Oops, Sorry About Your Son’s Genitals: Ritual Circumciser Slices Off Baby’s Penis

When a Jewish circumcision makes the news or stirs discussion, it’s usually a metzitzah b’peh, wherein

mohels, after cutting away the child’s foreskin and tearing the membrane with their fingernailsplace their mouths on the boy’s penis to suck away the blood.

Metzitzah b’pehs are responsible for at least a dozen cases of herpes transmission — and two child deaths — in the U.S. alone.

But there are other risks to ritual circumcision, as the parents of a Pittsburgh infant found out. They are suing their mohel, Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, because he accidentally amputated their son’s penis.

A local rabbi is being sued after allegedly botching a bris, the traditional Jewish circumcision ritual, and severing a newborn boy’s penis.

The incident detailed in the lawsuit happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill within the last year.

The Jewish circumcision ceremony was performed by Pittsburgh Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg – who is also a mohel.

Sometime during the bris, according to the lawsuit, Rosenberg severed the baby boy’s penis.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, the body part was reattached during an eight-hour surgery requiring six blood transfusions, and the boy was hospitalized for two months.

It probably won’t be known for years whether all is right with his genitalia, and whether his sexual functions survived unscathed. A certain amount of permanent nerve damage is highly possible.

On his website, Rabbi Rosenberg says he is recognized as a “certified mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision.” His site also says “a doctor’s medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital, is not considered valid according to Jewish law.”

Remarkably, absent any regulated standard for training or certification of ritual circumcisers, Rosenberg continues to perform the procedure.

(file photo via thefastertimes.com)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mark W.

    There’s an “American Board of Ritual Circumcision”? Who wants to go to their conferences…not me.

  • Henriette Wesselman

    What about their logo???

  • SansDeus

    If it’s not a pair of legs crossed in agony, I’ll be disappointed.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Their vendors might have some interesting swag…

  • Guest

    You just take out your little machine…

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    You just take out your little machine; stick in your little thing…

    -edit- darn it, thought I deleted the double post.

  • paulalovescats

    HALF OFF SALE!

  • $84687101

    It’s long past time we did away with this barbaric practice.

    Beyond that, no good can come of the comment thread that’s about to ensue….

  • paulalovescats

    Do you know how much entertainment I get from comment threads? Especially on you-tube?

  • peicurmudgeon

    Why is this man not in jail? Oh yeah. Religion.

  • Kira00

    High five! lol

  • Chris C.

    I actually had to read this multiple times to ensure I saw this correctly. There’s an American Board of Ritual Circumcision and SOMEHOW this group of random people is allowed to say ‘this guy without a medical degree can preform a surgery on an infant’ . . . How is this legal?

  • diogeneslamp0

    He’s performing surgery WITH HIS FINGERNAILS AND HIS MOUTH.

    If he used a sterile scalpel or laser, he would NOT be certified! Indeed, he’d be excommunicated or whatever Jews call it. Shunning.

  • $84687101

    For the record, we don’t actually know that. The bit about the fingernails and the mouth do not apply to all Jewish ritual circumcisions, that practice is, I believe, confined to some ultra orthodox sects, but correct me if I’m wrong. That being the case, odds are that this was not what happened in this case. Someone without a medical license performing unnecessary surgery on newborns outside of a medical facility is horrifying enough without making unsubstantiated accusations that some other horrifying thing happened (or would have, had there been no accident) as well.

  • diogeneslamp0

    You’re right that not all Jews perform metzitzah b’peh, but this comment was about the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, not the specific penis-chopper of this story. And the question is, does the American Board of Ritual Circumcision perform or certify people to conduct metzitzah b’peh?

  • $84687101

    Fine, but can you answer that question instead of asking me? You’re making a specific claim in all caps, so it seems like you should know the answer…

  • diogeneslamp0

    The answer is yes to both questions: the the American Board of Ritual Circumcision requires metzitzah b’peh, and the particular rabbi in question was certified by the board, so he was performing it. The Board aggressively resists any and all attempts at reforming or regulating metzitzah b’peh.

    From Forward, the Jewish Daily: “The leading association for mohelim who practice a risky oral blood suctioning technique in their circumcisions has vowed not to cooperate with New York City’s new health regulations governing use of the technique, known as metzitzah b’peh.

