Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Ways to Make Your Keurig Addiction Healthier

It turns out my husband is pretty crunchy. In some ways, he's got more crunch than I do, such as his continued attempts to do Elimination Communication and his constant research about electronics, environmental toxins, and IR/EMF exposure.

He remains super uncrunchy (is this oatmeal-y?) when it comes to one thing, though. Caffeine. Coffee, energy drinks, super-expensive-drive-thru-flavored-cups-of-cancer. He loves them. He appreciates the careful methylation support and b-vitamin tinkering I provide him, but still wants a hot cup in the morning on his way to work.

So, it didn't surprise me when he begged for one thing for his birthday. He wanted a Keurig machine. I laughed. I rolled my eyes. I pointed out, "You had a regular coffee machine and never used it!" He insisted this was different. He insisted it was perfect for lazies like him.

I obliged. (With this deal, who could really say no?)

Let's say you can't keep away from the caffeine. You might have methylation concerns or MTHFR, but you still reach for that cup. Adrenals and thyroid be damned, you want your coffee! What are ways you can make that Keurig machine a bit crunchy?

I mean, stop and think about it. Those disposable plastic cups aren't breaking down anytime soon. And they are filled with chemicals, endocrine disruptors, and all kinds of goodies that are more easily transferred to your body when activated by heat/steam. The coffee pods available are typically filled with "flavoring" and other junk ingredients. It's not exactly something you should be spending money on to consume daily. What can you do?

1. Clean it regularly. Use distilled white vinegar and water, and perhaps a drop or two of your favourite antimicrobial essential oils, to clean through the tubing and reservoir regularly. This will prevent mold/bacterial growth since some of the models cannot be adequately emptied or cleaned.

2. Buy a reusable k-cup filter. Actually, it's $5 right now on Amazon, roughly 50% cheaper than retail prices. (Not a referral link, just being helpful.) Then you can fill it with organic, fair trade coffee or teas.

3. Buy compostable and organic k-cups. If you don't want a reusable cup, at least upgrade your disposable ones to the compostable, fair trade, organic options. Especially if you buy them at a big box retailer such as Costco or Sam's Club, you can get them at a discount. (Or clip the numerous coupons, or wait for a sale and stock up.) The difference in price is not that extreme to ensure you are reducing pollution and avoiding toxins, along with supporting fair trade commerce.

4. Keep healthier ingredients on hand. DH likes to put a splash of raw milk and a sprinkle of stevia into his cup. Nix that cancer-creamer or fake sugar and use this area as an opportunity to boost your health. Think of what can go into a cup of joe. You could do your daily DE or clay without even noticing it. Or some raw honey if you feel under the weather. Organic protein mixes or powdered vitamins, too.

5. Brew healthy drinks. Get creative. The machine is perfect for brewing up your favourite herbal mix. You could make a quick cup to dump into a hot bath for nightly detoxing/healing. Or make organic herbal teas.



I guess with a little bit of legwork, convenience can still be crunchy. At any rate, I don't think I'm going to separate these two anytime soon, so I'll do what I can to work around it! LOL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The day I told my husband to self-soothe



My husband arrived home from work, but as he stepped through the door, I could see that he was clearly upset. He shared with me that he was tired. He'd been dealing with some indigestion because his lunch was rushed. Then he sat down to share some more. He began talking to me about some concerns he had at his work.

That's when stopped him in his tracks. I shushed him.

He looked up at me with confusion, then started talking again. I cut him off again.

I told him, "Look, you need to take a time out. You need to sit in the other room and learn some coping skills and self-soothing skills." At this point, his confusion changed to anger. I could tell he was clearly upset now, but I continued to hold my position.

I was irate now. "You ate, right? The bills are paid? You have a roof over your head? You need to understand that your basic needs have been met. None of this whining about other things. You're on your own for those. You need to figure out how to deal with them alone."

His flash of anger had finally turned to hurt and sadness. With tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and asked me why I was doing this to him. He started to cry openly and reach out to me. I took a step back and set him straight.

