Denmark, the tiny little country that saved thousands of jews during the Holocaust, may backhandedly kick them all out.

“Proposal to raise circumcision age to 15 causes storm among Jewish community. ‘If law is passed, Jews will have to leave place they’ve been living in for hundreds of years,’ says Denmark’s Chief Rabbi” — Ynetnews.com

Being that I just visited Denmark in June, I feel compelled to let people know about this issue. It would really be a smack in the face the Jewish, and even Muslim, communities in Denmark as circumcision is an integral part of both religions.

All I have to say is.. Oy.

http://theamericansentinel.com/2008/11/24/denmark-contemplating-circumcision-ban/

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3625859,00.html

About the author

dani

45 Comments

  • Oy is right.

    Its sad that the country doesn’t seem to know the difference between male and female circumcism. Also sad is that female circumcism was only banned five years ago.

  • I guess the Moslems haven’t woken up to it yet. No real surprise since there are European countries which forbid shechita. Kosher Meat has to be imported or smuggled in.

  • Muffti knows that this will make him a dark horse in this race, but he’s not sure he doesn’t seem the wisdom here. A secular country should protect the rights of even children and he’s not sure there is a very nice line to draw in these cases between mutilation and religious ceremony. There are certainly bona fide religious ceremonies that Muffti would want outlawed if they occurred in his country – subincision of the penis practiced in Australia for example. Female circumcision is another case in point and no amount of religious rights talk would convince him that secular laws shouldn’t protect little girls. So why shouldn’t secular law take a dim view of unnecessary surgery on males such as circumcision?

  • That’s because female circumcision has extremely different consequences than male circumcision. The fact that the same word is used is just a fallacy.

  • Is it possible to simply have the bris elsewhere, like in Stockholm, or is this just too ridiculous to do?

    I talked to my Jewish friend in Denmark and she said it is pretty much an attack on religion.

    The second article states that the idea is that damage is done to the body before the child can object but what about piercing ears at a young age? It’s quite common to get girls’ ears pierced before they’re one, two, three years old.

    Why now was this brought about?

  • This law is not directed against Jews, it is directed against Muslims who have become extremely unpopular in Denmark and Scandinavia.

  • That’s because female circumcision has extremely different consequences than male circumcision.

    It looks like we’ll have to learn to accept that “nuance” is a word as applicable to Muslim religious practice and doctrine, as it is those of the Jews. My girlfriend of several years — a devout Muslim from an upper-middle class background in Jakarta — had undergone female circumcision, and whatever its consequences, sexual dysfunction of any type wasn’t among them. It seems, then, that context is essential to an understanding of female circumcision, the performance of which in certain circumstances is evidently more symbolic than brutishly misogynistic.

    In any case, those goddamned anti-Semite Danes could have avoided this whole problem if they’d just consulted with some prominent Jewish neocons first. See, they failed to recognize that the whole purpose of such social policies is to marginalize and induce loathing for the Muslims but not the Jews, and certainly never to suggest the ludicrous notion that the two groups have anything in common. Once this error is remedied, Denmark can then be removed from the list of gullible, appeasement-loving, inveterate Jew-haters (such as, for example, the 80% of American Jews who voted for Barack Obama), and returned to the community of civilized nations as defined by Norman Podhoretz, William Kristol, Elliot Abrams, and the rest of the neocon luminaries who have done such a superb job of guiding U.S. foreign policy.

  • Hey – if it’s not your culture, it seems like mutilation.

    And it’s not European culture – America is the only Western/Christian country where circumcision is the norm.

    Certainly Judaism would forbid it if we were not explicitly commanded to do it.

    So to them it’s weird and barbaric.
    And it’s their country.

  • Devout Muslims don’t engage in pre-marital sexual intercourse.

    80% of all women polled have faked orgasms.

    I wouldn’t ban male circumcision if an adult decides he wants one and the circumcision is carried out by a qualified surgeon. I’d ban the possibility to impose it on children. Analogously, I’d ban piercings and tattoos on kids (as well as hair-dyes, decorative cosmetics and high heels [!!!] on toddlers and children).

    Urgh, ck, even goyim wash down there…

  • Well, well… at least 2 Jewlicious writers agree with a ban on Jewish circumcision. My oh my. Of course the government of Denmark, being a sovereign entity, has every right to pass whatever legislation it likes. However, given that male circumcision is a benign procedure, performed 100s of millions of times, with documented health (let alone aesthetic) benefits, and given that ritual male circumcision has been an essential part of the Jewish religion – well, all I can say is FUCK DENMARK.