    Brooklyn mohel Rabbi Avrohom Cohn, chairman of the
    American Board of Ritual Circumcision, said his group would not have parents sign waiver forms, which the city is now requiring as a condition for performing metzitzah b’peh.

    “He’s the mayor of the biggest city in the world, but
    I’m not going to listen to him,” Cohn said, referring to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has strongly backed the new rules. “I have another mayor, the Almighty, and I will do it His way.”

    The regulation, put out by the city’s board of health,
    requires parents to provide a signed consent form to a mohel before that mohel may perform metzitzah b’peh.”
    [Forward, the Jewish Daily. Feb. 8, 2013. http://forward.com/articles/170149/orthodox-rabbis-vow-to-resist-consent-forms-for-co%5D

  • $84687101

    Thank you. I was having a very hard time finding information on the group. What used to be their website now seems to be selling expensive sunglasses in Denmark. So maybe that’s a good sign for the future?

  • diogeneslamp0

    [lip movements do not match words]: So. You think your google fu is good. But still. Tonight you are going to die! Ah ha ha. Ah ha ha ha ha!

  • $84687101

    Apparently you have to scroll down…

  • Terry Firma

    This was not a metzizah b’peh as far as we know.

  • Black Leaf

    Because religion.

  • viaten

    “How is this legal?”
    Even more, how is this a continuing tradition? It seems to be almost pure superstition with some people, like “We don’t dare not do it.” Or it’s “It defines us. It’s part of who we are.” Or with non-Jews, it’s more like, “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” It seems to be the most “traditional” of all traditions I can think of, a tradition with one of the most unclear origins. It seems some people think, “If it goes back that far, there must be something to it.”

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    more and more i come down on the side of “it’s genital mutilation and should be banned.”

    for a long time, my attitude was that like abortion should always be the decision of the woman and her medical provider, circumcision should be a decision a father (and mother, but mostly the dad) make for their sons. i’ve read all the arguments about cleanliness, social norms, etc. but the more i read stories like this, esp that last part about how a medical circumcision isn’t religiously valid, the more i coming to believe that it’s time to end this ridiculous practice.

    and it’s really quite an indictment of the religion itself, isn’t it? what kind of god demands genital mutilation? and why do so many people who aren’t even of that faith practice it?

    if we were speaking about a traditional african or islamic cultural practice of female genital mutilation there would be no end to calls on all sides of the political spectrum for a ban. but for some reason, this gets a pass.

  • diogeneslamp0

    “what kind of god demands genital mutilation?”

    WITH FINGERNAILS AND AN OLD MAN’S MOUTH

  • Derrik Pates

    But hey, what’s the odd case of fatal herpes, as opposed to the satisfaction of pleasing a deity you have no reason to believe exists? Worth it.

  • Lagerbaer

    Hm, the parallel to abortion should be: Abortion should be the decision of the woman, and circumcision should be the decision of the person having the procedure done to them.

  • $84687101

    Or we could at least put the same demands on circumcision providers that many states now place on abortion providers: clinic layout and construction, admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, etc…

  • RN from NY

    Because the pro-lifers only care about the kid before it’s born because what they really care about is punishing female sexuality. With all the fear and loathing surrounding female sexuality in this country, I’m surprised we don’t have FGM.

  • Matt Ranson

    I got “cut” at birth and neither of my parents were religious. I’d really kind of like to have normal genitals. I’ll bet sex is better with the nerve endings in the foreskin. Unfortunately this damage to my body is permanent. There have been some men who managed to hang weights from their penis all day for a long time who managed to stretch the remaining skin which can make it appear natural but it still doesn’t function like the real thing.

  • Derrik Pates

    My parents are religious, but when I was born in the hospital, they didn’t even ask; I was circumcised because “that’s what they do”.

  • http://avengah.wordpress.com Matt Davis

    Is that legal? If informed consent wasn’t asked for and received, then I think they broke the law. If they handed your parents a pile of paperwork and hid the consent form in with the rest of the papers, then it’s not informed consent, obviously. So either way, they broke the law and you should contact Intact America and Attorneys for the Rights of the Child. They may be able to give you some free legal assistance; I’m not sure, but it’s worth a try.

  • imjustasteph

    To the extent that it should be the decision of the parent(s), it should be made by the one who is the primary caretaker. If Mom is going to do most of the penis-cleaning, she’s the one who should decide whether to clean a circumcised one or an intact one. If Dad will do the most cleaning, he should have the bigger say- sort of like the one who vacuums has primary say in which color carpet you buy. That’s more relevant than which one has the most similar genitals.