"You need to stop manipulating me! You are way too old for that kind of clingy, whiny behavior! You need to figure out how to calm down by yourself. I'm just being a good wife. This is for your own good. What will the neighbors think? Stop crying now or I'll really give you something to cry about!"

Do you have a problem with the way I treat my adult husband? Do you see a problem with interacting this way in an intimate, caring relationship? Tell me, why is it okay to set these standards with our infants and children, even teens?

We demand that our infants and children do things that we don't expect from grown adults. We refuse to listen to them when they are having a bad day, insisting instead that they deal with it, and quietly!

We brush off their attempts to reconnect with us, sometimes physically pushing them away or removing them to separate rooms and time out spaces. We invalidate their negative emotions or punish them for expressing any sign of vulnerability and hurt.

WHY!!!???? If you wouldn't treat a grown adult this way in a loving relationship, don't force your infants and children to experience it either.

Relationships are about being there for the other person, not only during wonderful times, but most especially during the hardest and darkest of times. People find the strength to keep going when they are supported, validated, and respected. Their fears are soothed not by being hidden behind closed doors, alone, but rather by being welcomed with a warm heart and open arms.

How would you have treated your husband if he walked through the door upset today? And how will you treat your baby when she cries out in the middle of the night? Or your 4 year old when he whines for food? Or your teen when she gets angry to hide her hurt over a disagreement?

Instead of focusing on laying down the law and obtaining power over the other person, shift your focus to restoring the relationship. Stop focusing on invalidating the other person. Start reconnecting. Affirm. Uplift. Listen, truly listen with a caring heart. Empathize. Relate. Build rapport. Support. Share honestly if giving advice, but with kindness. Be there for the other person.


© 2014 Holly Paz

Holly Paz, mother to four, puts her mothering where her mouth is when it comes to perspective and experience. She's walked many roads including a c-section birth and VBAC. She used the CIO (Cry it out) method with her first child and has made a complete 180, learning the value of responsive parenting along the way. She wants others to also be inspired to change, to better their parent/child relationships and to raise children in tune with their needs and feelings. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The van with stickers all over the windows

Do you sport stickers on your windows? Crayon in your carpet?
Crumbs in every crack? Scratches on the door? This post is for you!

We're not rich. I don't often focus on that for several reasons. First, I believe in the process of encouraging abundant thinking and grateful living. Second, I feel wary about complaining or being negative when I know we are lucky as it is that my husband has a fulfilling job to cover the bills, that we have a safe home, and that we have healthy food to put on the table. I know that's more than many in this world.

Still, every now and then I feel the swirling doubts, fears, and discontent in my mind. It's hard to be a stay at home mom counting every penny, and not look down the other pathway in the medical field and think, "What if I had chosen a lucrative career instead?"

Maybe the ingratitude slipped into my heart innocuously, on the backs of all those extremely fit, shiny beach bodies in the vacation ads that seemed to have cropped up with the turn of the season recently.

Whatever silently crept into my day, it was there, hanging over me as I took the kids grocery shopping. I felt it as I pulled my sputtering old van into a parking lot and pulled open the squeaky doors. I felt it as I painstakingly calculated unit prices and stacked coupons with mobile rebate offers, noticing as others simply grabbed what they wanted off the shelf and hurried on their way.

I felt it as I got to the checkout and spent a frazzled few minutes trying to gently wrestle 4 shrieking monkeys while keeping an eagle eye on the cashier and the total to make sure everything was perfect. I felt it in the sigh of relief as I ended up 30 cents under my budget. Another successful shopping trip.

By the time I was pushing my full cart out to the van, I let those negative thoughts float freely in my head. We're poor. We're not keeping up with the Joneses. Our house is tiny. The van is going to die any day now. I'm tired of the stress.