    Of course a state has a responsibility to protect its citizens. Child welfare laws for instance, exist to protect children against egregious and harmful acts of others including their parents. But there’s a limit to the state’s right to intervene in how parents exercise their obligation, their legal and moral obligation, to raise their children as they see fit. Your Mom’s over protectiveness may have left you a neurotic mess, your Dad’s indifference may have turned you into a promiscuous slut, but we don’t legislate against that because as long as your parents feed you, clothe you and provide for overall well being, the state ought not intervene in what is a deeply private matter.

    So again. FUCK DENMARK. The operative principle in legislating on behalf of children is the question of what is in the child’s best interest. For those who believe in the Jewish religion, ritual circumcision, performed on the eighth day of his life brings the child into the covenant between God and Abraham. This has been an essential and defining aspect of the Jewish people for 1000s of years. Yes Denmark, thanks for saving our Jews from the Nazis. Thanks for being decent. But fuck you anyway. Parents have the right and the obligation to instill their moral values into their children. Ritual circumcision is an essential part of that process. Outlawing Jewish ritual circumcision represents an outrageous act of State interference in a citizen’s private life and their right to reasonably unfettered freedom of religion.

    If this xenophobic, idiotic and offensive legislation passes, Denmark will be on my shit list in the worst way. Of course Denmark has nothing to fear from the likes of me, but in all likelihood, those who think as I do will cease to travel to Denmark – big deal, Tivoli is overrated anyway as are those over the top butter cookies – and cease to purchase Danish products and cease to have anything to do with the country.

    Jews travel a lot. They buy a lot of shit. Think about that stupid Denmark before you pull off such a boneheaded move.

  • Word, ck. Is there any more disgusting word in the English language than “smegma”?

    Actually, froylein, my wife, who is an obstetric nurse, had to tell her sister-in-law to wash her young son’s equipment properly (retract the foreskin and clean under it) to prevent the infections he kept on getting. She had no idea she had to do it.

    When I was living in Japan, I saw a TV show about a doctor whose entire practice consisted of doing nothing but performing radical circumcisions on adult men who were afflicted by varying degrees of phimosis or other foreskin-related problems that hampered their ability to have normal sex lives. He did nothing all day but cut, cut, cut. And he said “The Jews are so smart, they do this to their boys automatically. Why don’t we have this wonderful procedure here in Japan?” (The Japanese don’t circumcise.) Of course, the counter-argument is that pulling out all of your teeth is no way to prevent cavities.

    As far as aesthetics are concerned, that is a matter of, well, aesthetics, which are completely subjective and learned. If a person is trained to believe a cut/uncut member is prettier, that is exactly what they will think.

    As far as sexual function and senstations are concerned, I know three men who were circumcised in adulthood. Two said sex felt exactly the same and one said if felt better. (One guy said he did it because he was tired, as he put it, of being a “cheese factory”.)

    In the final analysis, though, we cut because Hashem told us to. There is no way goyim will ever understand that, and perhaps that’s just never going to change. Milah is a visible sign that says to everyone that a Jewish man’s penis, and therefore his sexuality, does not belong to him and that he cannot do with it what he wills. He has to use it only as Hashem says he can. That is, Hashem is the Super Ego, the buzzkill, the wet blanket at the party who says “No, ‘if it feels good do it’ is not how things work”. However, that is precisely what the sexual revolution is about, (and what the yetzer tells us) the idea that man is a totally free agent and there is no G-d telling him what to do, or, even if there is a G-d, he should just gey avek already. Judaism stands in opposition to this, and so goyim instinctively oppose it and its most visible sign, the milah. And of course, for Jews who are not religious, eventually they will discard the milah also, and that’s the end of it.

    Still, I think this is probably what other posters have said: primarily an anti-Muslim decree. The number of Jews in Denmark is negligible, and if they have to lose their Jews to avoid being turned into dhimmi in their own country, they’ll do it.

    I’m surprised DK didn’t chime in waving the Danish flag, though. This should be right up his alley. Maybe he can find a nice Danish girl and settle down in Copenhagen.

    But, yeah: if this passes, fuck Denmark.

