and honesty. These sickos do none of the above.

On the deepest, most personal level, it saddens me that there are other Jews in the Boston area that participate with this band of misfits. (Yes, it’s their right to do so, but it’s also tragic.) Obviously, I can easily remove myself from a mailing list and I don’t have to attend any of their crazy events. What I can’t do, however, is pretend that it’s ok. It’s definitely not ok and those of us who truly want to help our fellow Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, have to warn others about the danger.

Not all Jewish groups are good; that’s the unfortunate truth. Some of them actually have a hidden anti-Semitic agenda. Before we give our time, our money, or our stamp of approval to them, it is vital that we research what we’re supporting. I challenge anyone to prove to me that JVP has anything good to offer. (They don’t!) Remember: they can’t exist without funding and if that money dries up, they will stop.

Beyond not giving them money, we should be combatting the lies, I think, through blogs and social media. When they tweet something that’s blatantly false, we can refute it. When they post fake pictures on Facebook, we can refute that, too. There are reasonable, legal, and healthy ways to fight hate, after all.

If, like me, you denounce Jewish Voice for Peace and other sick groups like them, make it known publically. Good, truthful, God-glorifying speech has to eventually drown out the lies and filth, so please don’t stay silent!

July 24 on PBS: 2 Jewish Docs

On Monday, July 24, PBS will be airing two Jewish documentaries, both of which are Holocaust related.

Shalom Italia

“Three Italian Jewish brothers set off on a journey through Tuscany, in search of a cave where they hid as children to escape the Nazis. Their quest, full of humor, food and Tuscan landscapes, straddles the boundary between history and myth—a profound, funny, and endearing exploration of individual and communal memory.”

Joe’s Violin

“A donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship. 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez show how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times, and how a small act can have a significant impact.” 

Tune in at 10:00 PM for what will surely be an entertaining experience.

Can Hair Be Considered “Jewish?”

Does hair texture have a religious connotation? According to an exceptionally inane article titled: “Why my daughter and I still straighten our Jewish curls,” the answer would seem to be yes…according to the author, that is.

Personally, I am amazed that someone who is actually Jewish would perpetuate such a ridiculous stereotype! First of all, Jews come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some members of the Tribe have curly hair and others have straight. Some of us have dark hair and others are naturally light (not the majority, but you get the idea). To label a single type of hair “Jewish” is not only insulting, it’s inaccurate.

The author further explains: “I don’t straighten my hair because I want to hide my Jewish identity… The truth is, it’s much easier to manage my hair when it’s straight. I also like the way it looks smoothed out at this stage in my life.”

Why in the world would straightening one’s hair be considered trying to hide your identity?! Clearly, this lady is not only confused, but also seems to feel guilty over a non-existent crime she’s committing.

Most ladies—and many young girls as well—are constantly trying out new styles. We dye it, we cut it off, we grow it long, etc. As someone who has naturally stick-straight hair, I’ve often envied curly heads and when I was little, I even had a perm. Regardless of whether I’ve worn my hair straight or curly, it’s never had any impact on my Jewish identity.

And that’s only texture. Let’s not even get into the debate about color (are fake blondes masquerading as Gentiles? I think not).

With so many critical issues impacting the Jewish community, wasting time and effort on something as insignificant as hair texture is downright ridiculous. Worry about a rise in Anti-Semitism, soaring Intermarriage rates, worldwide Islamic terrorism—those are important. Hair doesn’t even rate in the Top 500 concerns.