Distracted by my self-pity, I let the kids get ahead of me and missed a beat. In an instant, I had unlocked the door without noticing my 3 year old was up by the passenger side. He loves to open the passenger door and climb into the front seat. I jumped around the van, words caught in my throat, and it was too late. With the energy of a 3 year old boy, he flung open the door, slamming it into....

Shit. Yes, a shit was required here.

He slammed it right into some kind of black, shiny, convertible sports car filled with two wealthy looking people. I stood there, my mouth not even able to fall open, watching what was almost like a Matrix-style scene, as the van door bounced off the side of this beautiful car, the thunk reverberating through my head. Holy cow, I thought to myself. The repair for that is going to cost more than our van is worth!

I grabbed my son and stood there, waiting in shock, as the man climbed out of his convertible and turned towards me. "I'm so so sorry. Does it look like there's any damage?" No response from him, so I kept at it. "I should've kept an eye on him! I can't believe this happened. I'm so terribly sorry." Before the man could respond, my 5 year old daughter decided to add her voice to the situation. She rang out loudly, "Wow! You must be really rich! You have a cool car!"

The man was older, maybe in his 40s, and looked pained. He put his hands on his hips, and stared at us all, my 4 monkeys practically vibrating with energy. A huge kid-cart filled with groceries, foam swords sticking out, open snacks, water bottles, and two ergos. All next to my dinged up, scratched up, rusting old car with the missing license plate.

Then he changed my life that day.

"Little Miss. I'm not rich. I'm actually quite poor. Your mom here is the rich one."

He looked at me. "See, my wife and I wanted nothing more than children, but we didn't know it at the time. We sought riches first. We worked hard to be rich and we were rewarded. But, we didn't know what it meant to be truly wealthy. Oh, yes, we had our big home and our vacation home. We had our careers. We had our fancy cars. We didn't have bills to worry about or budgets to follow. We thought we had it all. And now I know we have nothing at all. We are the poorest of the poor."

He waved at my van. "I would trade you my three cars, my big home, my vacation home, my timeshare, my gadgets, my chef, all of it. I would trade you the nice clothes off my back and the shoes I'm wearing, for just one trip in this van, this happy van with stickers all over the windows. I would climb into your old van and drive away a happy man, the richest and wealthiest man in the world."

Then he smiled and said, "Don't worry about that scratch. Just do me one thing and remember how blessed you are today. Don't squander your riches."

I buckled in the children, put in the groceries and climbed into my seat. I started to sigh at the familiar sight of the yellow empty sign on the gas gauge. And then I caught myself. I didn't have money to spare. Or the career I thought I deserved. I didn't have a big, fancy home or a nice car. But as the kids started to sing along to their preschool CD and I heard their loud, giggling voices, I realized I was driving home wealthy.

It's true, we don't have a lot of treasure in our family. But, we do have each other to treasure. I'm forever grateful to that man for his reminder. I hope his words ring true against any negativity that pops into my heart and mind in the future.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Parasites in your bum howling at the moon? Tidbits on melatonin and immune modulation of parasites

Everyone has heard that parasites become more active with the full moon. A quick google search brings up plenty of articles and discussions on this phenomenon, but no clear answers. Some people have theorized that gravitational changes are the cause, but this doesn't make a lot of sense in regards to parasitic behavioral changes. So, what's causing the bugs to go out for a romp when the moon is hanging in the sky? Is this a myth? Psychosomatic?

I was browsing available medical literature on human sleep during lunar cycles when something caught my eye. Researchers observed human sleeping patterns during full moon activity and discovered that melatonin rates drop during the full moon. (Read about the study here.)

This immediately piqued my interest because a frequent talking point in the natural community is that children with gut issues...damaged guts, leaky guts, food intolerances, allergies, and the resulting behavioral labels that come with this situation such as autism, ADHD, SPD, etc have very hyper sleep patterns and are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. Parents desperately turn to melatonin supplements in these cases.

