Cutting to the Point on Circumcision
Parents Sound Off continued...
However, some Jews are among those questioning the ancient ritual. Michael Kimmel and Amy Aronson of Brooklyn, N.Y., came up with a creative alternative. They found a mohel, who performs ritual circumcisions, to perform the ceremony -- without the circumcision.
"We discovered that there is a long tradition of opposition to circumcision within the Jewish community, mostly from women," Kimmel says. "Circumcision is wrong and cruel and medically unnecessary, but we didn't want the occasion of his birth to go unmarked or to feel that to our family he wasn't being brought in as a Jew."
They ended up having the naming ceremony and communal gathering but replaced the traditional circumcision with another common ritual among desert cultures they discovered after doing some research: They welcomed Zachary into their home by washing his feet. "In the end, the family, even our fathers, felt OK with that."
Pain was the deciding factor for Sherman and Wilcox in choosing not to circumcise their son Alex. They talked about all the ramifications, including what it might do to his sex life. Indeed, one survey indicated American women prefer a circumcised penis by a margin of 3 to 1.
Sherman admits he was concerned how a future girlfriend might react to his son's uncircumcised penis. His ultimate answer? "If she's never seen one before, she's going to freak out anyway, and if she's already seen a lot of them, she'll probably appreciate the diversity."