    HOWEVER, that said, it shouldn’t be something that’s even an option except in whatever cases where it’s medically indicated. I can’t take my two-month old baby to the doctor and say, hey, let’s cut off a piece of his left ear. I might have a piece of his left ear removed for a legitimate medical reason, though. Why can I have a piece of his penis cut off? That should be just as forbidden.

  • Greg G.

    It just depends on who has to wash his ears whether to have his ears removed. The person who has to clean the toe jam should decide how many toes he gets to keep. Don’t forget to sew up the anus. Nobody wants to clean that mess! 80)

  • imjustasteph

    In case I wasn’t clear, I’m stating that IF parents get to choose, that should be the basis, who is going to care for it. But parents should NOT get to just choose it.

  • Greg G.

    I agree with you. I just thought of a humorous illustration and wanted to share.

  • Malcolm McLean

    You can have a hole inserted into a child’s ear lobe and pass a piece of metal through it for aesthetic reasons.

  • paulalovescats

    Like THAT is the same thing.

  • Malcolm McLean

    It’s similar. A mutilation, but one that doesn’t significantly affect function. Some people also have tongues and tummy buttons done, and there was even one punk who had his head pierced right through with a giant safety pin.

  • Richard Thomas

    Yep. I remember back in ’88, all the punks were piercing their babies’ heads. Do you read what you type?

  • diogeneslamp0

    No, not similar. Tearing off part of a baby’s penis with your fingernails and your mouth does in fact impair function, even if you’re lucky and your penis isn’t ripped off and the rabbi doesn’t give you herpes.

  • Tat Wadjet

    At least earring holes grow back. Severed body parts… do NOT grow back (at least that has been my experience)>

  • Conuly

    Yes, and that’s wrong too. What’s your point?

  • imjustasteph

    Yeah, I wouldn’t allow that either. For my kids, they have to be old enough to want it, ask for it, and be able to clean it themselves. I’d support the same for all kids.

  • Lulu

    “should be a decision a father (and mother, but mostly the dad) make for their sons” Just as you would want your mother to decide on your female genital mutilation huh? Makes sense. I agree with Lagerbaer.

  • Malcolm McLean

    It is women who create the social pressure for female circumcision. Westerners tend to assume that it’s the men who impose it on the women, but whilst it’s true there is a sense that a man shouldn’t marry an uncircumcised woman, it’s not very strong. It’s going against male psychology to say that a man shouldn’t have sexual relations with an intact female who is attracted to him. It’s the women who physically perform the operation, and who shun other women who haven’t had it done.
    The Western attitude tells us more about how Western women view Western men than it does about sub-Saharan Africans.

  • Lulu

    OK, thanks for that, though I don’t see how that relates to my comment towards chicago dyke. I don’t agree or care for these barbaric and antiquated, religious or not, rites of passages/mutilations.

  • Malcolm McLean

    You get the odd circumcision accident. But tens of thousands of Jews and millions of Muslims are circumcised each year.

  • ThisIsTheEnd

    The odd accident on a non consenting baby performed by non medically trained surgeon. But what’s the worse that can happen other than amputation, blood poisoning, death…just a baby, there are millions of ’em

  • diogeneslamp0

    And ONE avoidable goddamn accident can cost millions of dollars to fix… partially. How many hours of microsurgery were required just to reconnect the blood vessels? Those surgeons could be treating gunshot wounds fercrissakes.

    That kid will never feel anything in his pecker… assuming it doesn’t rot and turn gangrenous and threaten his life.

    And on top of that, the herpes! Sheesh!

  • Lagerbaer

    The question is: Is it worth? You also get the odd adverse reaction to a vaccine yet millions of children are vaccinated each year.

    The difference is: Vaccination has benefits that outweigh the risks. Circumcision does not.

  • Black Leaf

    One accident is one too many, considering it’s totally pointless and the child can’t give consent.

  • Greg G.

    All because God got in a fist fight with Moses and Moses’ wife diffused the situation by circumcising their son.

    Exodus 4:24-26 (NRSV)
    24 On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”

    Not that “feet” is a euphemism for genitals in the Old Testament, so it seems that Zipporah stole her son’s foreskin and held next to Moses’ genitals to fool God into thinking Moses had been circumcised.

