To Brit or Not to Brit

by Brian on November 25, 2010

in Jewish Holidays and Culture

We recently attended a brit mila in Jerusalem. Prior to the ceremony, the father of the newborn expressed some misgivings about the whole concept of circumcision.

Of course my friend was going to go through with the ceremony – this is Israel, after all, where for a Jewish boy not to be circumcised is rare (although not entirely unknown – see the Israeli anti-circumcision association Kahal). But my friend did share with me a link to the documentary “Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision” (you can see it on YouTube here).

It’s a tough video, at times visually graphic, but more than that, it raises questions that are not easy for a person striving to live a modern, ethical life to balance with an ancient commitment to Judaism that has spanned hundreds of generations.

“Cut” was produced by Eli Ungar-Sargon, who grew up Orthodox. The film includes interviews with a wide variety of Jewish personalities from all walks of the religious spectrum, as well as doctors, historians and part time philosophers.

In the end, my friend’s son’s brit went off without a stitch, so to speak. There was plenty of singing (and some dancing), a festival meal and much food for thought.

If you can find the time, watch the film (it’s an hour long) and leave your comments at the end of this post.

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