S P E C I A L S

For the week ending 4 June 2011 / 1 Sivan 5771

The Kindest and Unkindest Cut

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The Persians under Haman banned circumcision and were followed by the Greeks and Romans who did the same. In more recent times it was dangerous to perform circumcision in Communist Russia.

But in the United States of America!

Who could ever imagine that in the "land of the free" founded on the basis of "freedom and justice for all" there could arise a movement to ban circumcision!

To Jews who view the circumcising of their male children as the 'kindest cut" prescribed by the Creator, the effort being made in San Francisco to make it a crime is certainly, in the words of Mark Antony, "the unkindest cut of all."

How can we explain why more than 12,000 residents of this super-liberal city submitted a request to have a referendum on a ban on circumcision? Citizens of San Francisco will vote in November on whether to approve a measure which will make it a misdemeanor to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old, punishable by a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

The issue is not only whether the outrageous measure will pass in November or whether it will stand up against the inevitable challenge to its constitutionality. The broader issue is whether we are witnessing the rise of a subtle anti-Semitism in a country where Jews have enjoyed total religious freedom for over two centuries.

What is even more painful about this situation is the involvement of some secular Jews in the championing of this anti-religious measure.

We can only take comfort in the knowledge that all attempts in history to prevent circumcision have resulted in failure, and the Frisco Failure will soon be added to the list.

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