  • ck, Muffti and I neither are Orthodox. 🙂

    Don’t worry, Ephraim, I know about the religious implications of ritual Jewish cicumcision. This blogger has studied what you call religious studies in the US. So just because I’m not observant doesn’t mean I don’t know my stuff. But because of my studies, I also know that many rites and customs in Judaism have changed a lot over the course of history, yet are perceived “authentic” and “Orthodox” by many, e.g. in contrast to popular belief and claim, the Talmud does not state that a glass should be broken at weddings to commemorate the destruction of the Temple and remind Jews that in all joy there should / could never be too much joy because of this. The actual thing the Talmud states is just the last part of that sentiment. The breaking of glasses was adopted in the Rhineland around the 12th / 13th century CE (rabbis of that time made note of that novelty fad), and the glasses would also be smashed against a special stone (there still is one in Bingen; got a pic somewhere), not stepped upon. The custom in the respective environment was to throw glasses against the northern walls of houses (the dark north [e.g. Denmark] was believed to be the place evil spirits stem from, and the noise of the breaking glass was supposed to scare those evil spirits away). Lighting candles instead of oil flasks is an adoption of Christian customs, too (that’s why I like ck’s chanukia). Ironically enough, lighting candles in Christianity symbolizes spreading the message of Jesus. Oh, and since it’s the season, “Chanuka gelt” is an adoption of St Nicholas Day customs. (Forget about that theologically outrages shtuss Aish’s got on its website as an explanation for Chanuka gelt). The chocolate of the chocolate coins sucks in both cases though. And the underlying idea behind it could well apply to both faiths’ mindest as well: originally, only girls were given coins (and later chocolate coins) on St Nicholas as a symbolic dowry; it was supposed to bring them good luck in finding a husband.

    Child welfare laws differ from state to state. Germany permits circumcision just as it permits parents to have their kids pierced, tattooed or named with a name that bears a social sttigmata. But I do find either possibly harmful to the child’s welfare, and counterarguing circumcision by cases of neglect (insufficient sanitary measures taken) is counterarguing a procedure that generally is carried out on more healthy bodies than whatnot with anecdotal evidence. That is not profound enough to make a case as foreskins do not inevitably lead to unhealthy lifestyles and lack of hygenie. (If you’ve ever sat next to a group of Chasidim on a train in Brooklyn, you’ll know that circumcision is not a guarantor for personal hygenie either ;-)). Also, whether I find cut men more aesthetically pleasing or not (I do) is, as Ephraim correctly notes, subjective and therefore cannot be the basis of any legislative, secular of religious.

    I find the open anti-Muslim tendencies in Denmark worrisome; afterall, apart from the troublemakers that stick out, there is a large number of decent, secular Muslims in Western Europe that often enough have left their original countries because of religious extremists.

    I’ve spent a lot of time in Northern Germany, where there always are a lot of Danish people, and must say I’ve only encountered nice ones (even though many know crude sex jokes), and I’ve learnt some Danish because of that, too. So I would be wary of projecting the actions of Danish legislators onto the entire people.

    The butter cookies do suck (I don’t like butter); my younger bro loves them, so I just keep the cans to store my own cookies in. Danish roast onions, licorice, red grits (a fruit sauce made out of various berries and cherries), and kransekage (a delicate puff pastry cake, filled with marcipan, slightly iced and covered with sliced almonds) do kick tuches though. So does LEGO.

    But we also shouldn’t forget how many on here bravoed the infamous Danish cartoon contest; part of the entries were of a contextual quality that, if analogously applied to Judaism, would have been considered blatantly and upsettingly anti-Semitic. We reap what we sow. I’ve stated this before, those European legislators that will turn against Muslims as a whole and not just religious or political extremists will swiftly just as much turn against Jews. Their motifs seem xenophobic at the very least; their target is random.

    Anti-Muslim (not anti-Islamist) actions by state officials are despicable. There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.

  • Froylein:

    The Talmud documents Tana’im and Amora’im breaking plates and other vessels to temper the gaiety of weddings and other occasions.

    This is not the first time you have set yourself up as an “expert” based on academic study of Judaism.

    That is foolhardy given academia’s track record of ignorant hubris regarding all things Judaic or Judeo-Christian.

    Our sages say that one of the marks of a “Talmid Chacham” – which literally translates as “wise STUDENT” – is that they admit they don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Yeah, what they said… besides, the breaking glass example is not good one since brit milah, ritual Jewish circumcision, is dehoraytah – from the Torah. And I hate that word Orthodox. I’m not Orthodox. I’m Jewish. I know that we live in an era where everything passed onto us is up for questioning and if it isn’t warm feeling, subject to abrogation. So Kashrut? Shabbat? Who needs em. Throw them out and brit milah too, why not?

    As time passes, there will be less and less to mark us as distinct and then we will have no raison d’etre. Some don’t care, and that’s cool, but I do.

  • ck:
    As time passes, there will be less and less to mark us as distinct and then we will have no raison d’etre. Some don’t care, and that’s cool, but I do.
    – – – – – – – – –
    … which begs the questions:

    – what is the Jewish raison d’etre?
    – why should the Jews have a raison d’etre? Other nations simply exist, with no goal other than self-interest.