Then I remembered something from my college days. Parasitology 101: melatonin in the host can influence the parasitic-host relationship. See, melatonin might be known as the sleep hormone, but it has immune system functions, too. It makes sense that if children are exhibiting immune system issues, they might also have low melatonin. (And it's chicken or the egg: could low melatonin be causing the immune system issues? And what caused low melatonin in that case?) At any rate, the wheels started turning.

I quickly typed in, "Melatonin parasites" and began reviewing the current medical literature on the topic. Sure enough, I found several references to the influence of this indolamine on parasitic infections. Melatonin mediates immune responses to parasites, controlling their reproductive cycles, their population levels, and host "fighting reaction" to infection. (See the studies here and here for examples.)

So, if you notice a change in your health during the full moon, especially regarding parasitic infestation and gut issues such as flatulence, constipation, and bloating, or mood changes such as irritability, insomnia, and brain fog, consider supporting your neurochemical balance in the brain, along with healing your gut. Research healthy foods that support serotonin and melatonin. Brush up on amino acids needed for neurochemical health. If you suspect parasites, touch base with a health care provider for testing. Depending on the type of parasite, things such as minced garlic, diatomaceous earth and various essential oils can help.

And the next time your kids are jumping off the ceiling, refusing to sleep, and running around like crazed zombies during the full moon, you might have an interesting answer for onlookers. "It's the parasites! The melatonin hormone has dropped and those parasites are howling at the moon!"

And you thought it was just the red hair!




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When Dog Ownership is Violence and Cutting Your Son is Freedom

I learned something new the other day. I casually mentioned my dog, Butters, while at the playground. I laughed a little and said, "I never thought I would be a dog owner, but he sure is cute!" The lady I was talking to did not respond with amusement. Her face remained flat as she sternly rebuked me. "Dog ownership is a form of violence. It is wrong to own another living being. I am an animal companion."

We have reached a fascinating step in mankind's development. We have reached a time where we are dedicated to eradicating any form of violence against any living being. To smack a dog on the nose is abuse. To cut its tail is an unspeakable horror.

And I certainly find nothing wrong with that stance. Hurting another living being does not receive defense from me. I do not punitively care for my dog, despite the inadvertent use of a politically incorrect label. I guess my doggie companion will forgive my verbally violent labeling even if this society cannot.

What I find most hysterically concerning is actually the inconsistency in applying an affront to violence. Are we actually opposing violence because it is violence? Or do we select specific forms of it and specific victims to suit our own emotional needs?

I have an analogy, one that I have shared during those terse and unpleasant times when human violence activists begin to pick and choose what violence they oppose and what violence they support. They make bold attempts to oppose violence while still loudly supporting it in another way.

Let's say, within the expanding field of prenatal surgery, that a mother is now able to choose elective circumcision surgery on her son while he is still in her womb. Thanks to the miraculous advance of technology and medical precision, at the mere gestational age of 17 weeks, doctors can use a delicate laser to accurately remove every bit of the male's foreskin long before he is born.

Would someone who opposes circumcision but supports reproductive choice still support the mother in this situation? Would someone who opposes surgical abortion but supports parental circumcision choice still support the mother in this situation? Or will their heads merely explode after reading this analogy, as they refuse to acknowledge their hypocrisy and lash out at the messenger? Perhaps, then, the two parties will find unity in their contradiction.

If you oppose a mother electing to have a surgeon cut a piece of flesh off the body of her son after he is born, will you still oppose the mother electing this if her son is inside her womb? Is it not her reproductive choice to do as she desires while pregnant?

Will you only attempt to educate or dissuade the mother if the organ being destroyed is the foreskin? What if she decides to pay for other cosmetic changes? What if she decides to surgically alter her daughter in the womb?

If you say that circumcising a small, defenseless human being out of preference, desire, or misinformed and uneducated reasons is wrong, is painful, is violent, is inhumane, is cruel...do you only feel this way when the flesh removed from him is a foreskin? And only after he is born? What about if an arm is removed? A leg? At what gestational age is it repugnant? At 12 weeks? Or 22 weeks? Or maybe only the last trimester?

