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on June 18, 1999
As a Jewish mother of a circumcised son, I didn't dare question the unquestionable. At the time I didn't know there were any Jews who did? However, the doubts were there, lurking under the surface but I was embarrassed to speak about them. I heard about Dr. Goldman's book and after reading it, I had the courage to acknowledge that we as a people are being violated on many levels by this ritual.
Dr. Goldman points out in his book that there are many Jewish rituals outlined in the Bible which have been abandoned in the course of history. We are not a fundamentalist religion. We have an oral and living tradition and our beliefs have constantly evolved. Indeed there is cause to question performing uneccessary surgery on infants in the name of religion or social custom. Part of coming to this realization is also understanding that our American culture notwithstanding, it is not a pathological condition to be born male. Immediate surgical correction is not medically neccessary. Many might find it appalling to compare ritual female circumcision in Africa to Jewish male circumision but we are blinded to the similarities due to widespread ignorance of the normal male anatomy.
Dr. Goldman touches on the religious, medical, social and psychological aspects of this prodecure in a way that has never been attempted before. I highly recommend the book to those willing to have an open mind on something they may have always thought was a non-issue.
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on January 18, 2000
Ronald Goldman's second book, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective, follows on the heels of his masterpiece Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma. While the earlier book provided a stunning, magisterial overview of the entire subject of circumcision, this slimmer volume focuses on a more specialized analysis of the procedure from a Jewish point of view. Goldman again succeeds at integrating emotional, psychological,scientific, and humanistic considerations while surveying the great diversity of attitudes held toward this procedure among Jews. He reveals and meticulously documents a number of surprising facts which contravene widely held beliefs about the subject. Far from enjoying a consensus within the Jewish community, circumcision has not always been practiced by all Jews. As early as the 1840's, leaders of the Reform movement tried to stop circumcision. In the 1860's, a group of sixty-six Jewish physicians opposed the practice. The procedure as performed today in the United States is much more extensive than the original circumcisions, which merely removed the very tip of the foreskin. These changes and conflicts suggest that the supposed Jewish mandate for circumcision may be suspect.
Goldman discusses and questions a number of suggested benefits to Jewish males of the procedure. Although many believe circumcision necessary for Jewish survival and identity, under Jewish law, any child born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, whether circumcised or not.
While the procedure is often suggested to promote connection with other Jews, Goldman notes that the extreme discomfort and anxiety often provoked by circumcision may actually inhibit connection. Crisply summarizing some of the highlights from his earlier book, Goldman notes that health claims are highly speculative at best, and pain research has proven the extreme trauma suffered by the infant boy. Behavioral changes have been documented to follow most circumcisions, as boys become very irritable and interruption occurs to parent-infant bonding and feeding schedules.
Goldman writes that unrecognized consequences of the procedure may include promotion of a negative attitude to male sexuality. The personal stories by circumcised men and by mothers and fathers are quite moving. Some parents came to deeply regret their decision to circumcise while others feel gratified that they reached eleventh-hour determinations not to carry out the procedure.
Goldman takes the offensive later in the book, suggestion that the Torah's commandment against assaulting another person actually forbids circumcision. He notes that blind conformance to authority is antithetical to Jewish values, and many potential benefits of foregoing circumcision exist. An appendix contains Goldman's response to traditionalist supporters of the procedure, which is drawn entirely from passages in the Torah.
Future research needs to be carried out in accordance with his insightful suggestion that many Jewish men may harbor anger toward Jewish women due to their circumcisions, for which they may subconsciously hold their mothers primarily responsible. From the infant's perspective, Goldman notes, he is experiencing betrayal by his mother at a most vulnerable time in his life.
Goldman includes several useful appendices including two mothers' stories, a discussion of circumcision and anti-Semitism, and sample alternative rituals in which the baby's foreskin is not touched.
