Sunday, December 23, 2012

Third Year Brings Change for Beyond the Bris


What I love about Beyond the Bris is that it brings together different perspectives. I enjoy writing posts but it’s far more exciting for me to publish contributions from others. Jewish circumcision is a complex issue that touches on the sacred cows of sex, religion and politics.

The topics for discussion are limitless and there is always room to explore things in new ways. New and different voices are the heart and soul of Beyond the Bris.  
It is with great excitement that I am announcing that Beyond the Bris has its first new host. Molly McFly (that’s a handle, her real last name is Raskin) is presently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in gender studies and human sexuality at Indiana University. She is a widely followed micro-blogger and vlogger (that’s video blogger) who understands how to use social media to connect with young people. Her recent guest post, Uniting the Next Generation of Parents Against Circumcision, was extremely well done and well received. As one commenter put it: “Now, these are the conclusions that I expect from Jewish intelligence.” I agree wholeheartedly and have confidence that Molly will grow the project in unexpected and wonderful ways.

Although Molly will take over much of the functioning of Beyond the Bris for the time being, and will have broad freedom to change-up the project in ways she feels will be beneficial, I will continue to stay closely involved as the publisher. Meanwhile, I’m working on a few new projects that I am very excited about relating to the pro-intact Jewish movement.  

Beyond the Bris came on the scene before the efforts of circumcision critics gained real momentum. The attempted circumcision ban in San Francisco had not yet taken place, among a cascade of other events that continue to keep our issue before the public. Looking back just a few years to December of 2010, few in the U.S. were even aware that circumcision was something to be questioned. Today everything has been turned on its head. Many have awakened to circumcision complications and other troubling aspects of the procedure. What I find most amazing--and Molly can attest to this herself--is that on college campuses today, the general feeling among students is that circumcision surgery is not a good thing. Many young people, regardless of their religious backgrounds, are planning to leave their future sons intact. This shows how quickly sentiment can change when people are exposed to logical thinking.

Despite the recent (and incorrect) statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, I predict that over the next two decades circumcision numbers in the U.S. will continue their downward trend. Many parents will use their own good judgment and not blindly follow the party line.

Thanks to the efforts of concerned people across the globe, the world is now seeing infant circumcision for what it is: a sad violation of human rights that some well-meaning parents are still unfortunately buying into. I said in my very first post that I felt a cultural shift would be needed to reduce the circumcision rate. It is gratifying to see this shift taking place far more rapidly than I could have ever imagined.

Many reading this recognize circumcision trauma and support the rights of individuals to keep the functional sex organs they are born with. However, being a spokesperson isn't for everyone. To make a difference, it isn’t necessary to run a website, share information about circumcision with expectant parents, or attend rallies. With the gift-giving season upon us, please consider making a small financial contribution to Beyond the Bris.

If everyone who visits our site and supports our mission gave just $10, it would be amazing what we could accomplish. Especially now, with a new host who is brimming with great ideas, our project is in dire need of funding. The reality is that without it, many plans will not go forward. If you are not called to support our particular project, please consider supporting another grassroots Intactivist organization this year. The larger umbrella groups do amazing work and also deserve all of our support, but with just a little funding smaller groups are able to accomplish a tremendous amount.  

Best wishes to everyone for the coming year. May 2013 bring much joy and happiness for all who dream of a world where children are treated with love and compassion, where individual freedom is respected, and where peace reigns among nations.


  1. Jews have been speaking out against bris and against the American gentile obsession with circumcision for longer than you seem to appreciate.

    In 1975, George Wald, a Harvard University biologist and unaffiliated Jew, submitted a long essay to the New Yorker, giving his thoughts on circumcision. The New Yorker refused to publish it, and that essay was not made available on the internet until this year. The history of intactivism would be very different if the New Yorker had published his essay in the 1970s, because the movement would have enjoyed the prestige of having been founded by a Nobel Laureate in medicine who was a proud Jew.

    Rosemary Romberg published her first article on circumcision in Mothering magazine, in 1978. Ms Romberg is married to a secular Jew, by whom she has had 6 children.

    Edward Wallerstein, a Jewish atheist, published a short book critiquing American medical circumcision in 1980. This book thoroughly demolished all claims, made up to the date of its publication, that circumcised was healthier. Reading this book 30 years ago made me an intactivist.

  2. I am in love. Would Molly and Rebecca marry me?

    With sites like these, I believe we can save ourselves (humankind) from ourselves (humankind, again).