Oh, I do not hold only one party to the wall here. Let us not overlook the screaming, red-faced activists who vehemently oppose abortion. Life is precious! Unless you are a baby boy. Abortion is violent! But cutting a newborn's genitals is loving. We are pro-life! Except for when we want to risk our sons' for sexual preferences. She's a person, not a choice! He's my son, it's my choice! Ah, how the gaps grow wider.

If people are only now becoming aware of the level of violence against completely defenseless living beings, I see nothing wrong with giving them space to continue to soften their heart and adjust their ethics.

If someone has not stopped to think about what it means to dig a sharp tool down between the prepuce and penile shaft, to rip the two apart, and then to clamp and cut the organ off as the newborn is tied down to the circumstraint board and fully conscious, I hope she stops to think now.

If someone has not stopped to think about what it means to locate the being inside the womb, cut him into pieces small enough to vacuum out, reconstruct his body to ensure no pieces of him were left behind, then send him nameless and forgotten off for incineration, I hope she stops to think now.

What underlying need is more important than the plight of these tiny living beings? To be esteemed by friends? To be accepted into a group? To look as if you are saying the right thing and doing the right thing? What would cause a person to oppose violence against him in the womb, but then turn a blind eye to his bloody genitals after birth? What would cause a person to rally against the scalpel when applied to the penis, but fall silent when applied to his entire body?

I think back to an incident after the birth of my third son. For the first time in my mothering journey, I flinched while clipping the fingernails of my baby. I barely clamped down on the top of his finger, not even breaking the skin. He awakened immediately, eyes wide with fright, and began screaming. I felt a wave wash over me as I held him. What kind of wave must parents harden their hearts against when they sign the papers for something that cuts as deep as circumcision and as final as abortion?

If I cannot stand to clamp the tip of his finger accidentally, if I cannot so much as clamp the flesh on my son's penis after he is born, I certainly cannot clamp his arms and feet, nor crush his skull, nor have his tiny body sucked up into a tube to be incinerated. Circumcision, this thing some people consider to be a "snip" is a severe, deep human rights violation. The concept of dismembering his entire body, then, must be unbearable.

This aspect of ignoring violence has always perplexed me. If a woman, going back to my dog example, refuses to call herself a "dog owner" as she finds the concept of owning an animal to be a form of violence, what then of actual violence committed against defenseless beings?

If uttering a word is violent, if snipping foreskin is violent, what then, is this thing, this choice we can barely utter in close company, this magical "A" word, that involves crushing entire bodies and incinerating them as mere hospital waste?

So, you see, when activists from various topics mingle and begin to shout at each other, asserting who is the least violent and who holds the most important stance, I have to bring up my analogy about prenatal surgery.

Of course, I find that focusing on one topic at a time is sometimes necessary. People need to work through things, they need to reconsider, grapple, learn, and grow. Toss too much at them and it can shut them down or turn them off to your thoughts. I get that. I also think the forest is filled with birds and each bird has a unique song. Focus on what your talent is and share it with the world. If you lack experience or insight when it comes to a particular topic, leave it for others who have their heart in it.

That being said, in the continuum of consistent upholding of living beings' rights, it's clear that we cannot hold contradictory viewpoints on the aspect of violence against defenseless and innocent living beings. Either we oppose forced cutting, or we don't. All this talk about it being just a prick or  it being justified because it's the mother's choice or refusing to enter the debate because whatever parents choose to do is their right  is merely a socially acceptable way to express our apathy when it comes to protecting the bodily integrity of other living beings.

Perhaps, after that lady informed me that she is not a dog owner, I should have smiled brightly and responded, "I understand! I am not a child owner."


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jewish Intactivist: Miriam Pollack: "That which is not ethical, cannot be spiritual."

