The great California foreskin fight of 2011
A simple cartoon by a “courageous soul” just expressing an unpopular opinion.
As luck would have it, the day local Jewish leaders gathered in Santa Monica to discuss the community’s response to a proposed ballot measure aimed at banning circumcision in that city was the very same day the proposition was rescinded by its proponent.
Twenty-five people came to the meeting at the Milken Family Foundation offices on Fourth Street on June 6, including high-ranking Jewish professionals, local rabbis of all stripes and other Jewish community leaders.
Catherine Schneider, senior vice president for community engagement at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, who orchestrated the two-week-long effort to fight the proposed ballot initiative, said the prevailing atmosphere in the room that morning was of deep concern.
“People had very strong opinions of what this would mean for their communities,” Schneider said.
“One of the concerns that I had was that people not look at this and say, ‘Look what those nuts in Santa Monica are doing,’ ” said Richard Bloom, the city’s mayor, who attended the June 6 meeting. Bloom, who is Jewish, spoke first. He pledged his full support to fight against the measure.
Bloom’s other concern — one expressed by many others at the meeting — was that people might not take the situation seriously. An entire genre of Jewish humor focuses on ritual circumcisers, or mohelim. (Have you heard the one about the wallet? How about the one about the storefront with the clock in the window?)
But aside from writers of pun-filled newspaper headlines, nobody involved in this fight is joking.
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Of the three most prominent “intactivists”= Jenna Troutman, Matthew Hess, creator of the infamous “Foreskin Man” comic, or Lloyd Schofield, none of these people are Jews, nor do they realize how important Brit Milah is in the Jewish tradition.
Circumcision is so essential to the Jewish faith, culture and religion, that all the major Jewish denominations are unanimous about preserving it. The number of Jews who are affiliated with the “intactivist” movement is so minuscule as to be totally marginal. These people are not “courageous” nor are they “progressive” or “new thinkers.” There have been attempts to ban circumcision among the Jews since the time of the Hellenizers, 2500 years ago. These attempts failed then; they will fail again.