    The only Jewish raison d’etre that stands through time is the notion of a binding covenant with G-d at Sinai.

    Once that sense of obligation is gone, it’s just a matter of cherry-picking which “folkways” you want to keep to adorn a life lived in another culture. There is little real difference between an uber-left-wing Reconstructionist and a more “traditional” or “observant” Conservative Jew: they are both on the same slippery slope of Judaism as a cultural, rather than religious, heritage.

    Being Israeli and speaking Hebrew (or being a “traditional” Sephardi somewhat removed from the Ashkenazi split into sects) doesn’t innoculate against this one bit.

    The Mapai’s attempt to replace Jewish identity with Israeli identity has failed spectacularly – leaving many secular Israelis unable to articulate a defense of their country – because they literally don’t know why they are here. They have nothing to stand for, or on.

  • froylein wrote: “But we also shouldn’t forget how many on here bravoed the infamous Danish cartoon contest; part of the entries were of a contextual quality that, if analogously applied to Judaism, would have been considered blatantly and upsettingly anti-Semitic.”

    I dunno about that. Have you been to evcomics.com ? We celebrate Mr. Valley because although his cartoons are often shocking, they allow us to contemplate weighty issues related to Judaism and Jewish identity. What would happen to any Muslim who graphically depicted Allah as an uncircumcised Sadistic God who enjoys raping his people? My values remain consistent across the board, thank you.

    And uh… fuck Denmark.

  • Dani and Yael, I very much agree. I won’t accept any arguments that male and female circumcisions are remotely comparable or judgment should be withheld based on cultural relativism.

    Female gentital multilation has been described in several novels from a variety of perspectives. It means clitoridectomy (excision of the clitoris and inner labia) and,in some cultures such as in Somalia, additional infubulation (surgical closure of the outer labia) causing extremely painful menstuations and necessity for subsequent manual rupture or, if the husband is understanding, surgery. In no way should FGM be called female circumcision.

    There is no meritorious argument that either of the above are benign procedures. The claim that a women can undergo removal of the clitoral organ without sexual consequence is absolutely absurd. Because a man can still gain entrance does not mean she is fine, physcially or emotionally.

    Read Fauziya Kassingdja’s story, “Do They Hear You When you Cry?. She fled hours before the ritual kakia was to occur. There is also Aman, The Story of a Somali girl who went unconscious when a man entered her ripping open her “circumcision.” She hemorrhaged and became infected.

    As an immigration lawyer, I am fully aware of these stories and the fear established. No woman should be suffer fear of this procedure or, for those already cut, her first sexual experience that she wants to die, that she flees across a desert on foot, …

  • Hey now, I am not going to lie, I like Denmark. I was there last summer to visit my friend and enjoyed many aspects of Danish society and culture.

    I’m not, however, so keen on Denmark’s xenophobia on both sides of the fence.

    None of these articles explain why the ban has come up, just that it’s coming. Why now?

  • BD, I do not claim to know everything, but that very rite I referred to and how it developed has in detail been explained by the reputable Jewish historian and rabbi Dr Michael Hilton. A wise student is one who thinks (reads & researches) outside his box. I should like to know more about that track record of academia’s disregard for, or, as you put it, ignorant hubris towards Judaism; apparently the many European Jewish academics after the Jewish Enlightment (the contributors to the Jewish Encyclopaedia and the Monumenta Judaica in particular) as well as current Jewish historians of standing, e.g. Nicholas DeLange and Julius H. Schoeps have to be grossly ignored to make such a claim. Both are religious people. Prof.em. Dr Meier Schwartz of HUJI was a religious person, yet he was an outstanding expert on how Jews and Christians interacted in the Rhineland, the cradle of Central, Eastern and Northern European Jewry. Obviously living up to academic standards in their works doesn’t / didn’t keep them from being religious. Too sad there seem to be people who think being religious does keep one from living up to academic standards.

    ck, I know EV’s comics and have had the pleasure of meeting Eli in person. The thing he does, which differentiates him from the Danish cartoonists, is that he targets his own people; that is a trait typical of Jewish humour. And I haven’t got the slightest doubt that many people do not only just consider him thought-provoking but offensive. The question to raise is not one of what would happen to a Muslim if he did what Eli does within his own cultural context (I suppose the case of Salman Rushdie will give you a satisfactory answer) but one of how mindless initial support of islamophobic (beyond being critical of Islamism) tendencies in Denmark have backfired for Jews as well. Curiously enough and something to consider maybe, when Dan Brown’s ridiculous excuse of a historical novel (The DaVinci Code) gained popularity, Hagalil published an article highly critical of the book; not of its style, but of the manner in which pseudo-research and pseudo-facts are presented and to what conclusions the story comes, the way the writer presents himself and the research he claims to have done etc. I suppose somebody at Hagalil saw how such a work of fiction has had disastrous effects on Jews. To re-phrase the old sentiment, don’t let be done to your neighbour what you do not wish to be done to you.

