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Circumcision Recommended

Circumcision is a strong part of the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish religion as well as Jewish identity and therefore is likely advisable for you. Talk with a rabbi if you, or our spouse, are confused or conflicted about ritual circumcision, and discuss an alternate ritual like brit shalom or brit ben. If you are considering using a physician to circumcise your son shortly after birth, instead of using a mohel on the eighth day, then circumcision may not be as an important religious rite for you as you thought. If using a mohel, please be aware that the CDC1 has issued a report stating that metzitzah b’peh (direct penile/oral suction) puts your son at an even higher risk of  infection and possibly death from circumcision.

All American citizens have freedom of religion. You might consider that, although you are a practicing Jew, your son might not choose that religion for himself and, by circumcising him, you are denying his freedom of religion. Some Conservative Jews, including some Rabbis, do not circumcise their sons, believing that circumcision is inconsistent with the Jewish ethical imperative to not harm another human being.2

This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.

  1. CDC. Neonatal herpes simplex virus infection following Jewish ritual circumcisions that included direct orogenital suction. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2012;61(22):405-9.
  2. Marked in Your Flesh, by Leonard B. Glick, Oxford, 2005
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