Miriam Pollack, MA, is one of the leading Jewish Intactivist scholars. A Jewish mother and active Jew, she was chosen as Intact America’s Intactivst of the Month. Pollack has written for Tikkun, and been interviewed in BeyondTheBris.com. She has led talks with Eli Ungar Sargon, an Orthodox raised Intactivist on the subject. She is part of a group of Intactivist Jews who've made moral arguments for a shift in Jewish interpretation of the bris.
Pollack has lectured on Jewish Intactivism at conferences as early as the 1990's. She is one of more than 200 Bris Shalom celebrants, Jewish leaders who will hold a bris covenant ritual for intact Jewish boys. Pollack visits Israel frequently, and has also helped to connect Jewish Intactivists in Israel with the American movement. She has joined some Rabbis in making ethical and moral cases for an Intactivist interpretation of the Jewish covenant.

"I have helped a number of parents, particularly Jewish parents, come to the conclusion that they can be good Jews and leave their baby intact."

“Judaism has always been a core piece of my identity, even though my practice and understanding have evolved over the years. I have great reverence for what we hold as spiritual. When the authorities of my tradition define the sacred in a way that violates the most elemental and life-giving forces, mothers and babies, then something is very wrong. That which is not ethical, cannot be spiritual. That is a basic Jewish tenet… It is Judaism that has taught me that reverence for life, the principle of pikuah nefesh, and the mandate incumbant upon all of us to distinguish (l’havdeel) between what is holy and what is profane. It is precisely these fundamental tenets of Judaism that have led me to conclude that circumcision is not holy in terms of Jewish ethics.… What is most satisfying to me is knowing that I have helped a number of parents, particularly Jewish parents, come to the conclusion that they can be good Jews and leave their baby intact.”Miriam Pollack, Defying Convention: An Interview With Miriam PollackBeyond the Bris, July 27, 2011. 
“…many committed and affiliated Jews… are choosing to welcome their male babies with a brit shalom, a covenantal ceremony without cutting…. Circumcision may be an ancient rite, but it is wrong. It is wrong in terms of Jewish values for it violates the most fundamental Jewish principles of sanctifying life. Spiritualizing the wounding of circumcision does not change the damage, nor make it ethical. As Deuteronomy 30:6 teaches, what is truly required of us in order to contact the divine has to do with the architecture of the heart, not the alteration of male genitals.

Over the ages Judaism has demonstrated a remarkable ability to mutate in practice and retain the integrity of its spiritual legacy. It's time that our gatekeepers lead the way, the people of Israel, will demand the gates be opened.
Miriam Pollack, Rite is ancient, but wrongBoulder Daily Camera, 07/27/2014.

"[Circumcision] be it religious or secular, has no place in a humane society, nor in a religion or culture, such as Judaism, that emphatically values the protection of the helpless, the pursuit of justice, and reverence for life.

As a strongly affiliated Jew, Hebrew speaker, and lover of Israel, I will continue to do what I can to educate other Jews about the very serious harms of circumcision. Certainly, no parent intends to inflict damage upon his or her child, but the misinformation, disinformation, mythologies, and deeply held allegiances are profound and widespread. As couples realize how unholy it truly is to hold another individual down and take a knife to their tender genitals, more and more Jews, both in the U.S and in Israel, are choosing to welcome their babies into the Jewish community with a non-violent ceremony, a brit shalom.

As secular Jews, and even, some orthodox Jews, question and reject circumcision in greater and greater numbers, a tipping point will occur. Certainly, no amount of scientific evidence documenting the suffering of the newborn, or the anatomical importance of the foreskin, will dissuade many of the orthodox from changing this practice, but, hopefully, in the not too distant future, they will be the anachronistic few; the rest of us will have moved on to a more enlightened, gentler and kinder embrace of our precious, newborn baby boys, and redefinition of the most fundamental mitzvah: above all, choose life."
Miriam Pollack, NORM News, 
Winter 2013/2014. 

