Woman fined $140 a day for refusing to circumcise son

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Rabbinical judges in the case said they fear the effect that allowing Israeli Jews to freely decide on the ritual circumcision of their own children might have on the global debate over the issue. 

An Israeli woman is being fined NIS 500 ($140) every day for refusing to circumcise her one-year-old-son, Israel’s Channel 2 reported today. There is no sweeping legal requirement for Jews in Israel to circumcise their children, but the woman is undergoing a divorce process at the Haifa Rabbinical Court, and her husband has appealed to the court to pressure the woman into circumcising the son.

“I’ve been exposed to a lot of information about circumcision and decided not to proceed with the circumcision,” the woman told Channel 2. “I have no right to cut at his genitals and to maim him, and the court has no authority to force me to.” Her lawyer also said the rabbinical court does not have the authority to enforce the procedure, but the secular family court would. The woman went on to add she was unemployed, and cannot afford to pay the fine, which already adds up to NIS 2,500 ($700). She said her husband originally had no objections to avoiding circumcision when the child was born, but changed his mind during the divorce process.

The rabbinical judges in the case said in their decision the woman was opposing the circumcision as a means to bringing her husband back to her. They also referred explicitly to the growing debate around ritual male circumcision elsewhere in the world, and voiced their fear of the precedent that could be created by a Jewish Israeli woman allowed not to circumcise her son.

Written By: Dimi Reider
continue to source article at 972mag.com

39 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

      Bullshit. Good for her, Let’s pay her $140 per day fine. Set up donation system. Totally worth it.

      That was my thought originally. But then I wondered who gets the money? If it was the State, then well, maybe. But what if it goes to the church – it is after all a rabbinical court ruling. And can they enforce this?

      But one thing is for sure – this mother has been on the internet. To put it in football terms:

      Internet 3:0 Church

      • In reply to #4 by GPWC:

        In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

        Bullshit. Good for her, Let’s pay her $140 per day fine. Set up donation system. Totally worth it.

        That was my thought originally. But then I wondered who gets the money? If it was the State, then well, maybe. But what if it goes to the church – it is after all a rabb…

        Good point. Let’s raise the money, tell the church to go to hell and give it to the kid in the form of a college fund or something. Match penny for penny.

    • In reply to #6 by Agrajag:

      Isn’t he supposed to be doing that with his teeth?

      As I understand it, the cut is made with a knife but the detached foreskin is sucked off by the rabbi using his mouth. The article (or another commenter) says that the child’s penis is fiddled with in order to stimulate an erection. I don’t think this is possible since the penis and associated mechanisms are not yet developed – perhaps someone could educate us on that? The other evening on UK TV (Embarrassing Bodies, I think) they showed a circumcision of an adult male. Even with a proper surgeon, super sharp instruments and appropriate modern hospital techniques, the intervention seemed brutal with large quantities of blood involved. I don’t believe that the procedure on a baby is “traumatising” as some commenters suggest because there can be no memories extant from that time in the development of the child’s brain. Nevertheless the whole idea and procedure is profoundly sickening and, of course, unnecessary.

      • In reply to #23 by stuhillman:

        I don’t believe that the procedure on a baby is “traumatising” as some commenters suggest because there can be no memories extant from that time in the development of the child’s brain

        It’s good you phrased that as “belief”, rather than fact, since you cannot know. The “because” part doesn’t work – trauma does not require remembering.

        What is going on in the developing brain of such a young child? Well, the beginnings of learning to live in the world, making noise when in need of attention, the comfort of mother and food, pretty much the same thing in the natural way of things. Able to feel pain, that’s hardly disputed. Maybe it’s some kind of “training up” of your boy, make him tougher by inflicting pain on him by an arbitrary act, out of the blue, from some big stranger, while the parents he trusts – at least up to that moment – stand by and allow it. And not just any pain, but right on the pleasure button, already sufficiently developed to invoke an erection. Well, the kid’s going to learn to mistrust, wouldn’t you think? And continue to mistrust, without remembering why. Or perhaps it’s training to associate pain and pleasure. How is that going to work out? At the very least, it’s one of the first bricks in The Wall. One big disappointment, maybe the first, but surely not the last, to discover the hard way that your parents are not to be trusted. Later on he’ll get his turn, and be in a position to try inflicting pain on some small helpless creature. Maybe to try to find out why it was done to him, what did they get out of it?

        How this differs from the torture advocated by the Pearls in their loathsome child-abuse manual is something you’ll have to explain slowly and in detail, I don’t quite follow.

        Of course, I just made all that up. Using my imagination. I could be wrong. But what if I’m not? Caution alone would recommend ending this unnecessary practice.

        • In reply to #30 by OHooligan:

          …Caution alone would recommend ending this unnecessary practice.