    The ancient Egyptians had a story about Osiris being cut into 13 parts. Isis collected 12 of the parts but his penis had been eaten by a fish. Osiris judged the dead and the Egyptians thought that by trimming a their genitals, Osiris would look more favorably on them. The Hebrews apparently adopted the practice but not the religion so there was no religious justification for it.

    Catholic hospitals like to do circumcisions and give bogus medical reasons for the benefits of circumcision but change the excuses as they are refuted.

  • Fedos

    Are you saying that the Hebrews didn’t adopt circumcision until the 7th century BCE?

  • Greg G.

    No. I wouldn’t know when they adopted the practice. They just came up with that particular justification for it around that time.

  • Lulu

    They sure did adopt some of their religion.

  • Matt Ranson

    However in these cases the “patient” cannot make an informed decision. As mentioned this wasn’t even performed by a doctor. When the child reaches legal adulthood he might have better luck suing his own parents for allowing this barbaric procedure.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    The risk should be accepted by the person who will suffer the consequences unless there is compelling reason to do otherwise. I don’t the Muslims or Jews have a compelling reason.

  • Lulu

    “tens of thousands of Jews and millions of Muslims” Are there that little jews around? lol

  • Mairianna

    No, it’s just that with the Muslims, it’s the boys AND the girls that get circumcised!

  • moose

    Um…no…female genital mutilation actually predates Islam and Christianity. Current practitioners of FGM include Muslims, Christians, and animists. It’s a cultural tradition that some Muslim practitioners today claim is part of their religion. But there is nothing about it in the Quran and it is not done in most of the Muslim world. It’s like Christians claiming Christmas trees are Christian, when we all know they stole the practice from pagans and then pretended it was part of THEIR religion. FGM is barbaric and fucked up, but claiming that it’s “the Muslims” just makes it more difficult to combat since it conveniently ignores all the non-Muslims mutilating little girls.

  • Lulu

    Stop yelling at me. :( Still tens of thousands of jews? Not really.

  • Micah W.

    I guess I am one of the only religious people in the world that is against this “medical” procedure……..

  • WallofSleep

    Probably not, but infant penises around the world would likely appreciate your voice just the same.

  • A3Kr0n

    Is the rabbi licensed to practice medicine in the state of New York? If not, how can he legally cut the foreskin from an infant? The American Board of Ritual Circumcision sounds like it’s in the same company as The Discovery Institute, or some other worthless bullshit scam organization.

  • Rob P

    It happened in Pittsburgh. So Pennsylvania law would apply.

  • A3Kr0n

    My bad. I was thinking of a different group.

  • Richard Thomas

    You were thinking of Seinfeld. I know I was :)

  • Camorris

    If God wanted his men to not have foreskins, why did he design them?
    There is an occasional medical need to have it removed, but this ritual practice is primarially for group identification. The foreskin can be trained to stay retracted so that the glans stays exposed, thus giving the illusion of having been circumcised.

  • Lori F

    But that would require touching and possibly masturbation. Can’t have that.

  • Mario Strada

    Very true. I am uncircumcised and when erect there is little difference between my penis and a circumcised one. In fact, on a fully erect penis is difficult to keep the foreskin over the tip.

  • http://batman-news.com Anton

    There is an occasional medical need to have it removed, but this ritual practice is primarially for group identification.

    No it isn’t. Very few people are going to be able to “identify” the person’s religious belief if his genitals are covered up.

    It’s a display of faith all right, but on behalf of the parents, who get to show how devout they are by subjecting a healthy baby to a completely unnecessary surgical procedure.

  • RN form NY

    Obviously “God” wants you to cut it off your son to prove what a great Jew you are. Yet this same god hates tattoos: my cousins are Jews and tattoos are considered bodily mutilation. Torah: “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28). It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    It boggles the mind why anyone would want to have anything to do with a god like that when there are so many others to choose from.

  • quasibaka

    It’s Satan’s fault . God’s penis does not have foreskin.
    Satan somehow corrupted man into having it . I’m not sure how – maybe the snake of eden gave adam a blowjob and adam got a foreskin as a result ?

    On a more serious note , cults always have a requirement to sacrifice something (endure pain for a greater purpose and as a sign of devotion)
    Hinduism has tons of stuff like Shaving hair(some guys do it every year) , piercing your tongue with tridents(small ones) , pilgrimages where you walk barefoot for several hundred Km.

