Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jewish Intactivism: Circumcision Resources

Part 2:

Part 3:

"I've put together a comprehensive collection of intactivist material as it is relevant to Jews. You are welome to add them to your links page or to your website. Few people have seen these perspectives and I would like to share them with as many as possible."




The Growing Movement of Jewish Intactivism
“Coming from a European background… where many Jews reject a brit milah as an archaic and barbaric ritual… This author grew up in France in a traditional Jewish family. Not a single male of her generation or her children’s generation within her large family (or in her circle of Jewish friends) was ever circumcised.”
- Nelly Karsenty, Humanistic Judaism, 1988.




“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







“The practice of circumcision predates Judaism. Peoples as diverse as the Jews, Muslims, and South African Xhosas all practice it, but none of them invented it. The specific origins of circumcision are lost in antiquity, but the earliest records of the ritual are from Africa…. Circumcision was never universal in Judaism. Notable Jews from Moses to Theodore Hertz (the founder of Zionism) declined to circumcise their sons. Today in Sweden only 40% of Jewish boys are circumcised.”
- Norm Cohen, What About Religious Circumcision?, 
NOCIRC of Michigan




"I am confident that my people have such an abundance of life-enhancing, life-affirming and mind-opening traditions, that our identity and sense of cultural self-heed will happily survive our outgrowing of circumcision, a cruel relic which has always felt to me like an aberration at the heart of my religion."
- Dr. Jenny Goodman (UK), 
Challenging Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective







Jewish Organizations for Genital Integrity

JewsfortheRightsoftheChild.org
JewsOpposingCircumcision.org
Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective A book and organization run by Dr. Ron Goldman.




Jewish Books and Media Opposing Circumcision

BeyondtheBris.com A blog for Jews opposed to circumcision for moral reasons.

Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision A Film by Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon
The Measure of His Grief by Lisa Braver Moss A novel exploring Jewish intactivism. 

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 Dr. Mark D. Reiss: List of 50+ Intactivist Moyels Rabbis and others who perform Brit B’lee Milah (Jewish welcoming and naming without cutting) ceremonies.

Israeli Organizations for Genital Integrity

Kahal.org: Giving Up Brit Milah (Tel Aviv, Israel)
BritMilah.org.il: Intact Son - the Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Af-Mila: An Israeli Magazine for Jewish Intactivists (Israel)
Gonnen,org: Protect the Child (Israel)





Jewish Arguments for an end to Circumcision
Israeli Hebrew Scholar: Vadim Cherny: How Judaic is circumcision?  It’s not, he finds.
Outlawing Circumcision Good for the Jews? By Eli Ungar-Sargon Published in the Jewish Daily Forward.

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 Miriam Pollack: Circumcision : A Jewish Feminist Perspective Published in Jewish Women Speak Out.
Eli Ungar-Sargon & Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Ethical Problems of Circumcision At the Manhattan Jewish Experience.
Lisa Braver Moss: Evolving Jewish Practices Published on Beyond the Bris.
A Case for Bris without Milah.
Brit Milah: Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics? Written by a Jewish parent.
Jewish Parents are Swapping Brit Milah for Peaceful Covenants
Jenny Goodman, MD: An Alternative Perspective
A Progressive Jewish Movement to Abolish Brit Milah: Part 1
A Progressive Jewish Movement to Abolish Brit Milah: Part 2
A Progressive Jewish Movement to Abolish Brit Milah: Part 3
Rabbi Nathan Segal Calls for an End to Circumcision A Progressive Rabbi urges us to move to non-violent covenants.
Lisa Braver Moss: The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments
Defying Convention: An Interview With Miriam Pollack Published on Beyond the Bris.
Moshe Rothenberg: Being Rational About Circumcision and Jewish Observance

Voices of Some Jews who Oppose Circumcision

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 Jewish mom : Circumcision spiritually wounds, breaks bonds and trust Published in the East Valley Tribune.
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 Shea Levy: To the Mohel Who Cut Me Published on Beyond the Bris.
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 Jewish Women’s Feelings: Jewish Intactivism
@ Female Intactivists : Women’s Perspectives 
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 The History of Circumcision: Dr. Leonard Glick explains how he came to write Marked In Your Flesh
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 Jewish Historian and Intactivist, Leonard Glick, MD, PhD.
Lisa Braver Moss: The Measure of his Grief A novel on the subject of Jewish Intactivism.

