A Jewish Perspective on Circumcision

  • Jenny Goodman


We did not circumcise my son. Instead, we created a beautiful, gentle welcoming ceremony to celebrate his entry into the Jewish people and the world community. Instead of a bris milah, there was a bris blee milah—covenant without circumcision. We reinterpreted the notion of covenant to mean the commitment that we, his parents, made, publicly, to bring him up with love, respect, openness, and gentleness. Friends lit candles for him and shared blessings and poems for him, some in traditional Hebrew, others specially written for the occasion. We had music, prayers, songs, dancing, and we spoke about the meanings of his names and about our decision not to circumcise him. The family and friends who joined us for this celebration included Jews, Muslims, Christians, Quakers, Humanists, and Atheists.


Female Genital Mutilation Jewish People Secular World Happy Birthday Popular Misconception 


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  1. 1.
    Encyclopedia Judaica. vol. 13. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House. 1974:510.Google Scholar

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© Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny Goodman

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