  • Dani and Yael, I very much agree. I won’t accept any arguments that male and female circumcisions are remotely comparable or judgment should be withheld based on cultural relativism.

    How very convenient of you. Don’t look deeper. You will not like what you see.

    http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/mgmfgm.html
    nocirc.org
    noharmm.org

  • DK, I take it that you are supporting a ban on both female and male circumcision or at least acknowledging the equivalencies of both. There is a well-written essay included in Best Jewish Writings of 2003 (I think I have the year correct, close anyway) that discusses Jewish attitudes and arguments against male circumcision.

    Okay, my statement that they are not remotely comparable should have been better stated. I’ve long heard the equivalency arguments listed on fgmnetwork.org, and do recognize some parallels such as a parent is choosing for a child, etc. I still maintain that FGM is in a class unto itself in method and harm.

    Before June 13, 1996 (Fauziya’s case), asylum was not granted to women fleeing to the US. precisely because of arguments that FGM must be tolerated under the concept of cultural realtivism. Fauziya waited 16 months in an American jail before a human rights team took on her case.

    To quote from Waris Dire, whose book I read, (the quote taken from fgmnetwork.org listed above):

    “I realized I needed to talk about my circumcision; First of all, it bothers me deeply. Besides the health problems that I still struggle with, I will never know the pleasures of sex. I feel incomplete, crippled, and knowing that there’s nothing I can do to change that is the most hopeless feeling of all.

    The second reason was my hope of making people aware that this practice still occurs today. I’ve got to speak not only for me but for the millions of girls living with it and those dying from it.

    When the interview came out, the response was dramatic. The magazine was swamped with letters. I began giving more interviews and speaking at schools, community organizations and anywhere I could to publicize the issue.

    In 1997 the United Nations Population Fund invited me to join its fight to stop female circumcision, or female genital mutilation (FGM), as it is more aptly called today. The World Health Organization has compiled some truly terrifying statistics that put the extent of the problem in perspective. After I saw those numbers, it became clear that this wasn’t just my problem.

    FGM is practiced predominantly in Africa-in 28 countries. Now cases have been reported among girls and women in the United States and Europe, where there are large number of African immigrants. This practice has been performed on as many as 130 million girls and women worldwide. At least two million girls are at risk each year of being the next victims-that’s 6000 a day.

    The operations are usually performed in primitive circumstances by village women using knives, scissors, even sharp stones. They use no anesthetic. The process ranges in severity. The most minimal damage is cutting away the hood of the clitoris. At the other end of the spectrum is infibulation, which is performed on 80 percent of the women in Somalia, and which prohibits the girl from enjoying sex for the rest of her life.

    When I imagine more little girls going through what I went through, it breaks my heart and makes me angry.

    With great pride, I accepted the U.N. Population Fund’s offer to become a special ambassador and to join its fight.”

    Bottom line, if one wishes to perserve Jewish male circumcision, it will have to be differentiated from FGM. Citing halakhic duty won’t persuade any European goy.

  • Citing halakhic duty won’t persuade any European goy.

    Particularly so since many other halachic duties are not observed even by the religious (if you don’t like the word Orthodox in case it evokes associations with Easter European Orthodoxy) either.

  • Muffti:
    I understand where they’re coming from, and it’s their country – but I do think this is overkill. Circumcision is not the same thing as subincision or FGM. Just like kosher slaughter is not the same thing as bull-baiting or cockfights.

    If you want to keep Muslims from overrunning your country, stop giving them visas and welfare, and stop accommodating polygamy and sharia law. And take back as much of your sovereignty from Brussels as you can – while you still can.

    (and find some other source of cheap labor to make your heavily socialist economy work – oops!)

    But this kind of “back door” legislation is wimpy and ineffective – like the French headscarf ban. Give me a break.

  • Froylein:

    Why did the “reputable” Jewish historian omit the direct Talmudic reference to the practice of breaking plates?

    sighhhhhhhh……

    I am not going to go through your list of names – which resembles similar echo-chamber arguments-by-authority used by everyone from climate-change crazies to Palestinian apologists. Talk about not thinking outside the box!

    Nor do I have to prove that much of the Enlightenment/post-Enlightenment academic study of Judaism was driven by the Reform movement’s agenda of nose-jobbing Judaism, and explaining away those “primitive” bits that didn’t fit the assimilationist program of the time. This bias is common knowledge.