          Or you could use anesthetic.

          Interesting comment, but what you said could apply to an infant getting any medical procedure. I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest that invasive efforts to keep a premature baby alive should not be undertaken as the trauma of this would have such a deleterious effect on the infant that the rest of its life would be hardly worth living or you might be creating a serial killer.

          • In reply to #32 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #30 by OHooligan:

            …Caution alone would recommend ending this unnecessary practice.

            Or you could use anesthetic.

            Interesting comment, but what you said could apply to an infant getting any medical procedure. I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest that invasive efforts to keep a premature baby…

            You are creating a straw man and a false equivalency. Shame on you. Circumcision is NOT a medical procedure to keep a baby alive. It is a ritual, done by non-medical persons with non-sterile instruments for non-medical reasons.

      • In reply to #23 by stuhillman:

        The article (or another commenter) says that the child’s penis is fiddled with in order to stimulate an erection. I don’t think this is possible since the penis and associated mechanisms are not yet developed

        Oh yes it is! The psychological drive to erection/masturbation may not come into action until later in infancy/childhood but arterioles is arterioles and will respond accordingly.

        As I understand it, the cut is made with a knife but the detached foreskin is sucked off by the rabbi using his mouth.

        I believe you’re referring to the Metzitzah B’Peh which is only (now) common amongst the ultra-orthodox. Thankfully, this practise has been called into question since cases have been noted where babies have caught herpes from the mohels. The Wiki article has a reference as to why you might do this – something about avoiding obstruction of the cut blood vessels due the combination of erection and blood clot formation which could lead to loss of blood supply to the whole head of the penis (apparently). I’m still trying to wrap my head around the reasoning (as written) and in any case I’m pretty sure one might lower that risk by y’know, doing it on a flaccid penis in an anaesthetised child…

        I don’t believe that the procedure on a baby is “traumatising” as some commenters suggest because there can be no memories extant from that time in the development of the child’s brain.

        Anecdotally, you may find disagreement with those of us who work with ex-very/extremely premature children whose later aversion to facial/oral stimulation or inability to self-regulate to sensory input correlates with their exposure to (necessary) medical procedures (tubes in nose/throat, specific body positioning) in the early period.

        Developmental Care approaches and tools such as NIDCAP have been designed to replicate, as far as practicable, what would otherwise have been a ‘normal’ environment.

        It wasn’t very long ago that we performed neonatal surgery without anaesthetic. The reasoning went ‘They really need the operation, an anaesthetic may mess them up physiologically but they won’t remember it anyway…’ Note that this doesn’t mean ‘without sedation of any kind’ but full loss of consciousness and memory formation can be a tricky thing to induce.

  1. Do they fear the volition of one woman?

    How frail is the judgement of those who live by rules instead of thinking. It is a lousy tactic to bully this woman by fining her when she cannot pay anyway. It just brings her plight to the attention of people everywhere. People who will see their religion for the latrine that it really is.

  2. A friend of mine who’s a Jew explained to me what happened when he was at a circumcision ceremony.

    Because the infant was given a sip of wine and stimulated to gain an erection to accomodate the incision, the increased blood pressure in the penis caused blood to spirt out of it which in turn caused my friend to feel faint.

    Doesn’t appeal to me somehow.

    • In reply to #8 by Stafford Gordon:

      the infant was given a sip of wine and stimulated to gain an erection

      When catholic priests do this with children of any age they have to hush it up. They must be so jealous of rabbis.

  3. “We have witnessed for some time now public and legal struggles against the brit milah in many countries in Europe and in the United States,” the judges wrote. “The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that must be combatted.

    Displays of anti-Semitism?! Oh, here we go again…

    Criticising Jewish beliefs because they are not true, harmful, painful of ineffective is not anti-Semitism. How many times does this need to be explained?

  4. “We have witnessed for some time now public and legal struggles against the brit milah in many countries in Europe and in the United States,” the judges wrote. “The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that must be combatted.

    Displays of anti-Semitism?! Oh, here we go again…

    Criticising Jewish beliefs because they are not true, harmful, painful of ineffective is not anti-Semitism. How many times does this need to be explained?

    • Same ploy and argument as used by that other more recent Abrahamic religion only with them it’s called Islamophobia.. jcw

      In reply to #9 by Aztek:

      “We have witnessed for some time now public and legal struggles against the brit milah in many countries in Europe and in the United States,” the judges wrote. “The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that m…

  5. The most outrageous part of the article was this gem:

    The rabbinical judges in the case said in their decision the woman was opposing the circumcision as a means to bringing her husband back to her.

    Do you get that? If I’m reading this correctly they think the weak little girlie really doesn’t care about her child but is using this as a way to get her man, the one she actually wants to divorce, back. The delusion and self deception are truly mind boggling.

