The critically acclaimed documentary on male circumcision by Chicago filmmaker Eli Ungar-Sargon. For more information, or to purchase the unabridged version, visit CutTheFilm.com or find it here at Peaceful Parenting's Amazon store.
Additional resources on Judaism, circumcision, and having a Bris Shalom (non cutting naming ceremony) on this page.
What an incredibly moving and thought-provoking film. I did my own homework when I was pregnant and decided I couldn't bear to put my son through a circumcision, and this film only cemented my feelings. I cried during both bris ceremonies in the film.ReplyDelete
When I had prenatal appointments at Sutter Davis Hospital in Davis, CA, in 2009, my midwife asked me if I planned to circumcise. I said no, and she responded that that was a good thing because otherwise "a pediatrician will have to see you and explain the procedure and the risks, and you'll have to sign a release form." In addition, she informed me that some health insurance companies are considering circumcision to be a "cosmetic procedure" and will no longer pay for it. I'm heartened to hear these things because I've encountered so many (non-Jewish) moms who've chosen circumcision without questioning it.
The circumcision that Abraham and his descendants practiced was something entirely different from modern circumcision. It merely involved cutting the tip of the foreskin, not removing it! This is both a historical and an archaeological fact that can be found in any reference book of ancient culture. The ancient peoples, whether Jew or Gentile, wouldn't have dreamed of doing away with such a useful and pleasure-enhancing part of the body. Nor would God want such a thing! The tip of the foreskin was more than sufficient for fulfilling the bottom line purpose, which was to shed a few drops of blood as a "sign" to all. This is one of the 3 reasons it was instituted during infancy. The tip of a newborn's foreskin hangs loosely past the end of the shaft. There was no "plastic bell" back then to try to pull all of the foreskin away from the shaft in order to cut it off. Ancient peoples couldn't have removed the tightly adhered foreskin even if they had wanted to, without doing considerable harm to the shaft as well. Had they tried, they would have cut off the entire genitalia more often than not (something that happens occasionally in modern times). This is why the two Hebrew words in the Old Testament that were used for Old Covenant circumcision were namal (this is the word God used with Abraham when He first instituted the ritual) and muwl. Namal simply means "clipped," just like the tips of the fingernails are clipped and the ends of the hair are clipped. The Hebrew language has words for "cut off", or "removed" which are entirely different than this word. Muwl is defined as meaning "to curtail, to blunt, to cut shorter." Again, the idea is to take a little off the end, not to cut off. To blunt something is to dull the edge. This is how the relatively short season of Old Covenant circumcision can be reconciled with the fact of creation and God's pronouncement that everything He made was good. Simply put, God never ordained that the foreskin or any other part of the human body should be amputated (i.e. his creation destroyed), unless it became diseased. Our modern invention of foreskin amputation (modern circumcision) took place in Victorian times when several doctors and psychiatrists came up with the idea in hopes of discouraging self-stimulation. It didn't work, but the practice soon became ingrained as "tradition." And there are few things so safely guarded as tradition.ReplyDelete