"Circumcision, both male and female, is a relic from our ancient past... Challenging circumcision inevitably means challenging the ancient notion of what is sacred. Re-naming the sacred is the task which awaits us as we enter the Twenty-First Century. It must be for life."
Miriam Pollack, REDEFINING THE SACRED, Presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Sexual Mutilations, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9-11, 1996.


"We must envision a Judaism that can welcome all of our children, nonviolently, into the brit b'lee milah, a covenant without circumcision. We need to support and affirm men's struggle to revise the old notion of masculinity which is rooted in fear of women. We invite men to explore ways to ritualize and celebrate masculinity and the critical passages of male bonding in ways that are life-affirming, nonviolent and protective of the sacred wholeness of men. Only in these ways will we begin the restoration of the holy and establish tikkun, healing, between the sexes.... Opposing circumcision is men's work; but it is also most profoundly, women's work. Our babies know and we know: it begins with us."
Miriam Pollack, Circumcision: A Jewish Feminist Perspective, Jewish Women Speak Out, p. 171-185, Canopy Press, 1995.

"Without 
compromising either our children’s identity or the survival of our people, we can invite all of our Jewish children, our baby girls and our baby boys, into a brit b’lee milah, a covenant without circumcision, and school them in the wisdom, love, and beauty of the Jewish tradition. Unlike Christianity, which teaches that a child is born into original sin and must be redeemed, Judaism teaches that the soul is pure — only the penis needs “redemption.” The truth is that the whole baby is pure, body and soul, including his tender genitals, and it is both a mitzvah and our most sacred duty to protect him."
Miriam Pollack, Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power, Tikkun 26(3), 2011.
___________________________________________

Intactivist Movement Spreads in Israel

Jewish Intactivism. A Jewish Male Human Rights Movement!
Expanding the Rights of Mankind.

Jewish Intactivist: Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon

Jewish Intactivist: Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon


Raised an Orthodox Jew in Massachusetts and then Israel, Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon has emerged as one of the leading intellectuals of American Jewish Intactivism. A filmmaker, his movie “Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision” helped to introduce the subject of Intactivism to Jewish audiences in the United States. His movie received good reviews including within the Jewish press, and in the Jewish Intactivist community

His article, 
Outlawing Circumcision Good for the Jews?, appeared in the Jewish Daily Forward. Ungar-Sargon was chosen as Intact America’s Intactivist of the Month. He writes and blogs about these issues regularly. He is one of a group of Jews, including scholar Dr. Leonard Glick, and Dr. Mark Reiss who sit on the board of Intact America, an organization working to make circumcision against the law in the United States.

Ungar-Sargon publically 
debated Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the author of “Kosher Sex” on the subject at The Manhattan Jewish Experience. Ungar-Sargon has lead a movie tour holding events with Rabbis ranging from the Orthodox to the Reform and Humanistic talking about the ethics of genital integrity.

Ungar-Sargon is one of more than 200 Jewish leaders, mostly Rabbis and Cantors, who will officiate at bris covenant ceremonies and he is regularly quoted in articles on these subjects. 
Though he considers himself an artist and moviemaker, rather than an intactivist, Ungar-Sargon has found himself a leading voice on one of the most heated ethical issues in Judaism today.   

“I should mention [that] I was raised as an Orthodox Jew. When I was 13 years old, my family moved to Israel to seek better religious education for myself and my [five] siblings…. The only ritual religious consequence of being an intact Jewish male is that you're not allowed to eat from the Paschal Lamb, which was a sacrifice that was brought when the temple was around, and hasn't been brought since the temple was destroyed—and we don't know when the temple is going to be rebuilt. That's it!

So, I think [that] as more people become aware of this information and leave their boys intact, we're going to have a situation where there are lots of intact Jewish [men], some of [whom] are going to be religious and are going to be participating in everything [in which] circumcised Jewish men are participating.”
Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, 
A Conversation with Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon. 