    We are still struggling in Israel with revisionist historians and archaeologists who pursue their anti-traditional agendas despite mounting factual evidence that buries their pet theories.

    Judaism is unique in being very open to the layperson. You can walk into a shul (which literally means “school”) and take the books of the shelf. Why don’t you do that – instead of getting your Judaism through an academic filter?

    Judaism is also unique in being biased towards action (mitzvot)and communal experience. That is, Judaism is something you live and do, not something you dissect. Again – why not try it?

    I would be much more respectful of a post/opinion/argument stemming from personal lived experience than I would be of claims based on academic study of Judaism.

  • BD, first of all, those historians I mentioned have got nothing to do with American “nose-jobbing” Reform Judaism. Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton (Britain) did quote the Talmud. And he, as well as I, did state that the Talmud does not mention breaking glasses at weddings. That is what I said. If you want to argue that, please do. But I do find it amusing that an allegedly religious believer has got such little faith in the authenticity of his beliefs, traditions, religious leaders and sources that he flat-out denies academic approaches to that very religion. If there were substance to your beliefs, you’d have nothing to be concerned about. If you were able to prove that post-Enlightment Judaistics were agenda-driven, you would. But then you’d have to look more deeply into matters and would quickly see that most of the scholars were religious, many of the Western Orthodox type. Your claim that academics don’t get hands on the sources is just a biased assumption, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. An opinion based on experiences or alleged experiences is nothing to argue with; people make unique experiences. If anything, the academic filter has shown me that what ck claimed to be a decline of sophistication is not just brought about by Reform Judaism but in large part by Orthodoxy, Eastern European variety.

  • It may well be overkill, B-D; but Muffti thinks there is a fine line here. It certainly isn’t cruel like the other examples, but it’s also not necessary or proven to be beneficial healthwise. However, Muffti agrees that religions ought to be able to be pursued in absence of state pressure so the issue is difficult. But agreed on the spinelessness of the manner.

  • Froylein:
    But I do find it amusing that an allegedly religious believer has got such little faith in the authenticity of his beliefs, traditions, religious leaders and sources that he flat-out denies academic approaches to that very religion. If there were substance to your beliefs, you’d have nothing to be concerned about.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    … but that’s just the point: I have full faith in the “authenticity” of my beliefs without an academic (=official Western) stamp of approval.

    There already IS substance to my beliefs – totally independent of, and unaffected by, pseudo-scientific research or academic versions of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

    Which is why is am “not concerned about” these researches: they are of little concern, beyond piquant historical anecdotes. They do not define lived Judaism or impact it in any real way.

  • Froylein:
    But I do find it amusing that an allegedly religious believer has got such little faith in the authenticity of his beliefs, traditions, religious leaders and sources that he flat-out denies academic approaches to that very religion. If there were substance to your beliefs, you’d have nothing to be concerned about.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    … but that’s just the point: I have full faith in the “authenticity” of my beliefs without an academic (=official Western) stamp of approval.

    There already IS substance to my beliefs – totally independent of, and unaffected by, pseudo-scientific research or academic versions of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

    Which is why is am “not concerned about” these researches: they are of little concern, beyond piquant historical anecdotes. They do not define lived Judaism or impact it in any real way.

    Again: you are invited to connect with real, lived Judaism. And I will respect statements made from that lived experience – much more than second-hand quotes of (often axe-grinding) academic opinion about what Judaism is conjectured to have been, or to be.

  • Muffti:
    It certainly isn’t cruel like the other examples, but it’s also not necessary or proven to be beneficial healthwise.
    – – – – – – –
    Well, some benefits have been noticed – for example, prophylaxis against many venereal diseases and possibly reduced incidence of urinary tract infections.

    The question that REALLY gets the fur flying is whether circumcision is demonstrably *harmful*.

    That’s the one that brings the whacko activists out of the woodwork – and also reveals any latent perceptions of Jews as abnormal/other.

  • BD, the crux is that Orthodoxy is outliving itself if it doesn’t acknowledge critical scholarly approaches. The best thing that could happen to the Catholic Church was that Bismarck forced prospective priests to receive university training. At hindsight, he did the Catholics a huge favour as this move made for continuity. Also, my first-hand Jewish experiences were shaped by my great-grandmother’s Western European type of Orthodoxy that considered the (deliberately less and initially non-scholarly) Eastern European type worrisome to say the least.