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 Jonathan Friedman: On Circumcision Authority, and the Perpetuation of Abuse Published on Beyond the Bris.
Progressive Jews speak out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors 

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 Howard Stern: Jewish Intactivist Published on Beyond the Bris.





Voices of Jewish Parents who refuse to circumcise their Sons
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 Dear Elijah: A Conservative Jewish Father's Letter to His Intact Son Published on Peaceful Parenting.
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 Sarah Rockwell: Lucking Into Bris Shalom Published on Beyond the Bris.
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 Stacey Greenberg: My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin Published in Mothering Magazine.  
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 Michael S. Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin Published in Tikkun.
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 Diane Targovnik: How "Cut" Saved My Son's Foreskin : A Movie Review Published on Beyond the Bris.
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 Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community?
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 Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision 
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 The Naming Published on Very, Very Fine.
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 Intact and Jewish Published on the Natural Parents Network.

Sample Peaceful Covenant Texts

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 Dr. Mark D. Reiss: List of 50+ Intactivist Moyels Rabbis and others who perform Brit B’lee Milah (Covenant without cutting) ceremonies.
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 Brit B'lee Milah (Covenant Without Cutting) Ceremony
@ Sample Intact Jewish Welcoming Covenant #1
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 Sample Intact Jewish Welcoming Covenant #2
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 Song for an Intact Jewish Boy’s Welcoming Ceremony
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 Our Son's Bris Shalom, or Welcoming Covenant By Brenda Platt
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 Norm Cohen: A Brit B’eee Milah (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony
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 The Brit Shalom (Intact Jewish Baby Welcoming) Ceremony




Friday, September 23, 2011

You Aren't Just a Mom; You're THE Mom

I could barely contain my excitement while sharing with my friends on Facebook and someone recommended making this into a post that can be shared for inspiration.

So guess what happened this morning?!!! YAYYYY DH (Dear Husband) and I stopped by Target this morning to grab a few things for our camping trip and I stayed in the car b/c the kiddos were asleep in their seats. After a few minutes, DS (Dear Son) woke up so I started to get him out...then became aware of a lady sitting in the passenger seat of her 2 door Pontiac w/ 3 small kids in the backseat and NO carseats.

It was a quick observation that made my heart sink but I wasn't sure what to do and I was busy attending to my son. I just kept unbuckling him, feeling her staring into my back. Then I sat in the van to nurse him. She stared and stared. I was thinking to myself, oh dear, she's angry that I'm nursing in public, even in my own vehicle...then she got out...OH DEAR!!! HERE SHE COMES TO GET ME! LOL

She walked up to the window and said, "I saw your carseat decal about rearfacing and I see your daughter in her seat. How old is she?" *I almost coughed down my surprise lol*




So I told her she'll be 3 in November and she said, "My son is 3!" (AGH!!!)

We chatted. She has a 3yo, a 6yo and a 7yo stepson. NO carseats of any kind. She said that after the infant seat, she was confused on what to buy and her partner didn't want to spend money. She thought they were big enough.

I said, "Let's go shopping."

And so, we did. With 5 kids in tow, we, the mamas, shopped the carseat aisle. She had ZERO in her budget so we didn't try for extended rearfacing (tall, heavy 3yo anyways, uncertain of exact weight). So we got a Maestro for the 3yo, then a Graco hbb and a Graco low back. They all fit. Those 3 kids drove off correctly belted. :) I also had some of my free USAA carseat brochures and gave her a handful to keep in her car and pass out to her friends.

Oh and the quirkiest part to this entirely unexpected exchange... as they were driving away, she said good for me for breastfeeding and that she likes peaceful parenting on Facebook and I should check out that page.  *giggles*

I hope this brightened your day. :) It totally made my day and was a tangible reminder of why I keep sharing on here. Yesterday, I bumped into more information about ongoing drama and once again considered shutting down my activism and moving on to another hobby or something. (I was pretty deflated). I guess this was a much needed sign to keep my chin up and to trust in other parents.

Because you are NOT "just a mama." You are THE mama. And you are the only person who would go to the end of the world, give your life, study every night late into the night, read every medical journal out there, stand up to any doctor/nurse/caseworker, go against every cultural practice, risk alienation and mockery, all to make sure your child is respected and safe.

