The Journal

Contact:                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 7/16/12 

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
Executive Director

The German Circumcision Ruling:

What About the Harm to the Child?


Last month a German court in Cologne ruled that circumcising young boys represents grievous "bodily harm." Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., executive director of the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center, a nonprofit educational organization, notes that most of the subsequent discussion has been about "religious rights" and "parental rights" and suggests that we take a closer look at circumcision harm to the child. Dr. Goldman is the author of Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective and Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma. His books are endorsed by rabbis and dozens of professionals in mental health, medicine, and social science, and he has participated in over 200 media interviews with radio and television shows, newspapers, wire services, and periodicals.

According to Dr. Goldman, "Studies show that circumcision causes significant pain and trauma, behavioral and neurological changes in infants, potential parental stress from persistent crying of infants, disrupted bonding between parent and child, and risk of surgical complications. Sometimes infants do not cry because they are in traumatic shock. Other consequences of circumcision include loss of a natural, healthy, functioning body part, reduced sexual pleasure, and unknown negative effects that have not been studied. Donít believe men who say, ĎIím circumcised and Iím fine.í They do not know what they are missing. Emotional repression may also limit their awareness."

Dr. Goldman also says that long-term psychological problems connected with circumcision have been documented in clinical reports and surveys of men. "Some circumcised men who understand circumcision resent that they are circumcised. Sexual anxieties, reduced emotional expression, low self-esteem, avoidance of intimacy, and depression are also reported. Some doctors who are aware of the harm (most American doctors are not) refuse to perform circumcisions because of ethical reasons. Relying on presumed authorities is not sufficient because they may have personal, religious, financial, and political conflicts of interest."

A growing number of Jews are forgoing circumcision because of their increased awareness of the harm. The Jewish Circumcision Resource Center represents Jews around the world who question circumcision. The Center maintains a confidential list of several hundred names of Jews in the United States, Europe, South America, and Israel who did not circumcise a son.

The majority of the world does not circumcise because of an instinctive awareness of the harm, analogous to cutting off any other healthy body part. JCRC hopes that the renewed discussion about circumcision includes this perspective and makes children's interests the priority.

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