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Jews wishing to ensure their baby’s safety have a simple alternative: opting for the brit shalom instead of the brit milah (“Choice Cut,” 7/30). Judaism has always updated itself for the times. Abraham took only the foreskin, not the life, of his son. The time has come now to end the bloodshed remaining in the tradition. “Do not raise your hand against the boy nor do him any harm.” (Genesis 22:10-12)
I quote a Jewish doctor, Mark D. Reiss: “You do not need to be circumcised to be Jewish any more than the need to observe many other Jewish laws. The bottom line is this: If your mother is Jewish, you are Jewish, period. And in the Reform tradition, patrilineal descent is also accepted. Among Jews in Europe (only 40 percent of newborn Jewish boys in Sweden are being circumcised), South America, and even in Israel, circumcision is not universal. Growing numbers of American Jews are now leaving their sons intact as they view circumcision as a part of Jewish law that they can no longer accept. Alternative brit b’li milah or brit shalom ceremonies (ritual naming ceremony without cutting) are being performed by some rabbis. Increasing numbers of intact boys are going to religious school, having bar mitzvahs, and taking their place as young adults in the Jewish community.”
National Coalition of Free Men