  6. Stafford Gordon:

    Doesn’t appeal to me somehow.

    The photo made me feel sick. How do the parents put up with this mutilation ? How can these characters carry it out ?

    Oh, silly me, I forgot that Covenant with Jaweh, he whose name cannot be mentioned.

    Where’s the bucket ?

  7. For the record…I’m an atheist Jew living in the US, and I do not condone circumcision. However, it’s common practice in the US, regardless of religion. And I believe that it’s because they (Dr’s and Hospitals) charge for the ‘service’.

    Someone tried to argue the hygiene card with me..Really, it’s a challenge to get a boy to play with his penis in the shower..with soap?

  8. Is it about the supreme ruler and creator of the Universe fretting about and experiencing existential angst over the tissue on the end of a Jewish baby’s penis or is it about the money? This is a question that needs to be answered.

    • In reply to #21 by David W:

      Almost as crazy as the idea that Jesus’s foreskin is in orbit around Saturn

      So that’s what happened to it! So much for the bullshit stories of Agnes Blannbekin and Saint Catherine of Siena who claimed special relationships with his foreskin.
      .

  9. Contemptible.

    If an Israeli court or government would seriously try to enforce this ludicrous “fine” imposed by a religious “court”, Israel will seriously need to reconsider its claim to be a modern democracy which respects human rights.

  10. Mr DArcy #11.

    I hadn’t really looked at the photo; but now that I have I see what you mean; while the infant is screaming in agony the rabbi’s smiling!

    “Good people do good things, and bad people do bad things, but for good people to do bad things takes religion.”

  11. I know circumcision is pretty much frowned upon because of it’s religious roots. However, I have another view which I’ll share. I’m an African American male, an atheist from age 12. When I reached the age that I could understand, my mother told me she’s had me circumcised because I’d be better able to keep myself clean, her only motivation. Man, am I grateful. I had my two sons circumcised, and made sure all my grandsons were too. No religious bullshit about it.

    • In reply to #25 by quickk:

      I know circumcision is pretty much frowned upon because of it’s religious roots. However, I have another view which I’ll share. I’m an African American male, an atheist from age 12. When I reached the age that I could understand, my mother told me she’s had me circumcised because I’d be better…

      All the males of Europe and, I believe Asia and Russia, do quite well keeping their penises clean without surgery.

  12. In reply to #33 by justinesaracen:

    In reply to #32 by Katy Cordeth:

    You are creating a straw man and a false equivalency. Shame on you. Circumcision is NOT a medical procedure to keep a baby alive. It is a ritual, done by non-medical persons with non-sterile instruments for non-medical reasons.

    I never said it was. OHooligan was suggesting that circumcision should not be carried out because of the possible detrimental effects on the infant’s psyche, which could be enough to turn it into a dysfunctional adult. I was pointing out that this could be negated by the simple expedient of using anesthetic. No early trauma, no possibility of the sort of psychological problems being suggested arising.

    I mentioned other, necessary medical procedures which an infant might be subjected to as a way of challenging the idea that potential psychological harm resulting is reason enough not to go ahead with such treatment.

    I think if anyone is guilty of creating a man of straw it’s probably OHooligan, but I’m not one to cast aspersions.

    • In reply to #35 by Katy Cordeth:

      I think if anyone is guilty of creating a man of straw it’s probably OHooligan, but I’m not one to cast aspersions.

      I’ve no idea how you got there Katy. Necessary medical procedures carried out with due attention to pain relief are another matter entirely, and I did not try to conflate them.

      We were discussing the barbaric practice of traditional ritual circumcision, which is performed without anaesthetic other than perhaps alcohol, which looks like sexual abuse and mutilation of infants, and I conjecture that this might contribute negatively to their psychological development. Extensive psychological testing on broad samples of the cut and uncut would be required to establish the validity or otherwise of the conjecture. Perhaps even statistically at entire-population levels. I don’t know of any such studies.

      Doing circumcision as a properly managed medical procedure is a different matter, though it is still unnecessary, so would best be left until the patient is old enough to give informed consent, along with body piercings, tattoos and other cosmetic alterations.

  13. “I’ve been exposed to a lot of information about circumcision and decided not to proceed with the circumcision,”
    ““I have no right to cut at his genitals and to maim him, and the court has no authority to force me to.””

    You are a great and brave mother for standing up against such callous religious authourity!

    ““The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that must be combatted. How will the world react if even here the issue of circumcision is given to the discretion of any person, according to their own beliefs?””

    In otherwords, if a Jewish person her self or him self opposes male circumcision, then you rabbis can no longer play
    the anti-Semitism card! Thanks for letting us know about how you really think!

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