From the start of Reform Judaism in nineteenth century Germany there has been a growing movement within modern Judaism to leave behind human genital mutilation.
“I cannot support circumcision with any conviction, just because it has always been held in high regard. It remains a barbaric, bloody act, which fills the father with anxiety and subjects the mother to morbid stress. The idea of sacrifice, which once consecrated the procedure, has certainly vanished among us, as it should. It is a brutal act that does not deserve continuation. No matter how much religious sentiment may have clung to it in the past, today it is perpetuated only by custom and fear, to which surely we do not want to erect temples.” Rabbi Abraham Geiger, an influential Rabbi in the early Reform movement of Judaism.
“I believe circumcision is a major mistake… Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition.”
Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, One Rabbis’ Thoughts on Circumcision:
“The early Egyptians gifted us with circumcision. The patriarch Abraham was 99 years old when he made the covenant (hebrew: Brit’) with Yahweh. He circumcised himself. And we know that it was a small symbolic cut..the removal of the tip of the foreskin that hung over the glans.
In the second century , the Jews at this time were wanting to participate in the Greek and Roman olympics..they competed in the nude. The Greeks and Romans only allowed ‘intact’ males..as they celebrated the human form in its wholeness and completeness.
So, if a Jewish man wanted to compete..he would hang some weights from his existing foreskin and ‘restore’ himself. The Rabbis of this era did not take kindly to this practice of physical assimilation so they instituted two new rituals into the circumcision procedure.
1.Periah..the complete removal of the foreskin, exposing the glans, and in some cases, the removal of the frenulum (the extra-sensitive band of tissue on the underside of the penis.)
2.Metzitzah..the sucking of the blood from the cut penis
These two procedures are still performed among Orthodox Jews world wide.
So, from a simple snip at the time of Abraham, we now have a major blood-letting ceremony, complete with blood sucking.
This has got to stop..it is endangering the sexual integrity and health of our men and women and it has major potential for further dividing the Jewish people.
Our task as Jews is to be a “light unto the nations”, and to be a holy people.
Circumcision does not contribute to either of these principles.”