Circumcision rates nearly cut in half in the USA. I guess Prince William set off a trend. Should Jews follow? More and more are saying yes.

While the United States is one of the few industrialized countries in which a majority of newborn boys are circumcised, recent surveys show that the American circumcision rate, which was close to 90% in the 1960s, is now at only 57%. But even though the national rate has declined, circumcision remains the norm in all major Jewish denominations; most newborn Jewish boys have either a traditional brit milah or have the procedure performed at a hospital. Nevertheless, a small but vocal minority of Jewish activists have begun to question the importance, and even the morality, of circumcision. Some have even begun using alternative “bris-less” brisses to welcome their sons into the world.

The Internet is full of Web sites sponsored by circumcision opponents, who often call themselves proponents of “genital integrity” or “intactivism.” After conducting his research, Thomas Wolfe decided to forgo circumcising his son. Instead, he arranged a so-called brit shalom ceremony, a newly created ritual that celebrates birth while omitting circumcision.

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