  • WallofSleep

    What a backwards, barbaric ritual. And we’re expected to believe we were “created in His image”, yet it would appear that this god has serious body issues and hates His own penis? I guess the fault here is mine, in trying to make sense out of nonsense.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Why wouldn’t it hate its own penis? There’s absolutely nothing it can do with it- just a useless appendage.

  • WallofSleep

    Well that settles it. The god of Abraham is Zardoz.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOROvO2fxTc

  • LesterBallard

    Mine, too.

  • Richard Thomas
  • anon atheist

    I know it won’t but I would dismiss the lawsuit. The parents allowed somebody to perform unnecessary surgery on their son and they are the ones that should suffer the consequences. Their son when old enough should sue them for an insane amount of money and they should be made to pay it.

  • Rob P

    It won’t because it doesn’t matter that the parents agreed to the surgery. This is a case of malpractice. It is akin to someone agreeing to have a nose job (also unnecessary in most cases), but the surgeon botches it up.

  • RN from NY

    You should expect malpractice when you get surgery from someone who isn’t a surgeon.

    I agree: the parents get nothing, but I wouldn’t throw the case out. Any winnings should be in a trust for when the kid’s 18, and/or spent on fixing the penis and psych counseling.

  • Matt Ranson

    Not sure what country you are from but our legal system in the states only allows a victim of malpractice to sue within a certain time frame, usually around 2 years after the malpractice.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    In the UK the statute of limitations applies from the date of knowledge of injury or loss in many cases, though I believe this might not apply in the US.
    However, exceptions can be made in the event the injured party is an infant – notably child sex offences. While it may not apply, I think amputating a baby’s penis should be considered such an offence.

  • Rob P

    I believe that in general this is the same in the US. However, the boy’s parents can sue on his behalf, which they are doing for the botched circumcision. As for suing his parents for having the procedure in the first place, that would, I think, be a novel case.

  • Richard Thomas

    Re: the statute of limitations, this might by a state-by-state thing but I know in some instances when a child’s legal guardians can be proven to not have the child’s best interest in mind, the state can intervene and assign legal counsel to act on the child’s behalf.

  • toth

    How is it that someone without a medical license can perform a surgery? Isn’t that what is called “illegal” in certain circles?

  • $84687101

    As someone who donates blood regularly, the six transfusions he needed kind of pisses me off even more than I otherwise would be. Now, if by chance some of that was my blood, and it saved a child’s life, that’s just great. Faced with that child at the hospital, by all means, use my blood to save him. But it’s just one more piece of how irresponsible ritual circumcision is and why it’s quite reasonable to outlaw it. This is a waste of precious medical resources. Had this child not been circumcised, much less circumcised outside a hospital without adequate medical training by an unlicensed practitioner, then he never would have needed that blood and it could have saved someone else, someone who was there because of a less easily preventable injury or illness. And that goes for the surgeons’ time, the anesthesia, the nurses, the recovery bed, etc. This is a drain on health care costs and resources that hurts people beyond even the child victim.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    While I agree, there’s a lot of dumb shit people do that wastes resources (homebirth is a big one, as are home tattoos and piercings) that are both rare and precious and expensive.

    Performing any medical procedure, including surgery, outside of a sterile environment with trained professionals has a whole lot of stupid risks involved. It’s so non-unique that that aspect of this doesn’t piss me off- there’s enough other things going on that do.

  • Mario Strada

    WOW, the American Association of dick choppers. He must be good at what he does. Maybe he just had the munchies.

    Here is the only thing I could find about this honorable association:

    http://www.nycompaniesindex.com/american-board-of-ritual-circumcision-inc-1qf4y/

  • Fedos

    Baby mutilator over mutilates baby.

  • Kira

    Sick and demented. Why do people keep supporting this crap? Oh yeah, gawd sez so.

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    I never really thought about it or looked into it, but I figured medical circumcision was for some sort of health benefit. Not really cutting off anything vital, but hemming down some unnecessary skin. Properly removing the foreskin would prevent fungal infection or something like that.

    But reading into the religious practice, it looks about as bad as when little girls are cut “down stairs” with a pair of shears.

  • Gert

    Done in the hospital it’s useful hygienically not to mention if the men in your family have a history of UTIs it can cut down on those because it keeps you from passing back and forth as much bacteria.