    BTW, an “Asian” recipe you might enjoy:
    Heat about three to four large tablespoonfuls [TS] of chunky peanut butter with three TS soy sauce, one TS sweet chili sauce (or use regular chili sauce and some sweetener / sugar), 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 generous TS of your fav masala / curry mix, 5 TS oil, a handful of sesame seeds or non-salted peanuts. Put aside. Prepare wok noodles (whatever your preference; I mostly use those you just need to soak in boiling water for a few minutes), fried meat stripes (e.g. chicken breast filet; I marinate it with lemongrass and ginger, but you need not season it), broccoli in bite-size chunks (briefly boiled in salted water till just about done; drain). Mix all with sauce. 1 lb of each noodles and meat and 1/2 lb of broccoli should get you about 8 huge servings.

  • That’s the one that brings the whacko activists out of the woodwork

    Oh, they sure are crazy. And often, it’s the same whackos that are anti-circ that are anti-FGM. You know why people hate FGM? Because they hate Islam and they hate Allah. They are haters who just hate for no reason. Hate hate hate hate.

  • Froylein:
    1) I am of “yekke” descent, and was schooled in Hirschian “Torah im Derech Eretz” approaches, to which I still subscribe.

    But, like Hirsch, I don’t see Orthodoxy in any way lacking for not adopting critical approaches. Your remark about Orthodoxy “outliving” itself is particularly ironic considering that the term “outliving themselves” better describes the various Reform movements – deeply linked with the academic approach to Judaism – that claimed to be “improving” the dinosaur of covenantal Judaism.

    It is they whom Torah Judaism has “outlived”.

    2) I tried desperately to get my kids into various stir-fry type dishes, unfortunately it didn’t catch on. I loved cooking that type of food when I was younger, and it is very easy and quick when you have to feed a family.

    Here in Israel I can get everything from tamarind paste to bottled thai chili sauce with excellent Rabbinical supervision. We also have pretty good locally-made ramen noodles, and imported cellophane noodles. The markets have pre-sliced veggies for those who have the $$$.

    Maybe I should try again now that they’re older.

  • BD, I disagree with you there. Orthodoxy is on a decline; not numberwise, but intellectually, educationwise, socially. Most of my Jewish friends are Orthodox, the largest number is Chasidish, and besides one (a Bobover) they lack in all three departments.

    We’ve got great Asian ingredients here, too, but I live in a remote place, where you’ve only got limited choices. So I do most of my grocery shopping before driving home from work and improvise if I don’t have a certain ingredient. Frozen, pre-sliced veggies sell at about the same price as fresh ones here, so I keep a little supply of frozen broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers etc. in the freezer for when I need to hurry or have got no fresh stuff at hand.

    Maybe the kids would enjoy the stir-fry more if they could give you a hand. According to my expriences, kids will eat about anything if they have prepared it themselves.

  • Im glad that this post has created some fervor and debate. I dont have much else to say other than… while Denmark is a nice place where I considered spending some extended time there… no longer.

    Denmark, get your act together.

  • B-D, the benefits have long been controversial, and probably so politically tainted that it would take a lot to convince anyone of a particular side. It’s a good question as well as to whether or not it is harmful – in these cases, where there is a (medically) optional surgery, does the law put the burden of proof on the people who want it for their kids to show that it is not harmful, or is the burden on the state to show that it is harmful? Or does this tend to vary country by country?

  • The problem with this post is it stacks the deck– it’s silent about the official rationale for the ban. We can doubt the health rationale, but how about permitting us to draw informed conclusions?

    Anyway, as to Muffti’s question: here’s an excerpt from the (US) Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, passed by Congress after the Supreme Court had ruled that “neutral” legislation free from discriminatory intent may impose constitutionally permissible burdens on religious practice:

    IN GENERAL.—Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).
    EXCEPTION.—Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it determines that application of the burden to the person—
    is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
    JUDICIAL RELIEF.—A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.

    The key phrase here is “compelling governmental interest”, a substantially higher threshold than the deferential “rational basis” test typically employed by US courts in weighing the constitutionality of legislation.

  • inneresting…agreed that the rationale is left out completely. Muffti guesses governments should have pretty little interest into the facts about your foreskin being present or absent!

  • Froylein:
    BD, I disagree with you there. Orthodoxy is on a decline; not numberwise, but intellectually, educationwise, socially. Most of my Jewish friends are Orthodox, the largest number is Chasidish, and besides one (a Bobover) they lack in all three departments
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    1) There is more to Orthodoxy than the Charedi world, and more pathways within Torah Judaism than the rather cloistered one now embraced by the Charedi world.

    2) The current “circle the wagons” mentality in the Charedi world – which has probably affected most of your Chassidish friends – is a transient reaction to the Holocaust and the virulent anti-religious agenda that still lingers here in Israel.