"…the ritual and religious consequences of not being circumcised amount to nothing. There is absolutely nothing that an intact Jewish male today cannot do. Contrast this with - I'm talking from the Orthodox perspective - non-Sabbath observance. Jews who are not Sabbath observant are not trusted in Halachic courts of law, they cannot be witnesses at people's weddings, they cannot be trusted with issues of Kashrut, making sure that things are Kosher... Here's an issue that is very easy to solve. You don't even have to argue for the eradication of male circumcision in the Jewish tradition for everyone to be happy. All you have to do is say that this will be a decision that an individual makes at an age when they can make the decision.”
Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, NYC Q&A with Rabbi Steven Blaine & Laurie Evans.

“My first feature-length documentary, “Cut” is an exploration of male circumcision and Jewish identity. I made the film, because I think that circumcision is a really interesting example of a problem that we don’t often discuss openly. Namely, what we as people who care about living both moral and Jewish lives are supposed to do when our own ethics conflict with Jewish law.”
Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Eli Ungar-Sargon Debates “Kosher Sex” Author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Ethics of Jewish CircumcisionBeyondtheBris.com, Thursday, July 21, 2011.

“There are really no practical religious ritual consequences - and I’m speaking about this from an Orthodox perspective too - to not being circumcised… The only exclusion in Jewish law – even from an Orthodox perspective, for an intact Jewish male is the Pascal Lamb, the Korban Pesach which hasn’t been brought in 2,000 years, and it won’t be brought again until the Temple’s rebuilt ostensibly. If it’s even brought when the Temple’s rebuilt, if the Temple’s rebuilt.“Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Georgetown University, Washington DC Q&A with Ryan McAllister & Rabbi Binyamin Biber, September 22, 2011.

“The human right to body integrity would, in this instance, override their religious right.…non-fundamentalist Jews, who constitute a very large number of Reform, Conservative, and even some Orthodox Jews, believe that human ethics are an essential element in the Jewish tradition. …there is a Jewish tradition practiced by virtually all Jewish parents today that is morally wrong. This should give pause to any non-fundamentalist religious Jew, and it is a black eye for the liberal movements that they have not taken this issue more seriously. Perhaps a law prohibiting circumcision is just what these Jews need to start a serious discussion about the problem of brit milah.”Eli Ungar-SargonOutlawing Circumcision: Good for the Jews?, Forward, the Jewish Daily, May 20, 2011. 
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Intactivist Movement Spreads in Israel

Jewish Intactivism. A Jewish Male Human Rights Movement!
Expanding the Rights of Mankind.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Senior CDC Scientist Dr. Thompson Confirms Data Omitted from Autism/MMR Study

In case you didn't notice, which you might not have, seeing as how no major media sources have picked up this breaking news, Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC, released a statement today confirming that he and his fellow researchers omitted data and that "final study protocol was not followed."

The study involved was looking at the timing of the MMR vaccine and autism diagnoses. The data removed caused 41% of participants to no longer "count" thus reducing the statistically significant findings, and allowing the researchers to continue claiming that we have no concerns when it comes to vaccination and autism.

Dr. Thompson says he worked with Dr. Hooker on this project for 10 months before Dr. Hooker released the information to the public. Several big blogs have attempted to tear apart the information, desperately trying to claim that Dr. Thompson is wrong and that the data is being manipulated to suit vaccine opponents' interests.

Unfortunately, what these vaccine defenders seem to forget is that our interest is the wellbeing and health of our children, along with a demand for scientific transparency and professional behavior from our government researchers. However much vaccine defenders want to tear apart the nuances of the omitted data, the overriding point is that it was omitted after the study, to alter the findings so that the researchers could present a particular view to the public.

To read Dr. Thompson's legal statement, see here: http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/

To read a response regarding the CDC's attempt to justify the data omission before Dr. Thompson admitted to this act, see here:
http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/erased-by-a-birth-certificate/

To read the AoA statement:
http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/08/statement-from-william-thompson-re-pediatrics-mmr-african-american-males-data.html

Be sure to download the PDF of this study and save it for later viewing as it might go *poof*
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128611/