    Done by an old Jewish guy it’s just creepy and kind of gross. Poor kid. He may never recover properly. They need to sue the guy out of business.

  • Greg G.

    I think that was the old medical justification but it was shown to be not effective. The new one is that there seems to be a very slight benefit with certain STDs, but only when the male is very, very promiscuous..

  • Conuly

    And that benefit is nothing like the benefit of using condoms.

  • Conuly

    It’s not “useful hygienically”, no more than cutting off a girl’s labia is. Washing is useful for hygiene.

    As far as UTIs goes, the connection is much overhyped and, again, if you have a history of UTIs the best bet is to treat them.

  • Gert

    The ONLY UTI I ever got was from the ONLY guy I was with that wasn’t snipped. After I dumped him for other reasons, I never got one again. I have never made any change before or after to my OWN habits other than dating that guy.

  • Conuly

    Wow, one anecdote. You should publish it! I hear the Lancet is always looking for anecdata in lieu of actual *evidence*.

    If the guy you’re fucking has trouble with UTIs, or tends to pass them on to you, then he should be treated medically. We wouldn’t snip off your labia or remove your clitoral hood to treat a UTI, we’d just give you medicine. The same applies for men. There is NO real, conclusive link between UTIs and an intact foreskin.

  • RN from NY

    There’s plenty of ways to prevent UTI: hydrate often, urinate often, do not bathe in a bathtub, avoid hot tubs/pools, and frequent hygiene. Circumcision should be a last resort, not the first thing we do when he’s born. Besides, it’s genetics 101: not every gene is passed to the kid, only 50% of each parent’s genes are passed on. You can’t assume a child will have UTI’s because the father did.

    I’m a medical professional and completely against circumcision except in the emergency cases. Sometimes the foreskin can cut off circulation and cause the penis to die, this would be an emergency. Making it look pretty is not! I am very glad no one cut off my labia to make me “pretty” or “clean.” This procedure is an abomination against men.

  • Sue (Yet, She Persisted) Blue

    I’m an RN and I totally agree with you. Medical ethics dictates that no invasive procedure be done on anyone who is incapable of consent except to save life or limb. Since when do ethics, specifically the right to bodily integrity, stop at childhood or infancy? Appendicitis is a common and potentially fatal infection that affects children, yet we don’t perform prophylactic appendectomies on newborns. There are so many simple, non-surgical options for hygiene, STD and UTI prevention that infant circumcision is like cutting off your fingertips to prevent hangnails.

  • Gert

    All that is great for the guy but as I mentioned above, if you don’t know a guy isn’t through you as a woman can get one from him even if he personally never gets them.

    Many societies tattoo their children at a very young age. Indians are known to pierce their daughter’s noses. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with not doing a thing you have no use for but it IS wrong to judge another culture based on your personal standards.

    Try to remember, when this procedure was invented humans didn’t have a lot of access to things like running water and soap. I imagine ANY measure to help with cleanliness was good to the point of validating it religiously. If someone wants to keep a tradition of their ancestors who are YOU to judge them considering regardless of what you SAY it does no actual harm (with rare exceptions such as this one which made the news for it’s rarity not because it’s common).

  • Conuly

    And if he never shows symptoms but is a sort of Typhoid Mary, he should be treated for a UTI. Not by cutting off his foreskin, but by giving him medication.

    regardless of what you SAY it does no actual harm

    That’s not true.

    First, removing a functioning part of the body is, by definition, doing harm.

    Secondly, because a baby is small, his penis is small. It is impossible to tell how big it will be when grown, or whether it will significantly increase in size when erect. Many men suffer from erectile problems because too much foreskin was removed when they were infants. I would wager that lots of them don’t evèn realize it isn’t normal.

    Thirdly, there is always a risk of death or serious injury during a circumcision. Even though it is rare, that risk must be weighed against the possible benefits. There are no possible benefits. The risk, then, definitely outweighs the other considerations.

  • Gert

    Yah, you know the trouble with Typhoid Mary? She went right back to infecting people because she did not believe or care that it was her. He flat out TOLD me it couldn’t be him because HE never got UTIs. I flat out told him that he was full of crap and knew nothing about bacteria. Oh and guess what, after MAKING him go see a doctor, it WAS HIM. And he still denied it. The doctor sent my doctor a heads up otherwise I’d never have found out the truth.