    It really is more of a political than a religious phenomenon. And it is starting to fall apart already.

    And again, it does not encompass all of Torah-true Judaism.

    Try meeting some young folks from Yeshiva University or Bar-Ilan University – or the many Orthodox American Jews who have studied at ivy-league colleges.

    … what exactly do you mean by your friends being in “social” decline? Many people are drawn to Orthodoxy precisely because of the sense of community. I assume your are referring to the more stifling aspects of modern Charedi culture?

  • Well, well, I’m aware there are different branches of Orthodoxy, but those appear just Conservative with a more self-confident label to me (in Europe, it’s just Orthodox or non-Orthodox in most parts). As for the ivy leaguers, I’ve never been to impressed by those and had always been under the impression that many hold the best degree daddy’s money could possibly buy. My suspicions were somewhat verified when the Program for International Student Assessment run by the OECD figured out that at age 15, the to-be ivy leaguers are on about the same level as special students in Germany. That’s not impressive at all.

    As for a social decline, I understand how many are attracted to what they perceive a social, amiable environment, but my experience is that actual social skills (aka “soft skills”) are rather low there. Throwing a holiday dinner every now and then is not enough to show sufficient social skills. There seems to be too much emphasis put on the “show”. In addition, many have got poor manners.

  • I am so sick and tired ofn Jewish and any other relion affiliated people who can’t help themselves telling the rest of us that they they are jews/any other religion.

    Right keep the world burning with your religious/cultural crap/

    You are damn right there should be a law against circumcision,.
    make that at 212 – then let people get circom..etc if they want to. If you can’t wait, move to another country.

    Bobie

  • First of all, this proposed law has not been passed. It was an issue raised mainly by the Danish People Party (Dansk Folkeparti, and you know, any party claiming to be “the peoples” party is fairly undemocratic and populistic), a rather rightwing, anti imigration party here in Denmark, who is vital for the conservative goverment in keeping its power.

    As written earlier on this page, the proposed law was directed against the more and more unpopular muslim community in Denmark, who demonstrated in favor of the taliban after 9-11, supports groups like Hizb-ut-Tahir (who (in)famously handed out flyers in Copenhagen, demanding the killing of all jews in Denmark) and whats to limit free speech (as in the debate about the so called “muhammed drawings”).. At the same time, many muslims dont work, are on wellfare, and dont participate in society (especially their women), where as most other groups of immigratant get fairly well intigrated. (Some might think im generalising, and I do to a certain extent, but Im trying to keep this comment as short as possible).
    Secondly, I dont think the bill was ever supposed to be passed, but was to be seen as more of a provocation towards muslims from the far right. It ended up also (as evidently on these pages) also being a provocation towards the jewish community in Denmark. Jews in Denmark are usually well intigrated, having been here in generations, most are private (though not secretive) about their beliefs (like most danes).. And Denmark being a fairly relaxed country when it comes to religion and religious traditions (most danes are not even religious like myself), we dont really understand or respect the importance of circumsision for jews and muslims.

    That said. Being a jew i Denmark is getting harder and harder (as the media here are focusing more and more on).. Racist attacks and slurs from the growing muslim communities. The old beautiful synagoge in Copenhagen has to have guards now. The jewish School looks like a fortress now, with its high walls, guards and policeprotection outside. Jews make sure not to wear jewish clothing or religous symbols, and I saw an anonymous jewish teacher, who works at a public school in Copenhagen, telling how he would newer dare to say to his students (60% muslim. The school was in one of the muslim ghettos in Copenhagen)he is jewis, and at resess, he would see the kids playing “kill the jews”.

    For many years Denmark has played the apeasement stategy towards muslims here in this country, and since the jews here are quiet and “danish”, we never really thought of them having a problem. Radical islam is now a real problem here, even though large part of the political and cultural elite here, refuses to recognize the problem. With terrible concequenses for not only jews, but certainly also moderate muslims as well.

    As it is, Denmark strongly supports the jewish community’s right to live in acordance with their traditions and values, though no religious tradition or custom is above the danish constitution. In Denmark, jews understands and embrace this, having given us many pillars of society (like former transport minister Arne Melchior, writer/journalist Dan Rachli and many more), giving back to the greater good of our community and hopefully enjoying the priveliges of our society as well.We also support the independence of Israel, though, as a friend, we take the liberty to say, when we dont agree with Israel (and when we support Israel)
    Others dont understand, that here, religion will never (and I strongly support this) stand above the law. This is the way it is supposed to be.

    We support everybodys right to follow their beliefs, sexual preferances and political views. The law is here to protect each group from each other, and as such, everybody can’t get everything they want. Thats democracy.

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