A Resource Guide To The “Intactivist” (No Circumcision) Movement

A Resource Guide To The “Intactivist” (No Circumcision) Movement October 11, 2011

I have received so many e-mails in response to my recent post about circumcision.  This is obviously a big issue for many people.  One of the greatest barriers to changing the mindset about it is that rabbis (and others) make people feel quite guilty and isolated as a result of their desire to avoid harming their newborn child.

Well, there’s not much we can do about guilt except to point out that there’s absolutely no reason for otherwise modern, liberal Jews to observe this dubious “mitzvah.”  Most of us have no problem dropping superstitious Jewish rituals that have no meaning in our time.  Avoiding this one should give them no cause for additional concern.
As for the isolation, here’s a helping hand.  It’s a complete resource, sent to me for publication on this blog.  I am pleased to oblige:


Judaism, The Foreskin, and Human Rights

“There are tens of thousands of intact Jewish boys and men around the world who thank their lucky stars they were not circumcised.”

– Brian Levitt, Jewish Intactivist and co-founder of Jews for the Rights of the Child, Testimony at the California Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Circumcision

“…As a progressive Reform Jew I was raised to believe that any conflict between human rights and Jewish law and/or tradition, is always resolved in favor of human rights, and that this does not diminish Judaism, but in fact makes it stronger… So when does circumcision become a bad idea?  If a single child suffers from it directly, or indirectly from complications, or … a single child should die (which is not common but does happen) isn’t that enough warrant a re-evaluation? … I believe it is time for the Reform movement to consider how contemporary medical and ethical studies on circumcision put the practice at odds with its cherished values of human rights and social justice — values which, in my opinion, are truly what defines and are central to Judaism.”

“It’s not a parental choice. There’s an ethical problem with making this a parental choice, namely that you’re not taking into account the wishes upon whom the surgery is being performed.”

-Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Jewish Intactivist, Georgetown University, September 22, 2011, Q&A with Ryan McAllister & Rabbi Binyamin Biber Podcast

Jewish Intactivist Groups in the USA:

Intactivist Groups  in Israel:

Jewish Intactivist Media:

Example Peaceful Covenant Texts for New Parents:

The Ethical and Moral Problems of Circumcision: Jewish Arguments for Intactivism:

Quicktime Audio: Q&A with Jewish Intactivist Leaders:

This History of Circumcision: Voices of Progressive  Jews who Oppose Circumcision:

Examples of Young Jewish Parents who Choose Peaceful Covenant Ceremonies:

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