    And I look at this in the way I look at a religion deciding if I can have an abortion. I don’t want someone else’s religion or another person deciding my personal choices even though technically I’m aborting a human and I am obviously damaging said human. Transverly I do not think it is my or your or anyone ELSE’S right to make someone else’s religious choices for their children even if it DOES involve a medical procedure I may or may not disagree with because it previously had but rarely now has any real benefit.

    What ever happened to people minding their own danged business in this country anyways?

  • Conuly

    Gert, you keep repeating that silly story.

    I didn’t deny that men can get UTIs. And I didn’t deny that they can transit them to their partners. What I do deny, because the evidence is on my side, is that intact individuals are more prone to this than circumcised ones.

    “The doctor sent my doctor a heads up otherwise I’d never have found out the truth.”

    Isn’t that a blatant violation of medical ethics on the part of both doctors???

    “What ever happened to people minding their own danged business in this country anyways?”

    It ceases to be “your” business when it infringes upon the rights of another individual.

  • Gert

    Oh and for the record I said several generations for a reason. If a family has a history of cancer do you tell them eh, don’t worry about it, you only got half their genetic code… because if you would you are stupid and insensitive.

  • Susan_G1

    I am a medical professional who has performed many, many circumcisions, and if you actually were a doctor, you might be familiar with the pediatric medical literature of the past decade which outlines the benefits of the procedure. In the early years of my practice, it was done for cosmetic and social reasons. Then it was seen as an unnecessary surgical risk, and the AAP and the ABFP denounced the procedure. The incidence of pediatric UTIs and kidney damage skyrocketted (comparatively) and, after much soul-searching, both Medical Boards dealing with infant care reversed their stance once again, with the proviso that anesthesia be used.

  • sailor

    I doubt you can find clear evidence to back up the idea it has benefits. The widely cited study in Africa compared circumcision with aids education to nothing, so there are two variables. If you compare countries with high circumcision rates to those with low there is no evidence of benefit. Circumcision does not protect you agianst STDs, there are plenty of them in circumcised males. Condoms work much better and don’t put any kids lives and appendages at risk.

  • Gert

    I don’t think you understand that I’m not talking about SD prevention. I am referring to common dirt, bacteria and general funk some guys get because lots of guys just sort of forget women actually care if they are completely clean down there. Worst UTI I ever got was from the only guy I was with that wasn’t He swore he didn’t cause it yet I never had one BEFORE him nor another after. He was the only change in my habits.

  • Conuly

    If somebody doesn’t bathe, don’t fuck him. Whether he has a foreskin or not, if he doesn’t clean himself – don’t fuck him!

    Also, I’m confused. If you’ve only been with one intact man, how can you possibly state definitively that they are all less clean than cirçumcised men? What, exactly, is your basis of comparison here? Maybe that guy was just particularly piggish.

  • Gert

    Ok no offense but that comment is just DUMB. A guy can bathe plenty and still miss really important stuff like cleaning his fingernails or behind his ears or his foreskin because he’s generally clean but lazy about details. So like the lazy guy, I’ll presume you are generally smart but lazy about thinking stuff through all the way.

  • Conuly

    If he doesn’t clean his penis (say it with me now) DO NOT FUCK HIM.

    Also, listen, I know you don’t care if you offend or not. If you cared, you would have been more polite. So cut the “no offense” garbage. All it really does is make your rudeness more offensive.

  • LesterBallard

    Wasn’t this a Seinfeld episode?

  • LesterBallard

    Personally, I like the way my circumcised penis looks, aesthetically speaking, but no, I wouldn’t have had it done as an adult, and the shit needs to stop being done to infants and children.

  • Lilly Munster

    So a Mohel is an unlicensed surgeon and cocksucker? If a Catholic Priest or any other Adult did this, they would be in jail, and a Registered Sex Offender. Was he sucking the devil out of the boy? How long does the sucking part take? It there a repeat performance? This is abusive, barbaric, and Insane. Why is this allowed? Just because Jews approve of it? Can I start a church with cocksucking as a Sacrament? Oh, silly me, the Catholics have this already cornered.

  • Richard Thomas

    What I want to know is, what do these jewish men do when they get older and they see the mohel who circumcised them around town? I don’t think I could look that guy in the eye for a second.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    To adhere strictly to tradition, do the most traditional of the traditionalist mohels use a bronze blade, or a flake of obsidian?

  • Emery Emery

    Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Damnit! Son of a……….

