In Israel, some rebel against circumcision

Circumcision

PHENOMENON GROWING

"The phenomenon is growing, I have no doubt," said Ronit Tamir, who founded a support group for families who have chosen not to circumcise their sons.

"When we started the group 12 years ago we had to work hard to find 40 families ... They were keeping it secret and we had to promise them we'd keep it secret," she said. "Then, we'd get one or two phone calls a month. Nowadays I get dozens of emails and phone calls a month, hundreds a year."

Tamir believes Jews in today's Israel find it easier to break religious taboos.

"People are asking themselves what it means to be Jewish these days," she said, and that leads some to question rules of all kinds, including circumcision.

In societies around the world who circumcise boys for non-religious reasons, out of habit or tradition or because of the perceived health benefits, the practice can be controversial.

Rates of circumcision in Europe are well under 20 percent, while in the United States, according to 2010 statistics cited by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than half of newborn boys continue to be circumcised.

The American Academy of Paediatrics said in August that the health benefits of infant circumcision - potentially avoiding infection, cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases - outweighed the risks, but said parents should make the final call.

But where the decision is ultimately a matter of personal choice for many families around the world, for Jews who question the tradition, it is more complicated.

"It is the covenant between us and God - a sign that one cannot deny and that Jews have kept even in times of persecution," said one well-known mohel who has been performing circumcisions in Israel for more than 30 years. He asked not to be named to avoid being connected to any controversy.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.