Ronald Goldman has gifted us with his second tightly reasoned, impeccably documented, and heartfully written book about a procedure which should be of concern to all men and women who care about children or society, whatever your faith may be.
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on February 24, 1999
With endorsements from five rabbis Ronald Goldman effectively champions a minority position in "Questioning Circumcision A Jewish Perspective. He uses psychology, sociology, anthropology, logic, compassion and the Torah to support the concept that it is wrong to hurt babies. The fact that this idea needs an introduction let alone a proponent illustrates the reason for this book. Until the decision how a person treats their own genitals is left solely to the the individual not the parents, doctors, or the community, expect to see more of this type of examination of circumcision. It is unlikely that you will ever see a more compelling one then Dr. Goldman's contribution to the Jewish populatio
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on February 22, 2000
Having chosen not to circumcise my son, and being an observant Reform Jew, I found Doctor Goldman's book to be incredibly instructional. He opens the door to a thoughtful introspection on the question of circumcision in the Jewish world. A difficult, almost taboo subject, we find that Jews, as a constantly evolving and forever questioning people, need to look circumcision in the face and sincerely question its validity. Circumcision continues to be performed even if there are many reasons for one not to practice it. Goldman's precise examination of circumcision brings us to question not only the Historical and religious aspects of this tradition, but also to look at the medical and sexual facts. Finally, the author exposes the psychological and ethical consequences of such an act. For example: are we ethically entitled to alter the genitals of our infant sons? Have they given us permission to do so? What psychological consequences can circumcision have on these infants? How about their mothers? What do men who were circumcised as adults have to say about the psychological and sexual changes they experienced? A professional and thorought examination, "Questioning Circumcision, a Jewish Perspective" is a brilliant analysis that one will find extremely educational and...easy to read!
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on July 13, 1999
Dr. Goldman provides ample and compelling proof that conscientious Jews are justified in questioning circumcision, and leaving their sons intact.
As Dr. Goldman demonstrates, medical evidence purporting to show the benefits of routine infant circumcision have, in the last few years, been thoroughly disproven. Further studies have also shown that circumcision, far from being a harmless and painless procedure, is one of the most painful procedures that can be performed on an infant and has potentially far-reaching detrimental physical and psychological consequences.
Dr. Goldman points out that an ever growing movement among Jews, seeking more compassionate and just rituals with which to welcome our new-born sons, are seriously considering the moral and spiritual dilemma surrounding circumcision brought about by the weight of this medical evidence. This growing, grass-roots movement among Jews is creating a variety of new rituals that celebrate the birth of Jewish baby boys without subjecting them to needless pain and suffering.
With medical evidence proving the merits of leaving our sons uncircumcised, and spiritual evidence demonstrating that leaving our sons uncircumcised is entirely congruent with Jewish ethics, Jewish parents-to-be no longer need to feel the secret dread accompanying the birth of a boy. In dispensing with painful rites of circumcision in favor of painless and loving ceremonies, the birth of Jewish baby, boy or girl, can be a truely joyous event.
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on April 9, 2013
As a urology resident, I realized circumcision made no sense whatsoever from a medical perspective. However, I am not an expert on religion and still don't feel qualified to comment on it as a religious practice. Reading this book was really eye-opening for me and I believe any parent who is considering circumcision from a religious perspective would greatly benefit from reading this book! I am really grateful that Dr. Goldman is sharing his experiences!
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on November 28, 2012
Ronald Goldman's second book, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish
Perspective, follows on the heels of his masterpiece Circumcision:
The Hidden Trauma. While the earlier book provided a stunning,
magisterial overview of the entire subject of circumcision, this
slimmer volume focuses on a more specialized analysis of the
procedure from a Jewish point of view.