    Okay. I’m fine. I’ve calmed down.

    First of all, there is an American Board of Ritual Circumcision? Why? What the hell would that board even do? How do we still live in a time where that’s even a thing that could exist?

    Thanks for posting this story. It needs to told. People all around the globe should be faced with the horrors of infant mutilation in all it’s forms.

  • MerchantMariner

    I don’t know what aspect of this I find more revolting – an old bloke biting a baby’s foreskin off, or that the parents would actively participate in something so vile.

  • sailor

    First lesson in life, choose your parents wisely! These ones are certainly off to a bad start.

  • Starbugger

    I’m gonna vomit. Someone stop the madness!!!

  • Matt Ranson

    Why can’t people allow their children to reach adult age so they can decide whether they want it or not?

  • Conuly

    Because, and this is what they actually say, “if we did that, they wouldn’t do it”.

    Maybe the ones who do it for religious reasons would, but those children whose parents have no religious reason to circumcise would not.

  • Susan_G1

    I can think of two good reasons. 1) It hurts way the hell too much once adulthood has been reached (and, trust me, with a touch of local anesthetic, it is painless in infants, and 2) there is good evidence that it prevents urinary tract infections in young males, which are difficult to diagnose in the very young and can cause permanent kidney damage.

  • randomfactor

    This does happen in hospitals occasionally, too.

  • Derrik Pates

    All the more reason that circumcision shouldn’t be done at all – a *maybe* slightly decreased chance of a UTI, under certain very limited circumstances, with a not insignificant chance of severing the penis, causing permanent dysfunction? If it weren’t done for dubious religious reasons, sane people would “just say no”.

  • Susan_G1

    I am a medical professional who has performed many, many circumcisions. The
    pediatric medical literature of the past decade outlines the
    benefits of the procedure. In the early years of my practice, it was
    done for cosmetic and social reasons. Then, about 15 years later, it was seen as an unnecessary surgical risk, and the AAP and the ABFP denounced the procedure. The incidence of pediatric UTIs and kidney damage skyrocketted (comparatively) and, after much soul-searching, both Medical Boards dealing with infant care reversed their stance once again, with the proviso that anesthesia be used.

    If some idiot screwed up a vasectomy, I hope you wouldn’t think all vasectomies should be illegal. It’s the same thing here. Tragic, yes, but a screw-up, and than man should be prohibited from performing the procedure. I’m sure the parents are very sorry now that their religion does not recognize circumcisions done in hospitals, by people who must show evidence of training, are not recognized as legit.

  • Sue (Yet, She Persisted) Blue

    As an RN who has assisted at several circumcisions before refusing to do so for ethical reasons, I have several problems with your statement. First is the violation of ethical principles involved in infant circumcision. Infants and children have the right to body integrity. They are incapable of giving informed consent, and infant circumcision is an invasive procedure performed electively (not to save life or limb) without the patient’s consent. This is blatantly unethical; the need for circumcision to save life or limb is exceedingly rare. Surgically altering an infant’s genitals prophylactically is not defensible, either. UTIs and kidney damage in male infants can be caused by urinary retention secondary to phimosis (a constricting foreskin) – in which case a circumcision can help. But this is not a common enough condition to justify circumcising every infant “just in case”. Appendicitis is a common and life-threatening inflammation in children and adolescents, yet no one suggests performing routine prophylactic appendectomies at birth. We do not remove the breast tissue of infant girls whose mothers carry the BRCA gene for breast cancer, even though she may have a high risk of breast cancer as an adult. Suggesting that invasive surgery to remove part of the genitalia is medically justified to prevent UTIs when so many other non-invasive options such as hygiene, good toileting practices, and hydration exist is like suggesting that we cut off fingertips to prevent paronychia instead of using good manicuring practices and handwashing.

    I addition, your vasectomy analogy doesn’t hold water. Vasectomies are not performed by non-medical personnel with primitive instruments as part of a religious ceremony. A botched vasectomy (which does occasionally happen) does not result in a severed penis…and vasectomies are not performed on infants, without consent. This infant’s case does call for the outlawing of a primitive, barbaric and cruel ritual, and we can’t do this without the grossest hypocrisy unless we also ban the indefensible “medical” genital mutilation of infants.

  • Robster

    Jewish people give their rather bizarre rituals amazingly unpronounceable names, sort of the jewish version of the silly catholic hats.