Reform Rabbis Confront Growing Doubts on Circumcision

'Abuse' or divine decree? Though most favor continuing the ancient rite, a growing number hope to see it abandoned.

MONTEREY, Calif. (RNS)--When God commanded Abraham to circumcise himselfand his son, Ishmael, there wasn't an option for "No, I'd rather not."The terms seemed pretty clear:

"Thus shall my covenant be marked in your flesh as an everlastingpact," God tells Abraham in Genesis 17. "And if any male who isuncircumcised fails to circumcise the flesh of his foreskin, that personshall be cut off from his kin; he was broken my covenant."

More on Circumcision

Which faiths perform the ritual? See our circumcision chart.

A Jewish Mother Questions Tradition by Lisa Braver Moss

The Cut That Almost Wasn't by Nancy Cahners

"Why I Perform Circumcisions" by mohelet Dorothy F. Greenbaum

Paul Got Christians Off the Hook by Thomas Lynch

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But increasingly in Reform Judaism, families are questioning thehistoric ritual of circumcision, asking their rabbis if there is a wayout. The physical mark of God's covenant, some say, is cruel andunnecessary.

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Kevin Eckstrom
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