Whether it's about birth choices, circumcision, vaccination, carseats or anything else, YOU are the one who will reach down deep to find the strength to do what this amazing lady did in the parking lot today. She approached a complete stranger and humbly asked for advice. She got over her guilt. She got over her fear. She did this for HER CHILDREN. Because she is THE MAMA. Never underestimate yourself and the love and commitment you have for your child.




This is the decal on my van, hand made by Educated Mama Decals.
Who wants her child to be a minimum? No one! This is why I oppose the Best Campaign. Your words speak to others; choose carefully!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Five Simple Steps to Carseat Safety (Forwardfacing Version)

Carseat safety can seem daunting. Confusing. Intimidating. Overwhelming. And annoying. After you've correctly installed your child's seat, here are the 5 basic things to follow for proper forwardfacing before getting behind the wheel. Make them a habit and it will take 15 seconds to buckle in your child:


1) Make sure the harness straps are AT or ABOVE the shoulders and the chest clip is ON the chest.


Straps below the shoulders while facing forward increase the forces on the spine in a collision!


2) Make sure the straps or belts are buckled without twists/folds and are snug. 


The chest clip is a little high here. Follow the steps each time to catch little details like this.
3) For belt-positioning boosters, it is absolutely essential to make sure the lap belt is NOT on the tummy and that the shoulder belt rests in the middle of the shoulder, not on the neck or falling off the arm.
Remember: each seat and each child is different. Try before you buy. Fit does not depend on brand or price.

4) Make sure no extra products are being used in or on the seat and no thick clothing is between the child and the seat. Watch this video about winter safety.

Aftermarket products change the way carseats work in a collision. Thick clothing can make a harness or belt loose!

5) Make sure all hard or sharp projectiles are secured. Read this article about how a sippy cup severely injured a boy in a collision.


This is all the crazy sounding carseat safety stuff condensed into 5 simple steps. Memorize them and make them habitual. It will not be annoying or time consuming after you make it a routine. :)

Five Simple Steps to Carseat Safety (Rearfacing Version)

Carseat safety can seem daunting. Confusing. Intimidating. Overwhelming. And annoying. After you've correctly installed your child's seat, here are the 5 basic things to follow for proper rearfacing before getting behind the wheel. Make them a habit and it will take 15 seconds to buckle in your child:


1) Make sure the harness straps are AT or BELOW the shoulders and the harness is buckled snugly without twisting.


Straps are below the shoulder; harness is snug and flat.
2) Make sure the chest clip is buckled at armpit level, or boobie level as my daughter says.

This is more important than people realize! The chest clip positions the straps for a collision. Otherwise the straps could slide off the shoulders and the child could be seriously injured. Chest clip on the chest! No belly clips!
3) If using an infant carseat (sometimes called a capsule, bucket or pumpkin seat) read your manual carefully to see which handle position is required while driving. Safety bonus: while adjusting the handle to the required position, wiggle the seat to ensure it is completely latched into the base.

Evenflo, for example, requires the handle to be down and 1.5 inches of space all around it.
The general rule of thumb when uncertain is to keep the handle down.
4) Make sure no extra products are being used in or on the seat and no thick clothing is between the child and the seat. Watch this video about winter safety. Does your tiny baby need support? There is one other approved method.

Any extra product or thick clothing/coat between baby and the seat can disrupt the way the carseat works.
It can also prevent the harness from fitting snugly.

5) Make sure all hard or sharp projectiles are secured. Read this article about how a sippy cup severely injured a boy in a collision.


This is all the crazy sounding carseat safety stuff condensed into 5 simple steps. Memorize them and make them habitual. It will not be annoying or time consuming after you make it a routine. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doppler Danger's Ultrasound List

Here's a new breakdown on some research published about neuron displacement:
http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/?p=16623&preview=true

These are a few of the links posted by Doppler Danger.

© Doppler Danger 2010, reprinted with permission.


“Don't stop researching when you find the answers you want. Please remember that there is absolutely no ethical way to PROVE that ultrasound, including dopplers, is safe for the unborn and there will be no funding for studies to prove that this cash cow is dangerous. Study the many ways this technology is applied and connect the dots.

