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Book Description:

Endorsed by five rabbis, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective is the first critical examination of the growing controversy of male infant circumcision with special attention to contemporary concerns of Jews.

Consider these facts:

Circumcision is not universal among Jews.

Jewish press articles have questioned circumcision.

A male child born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, whether he is circumcised or not.

Jewish circumcision has never had anything to do with health concerns.

Circumcision conflicts with significant Jewish laws and values.

An Israeli organization publicly opposes circumcision.

The circumcision debate in the Jewish community is visible and growing. An increasing number of Jews are choosing not to circumcise their sons. Yet for those Jews who are expecting a child and who want to explore their options, support for not circumcising their son can still be relatively hard to find.

The purpose of this book is to offer a clear understanding of what circumcision involves, to raise awareness about various concerns, to encourage Jews to take another look at our assumptions and feelings about circumcision, and to help resolve deep ethical, intellectual, and emotional conflicts. Though many readers will probably be expecting a child, the larger Jewish community may also recognize a need for considering some of the questions raised here. The practice of circumcision really concerns all of us.

According to the Council of Jewish Federations 1990 National (American) Jewish Population Survey, "ninety percent define being Jewish as being a member of a cultural or ethnic group." Less than half associated their Jewish identity with religion. Only 13 percent believe "the Torah is the actual word of God." According to the survey, the general trend is away from traditional Judaism and toward a nontraditional approach.

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective is written from a nontraditional viewpoint and is intended particularly for nontraditional Jews. It addresses the main concerns that nontraditional Jews are examining. This book is intended to stimulate further discussion on this important subject. We owe it to our children to educate ourselves and do what is best for them.

(For those who choose not to circumcise their son, the Appendix includes examples of alternative rituals.)



Generally, we circumcise our sons without really knowing the effects of what we are doing. We prefer to think of circumcision as a trivial matter. We believe that because it has been done for so many years by so many, that it must be harmless. This book eloquently and effectively questions these assumptions. For the first time, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective provides the Jewish community with a clear, rational, and sensitive examination of this practice. Dr. Goldman discusses all the aspects of Jewish circumcision that would be of interest to most Jews.

I learned a lot from reading this book. In recent years researchers have discovered much about infants and the effects of surgical procedures on them. (Whether there is a religious ritual or not, circumcision is a surgical procedure.) There is also evidence that infant circumcision can have long-term effects lasting even into adulthood. Dr. Goldman presents this new information in a lucid, well-documented discussion.

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective is not just the view of one person. It contains the words of dozens of Jews, including rabbis past and present, who question circumcision. There are many compelling statements made by those who have witnessed circumcisions and have been circumcised. Their words and feelings give us reason to pause and reflect.

The author's psychological approach to the topic is especially valuable. It is exactly what we need to take a close look not only at ritual circumcision, but also at ourselves. With insight, understanding, and compassion, this book answers questions we have been afraid to ask, and asks questions that have not yet occurred to us.

For some readers, the contents of this book will confirm what you have felt for decades. For others, this book will challenge much of what you believe. Whatever your feelings are regarding circumcision, this book can affect you profoundly.

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective speaks for many more of us than we are willing to admit. It performs a great service to Jews because it opens a long overdue discussion. I agree with Dr. Goldman that questioning circumcision will ultimately benefit and strengthen the Jewish community.

I highly recommend Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective particularly to expectant mothers and fathers early in their pregnancy so that they may have ample time to ponder its contents. I also recommend it to rabbis who counsel on the merits of circumcision, so they can offer a more informed perspective on this ritual.

Rabbi Raymond Singer, Ph.D. Neuropsychologist


TIP:*Read part of this book online -FREE! Includes front and back covers, table of contents, index, and six excerpt pages. Go to the link below and then choose "look inside".*

About the author:
Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., is a psychologist, educator, and executive director of the Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, a nonprofit educational organization. He gives lectures and seminars on the psycholosocial aspects of circumcision and counsels parents and circumcised men. Dr. Goldman has been a featured guest on local and natioal radio and television shows and has been cited in numerous newspapers and periodicals.

Ronald L. Goldman * Paperback: 132 pages * Publisher: Vanguard Pubns * ISBN: 096448956; Pub. date: June 1998

Where You Can Buy:

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective at Amazon.com