It was hard for me to believe the title of the Opinion article by an Orthodox rabbi, Chaim Steinmetz: “Circumcision Is Out Of Vogue” (Opinion, July 1).
The statement that “circumcision is a marketing nightmare; outside of a deep commitment to Judaism, based on a biblical command, there’s no good reason to do it,” is outrageous. It is with much regret that there are many secular and misinformed Jews that are a very potent voice against circumcision, but to hear an Orthodox rabbi say this is really sinful and abhorrent.
I am sure the good rabbi is aware of the many things we do as Jews as acts of faith. There is no stated reason in the Bible that we abstain from eating certain animals, birds and fish. We do it as an act of faith. We observe Shabbat as an act of faith. There is no question that there have been many negative perceptions about mohelim and brit milah. That is the reason that the Reform and Conservative movements have certified physicians to serve as mohelim. I was one of those certified by the Conservative movement in the first brit kodesh class some years ago at the Jewish Theological Seminary. I chose the circumcision technique that provides minimal bleeding and minimal aftercare. It does not need to be “painful to enter the Covenant of Abraham.”
As a rabbi I do not understand the “marketing nightmare.” We have endured all of these years with the Torah as our spiritual guide for life and the many acts of faith asked of us. As a pediatrician, I am aware of the “medical controversy” concerning circumcision. As a mohel, I do not even think about it, because as Jews it is not a medical issue.
The “spirit of the times” could not be more positive to be Jewish. That spirit has to be conveyed with meaning, understanding and knowledge of our glorious heritage.
Mohel, The Rabbinical Assembly of America