Based on how they respond to it, we need to stop shooting sound waves at babies.  I had one ultrasound with one of my babies and cried the whole time because she kept turning her face right and left trying to get away from it but she was trapped. That experience made me more determined than ever to research this topic and share what I find.

Please share with your friends. If the actual data concerning babies doesn't change their minds, maybe just reading about the other uses of the technology would help them connect the dots. It cleans rust off pipes, it kills sperm, it heats muscles, and it changes the migratory patterns of whales. [Editor’s note: I understand a valid point here is that those other applications of ultrasound technology use a different level of waves. But this article is connected to Doppler Danger’s other comments on the full issue of ultrasound use in obstetrics. Her point is: safety levels have not been clearly established and safe regulations for all operating ultrasound machines have not been enforced, nor are machines correctly calibrated and inspected at all facilities routinely.]

If more mothers are experiencing strokes during pregnancy, birth and post-partum, could it be due to the ultrasound breaking up clots, as one of my brilliant students pointed out today? We need to take this seriously and not brush it off as another "birth choice" if there is potential to harm babies that outweighs the potential to help babies, should it be presented to mothers as a harmless choice? 

If the potential to help babies outweighs the potential to harm (and how the heck would we ever actually know that since we can neither predict or measure the potential harm to any individual baby at any given moment) then it would be appropriate use of technology but even then should be used only by those with calibrated machines under strict guidelines based on actual data. In other words, uncalibrated Dopplers would NOT be considered safe. Have you ever dropped the carrying bag with the Doppler in it? There goes the calibration.

Start with these links and if you find more that you think I should add to the list, please let me know.  Babies are worth our best efforts.” ~Doppler Danger















































































Also read Anne Frye's opinion on the topic in Holistic Midwifery




This won't hurt your baby.

This won't hurt your baby.

This won't hurt your baby.

But this one?

And this one? We just don't know for sure, and what we do know is very concerning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Relationship Books for Gentle Partnering

Every now and then I'm asked what books I appreciate for strengthening relationships. I'm happy when I receive this question, because Gentle Partnering sustains us and allows us to practice Gentle Parenting. We role model relationships to our children. And every relationship needs constant maintenance. It's not a good idea to take things for granted or wait until habits are too destructive to recover intimacy.

Please remember that DH and I are both practicing Catholics, so some of the books are from religious authors. I think you can still find great benefit in those particular authors, but wanted to give you fair notice.

This is my all time favorite book. He has a website as well: Marriagebuilders

http://www.amazon.com/His-Needs-Her-Building-Affair-Proof/dp/0800719387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315754671&sr=8-1

He also has one for parents:
http://www.amazon.com/His-Needs-Her-Parents-Keeping/dp/B0055X4X0U/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_3

This one is great for breaking into the depths of bad habits:
http://www.amazon.com/Love-Busters-Protecting-Marriage-Romantic/dp/0800718941/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754703&sr=1-1

The workbook: http://www.amazon.com/Five-Steps-Romantic-Love-Workbook/dp/0800733584/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754703&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-He-Created-Them/dp/0819874213/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754738&sr=1-12

For Christians and Catholics, Christopher West can be absolutely inspiring and life changing. He focuses on applying the concepts in John Paul's Theology of the Body: http://www.amazon.com/Theology-Body-Beginners-Introduction-Revolution/dp/1934217859/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315755952&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Responsibility-Pope-John-Paul/dp/0898704456/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754768&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Exceptional-Seven-Percent-Secrets-Happiest/dp/0806523581/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754780&sr=1-1 (this one seemed to be something that would help any individual and not just a couple)

http://www.amazon.com/Better-Forever-Catholic-Lifelong-Marriage/dp/0879736887/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754818&sr=1-1 (Incidentally Popcak is Catholic and does not condone spanking for discipline. He's quoted in the Parenting Freedom article on the Biblical misinterpretation of Proverbs.)

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Intimate-Relationships-Treatment-Enrichment/dp/158391076X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754829&sr=1-5 (If you can take an actual class, you won't regret it. Any person would benefit from the ideas and skills in this program.)

http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Fitness-Couples-Minutes-Relationship/dp/1572244399/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315754982&sr=1-7

*I've linked amazon pages here merely to give you a quick look. They are not monetized links. You might find cheaper options on ebay, craigslist or perhaps at the local library.

We were so young and unsuspecting. :D HA!