Goldman again succeeds at integrating emotional, psychological,
scientific, and humanistic considerations while surveying the great
diversity of attitudes held toward this procedure among Jews. He
reveals and meticulously documents a number of surprising facts
which contravene widely held beliefs about the subject. Far from
enjoying a consensus within the Jewish community, circumcision has
not always been practiced by all Jews. As early as the 1840's,
leaders of the Reform movement tried to stop circumcision. In the
1860's, a group of sixty-six Jewish physicians opposed the
practice. The procedure as performed today in the United States is
much more extensive than the original circumcisions, which merely
removed the very tip of the foreskin. These changes and conflicts
suggest that the supposed Jewish mandate for circumcision may be
suspect.

Goldman discusses and questions a number of suggested benefits to
Jewish males of the procedure. Although many believe circumcision
necessary for Jewish survival and identity, under Jewish law, any
child born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, whether circumcised or not.
While the procedure is often suggested to promote connection with
other Jews, Goldman notes that the extreme discomfort and anxiety
often provoked by circumcision may actually inhibit connection.
Crisply summarizing some of the highlights from his earlier book,
Goldman notes that health claims are highly speculative at best,
and pain research has proven the extreme trauma suffered by the
infant boy. Behavioral changes have been documented to follow most
circumcisions, as boys become very irritable and interruption
occurs to parent-infant bonding and feeding schedules.

Goldman writes that unrecognized consequences of the procedure may
include promotion of a negative attitude to male sexuality. The
personal stories by circumcised men and by mothers and fathers are
quite moving. Some parents came to deeply regret their decision to
circumcise while others feel gratified that they reached eleventh-
hour determinations not to carry out the procedure.

Goldman takes the offensive later in the book, suggestion that the
Torah's commandment against assaulting another person actually
forbids circumcision. He notes that blind conformance to authority
is antithetical to Jewish values, and many potential benefits of
foregoing circumcision exist. An appendix contains Goldman's
response to traditionalist supporters of the procedure, which is
drawn entirely from passages in the Torah.

In Goldman's discussion of Jewish men's views of Jewish women, I
was troubled by his inability to transcend standard views of
misogyny while failing to also consider possible misandry, as I was
by his repetition of the big lie that men commit most domestic
violence. Nevertheless, future research needs to be carried out in
accordance with his insightful suggestion that many Jewish men may
harbor anger toward Jewish women due to their circumcisions, for
which they may subconsciously hold their mothers primarily
responsible. From the infant's perspective, Goldman notes, he is
experiencing betrayal by his mother at a most vulnerable time in
his life.

Goldman includes several useful appendices including two mothers'
stories, a discussion of circumcision and anti-Semitism, and sample
alternative rituals in which the baby's foreskin is not touched.
Ronald Goldman has gifted us with his second tightly reasoned,
impeccably documented, and heartfully written book about a
procedure which should be of concern to all men and women who care
about children or society, whatever your faith may be.'
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 29, 2013
Bravo to Goldman! Exposing this brutal nightmare of a "practice". And it happened again...Another child mutilated for life: Google 'Rabbi botched circumcision'. This moron completely severed the child's penis. And for what? Religion? Yeah, ok folks! Crazy much??
This poor infant was rushed to the hospital, spent 8 HOURS!!!!! in surgery, HAD 6!!!! blood transfusions and had to stay in the hospital FOR 2 MONTHS!!!
That this happens TO ONE CHILD is too much!!
"Your average pediatric urologist probably spends about 20% of his or her time repairing children who have been circumcised."
"According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in every 500 new born boys experience significant acute complications as a result of circumcisions."
ENOUGH!!!!!!!
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on April 5, 2014
An interesting and thought-provoking book, that gave a very needed point of view from a person from the Jewish community.
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on August 2, 2011
I wanted to like this book; I really did. I so badly wanted it to be the answer I was looking for, but it wasn't. For the most part, this book was nothing more than a collection of your typical anti-circumcision arguments written by a guy who happens to have a very Jewish name and a Ph.D. Many of the statistics and studies cited in this book were of highly dubious origin and quality, and the so-called "Jewish perspective" made up only a minute part of the book. I wanted to see an intelligent, detailed dissection of Jewish law and teachings showing that the tradition of circumcision is outdated and in violation of God's teachings. There were very few arguments to that extent, and what little there were could have been condensed into a three page paper. Instead, they were painfully protracted into a book padded with emotional appeals and specious correlations, such as circumcision being responsible for anti-semitism. Save your money.
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