Choosing Brit Shalom Over Brit Milah


Twenty-five years ago my husband and I did something few Jewish parents had. We held a brit shalom ceremony for our son as opposed to a brit milah. We invited guests without saying there would be no circumcision. Dr. Dean Edell (who is Jewish and opposed to circumcision) sent a camera crew for our brit shalom and later used clips from it on different TV programs.

We had a friend who was a rabbi in education, but without a pulpit. It was novel for him to do a brit without mila, but he was willing to do it and risk it. There was also a rabbi in Marin County who was known to do a brit shalom. He was known as a hippie rabbi. He also was willing to do this for us. So we had two rabbis.

Genital Autonomy "Zine" Makes Debut

Social activist and New Yorker Jonathan Friedman has recently published a “zine” on male infant circumcision titled “Genital Autonomy: Why Circumcision Must Be Stopped.” This is a significant project because it is introducing a wide audience to the harms of circumcision in an innovative way—and also in a way that is, at the same time, steeped in historical tradition. In the following interview, Jonathan talks about his project and how those interested in preventing infant circumcision can get involved.

Beyond the Bris:

What exactly is a “zine” for those who may be unfamiliar with the term?


A zine is a pamphlet. Perhaps the most famous example is Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” Zines are made to be mass-produced, which is really easy with photocopiers. The word “zine” is short for magazine, and is pronounced “ZEEN.”