IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 7/16/12
Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
The German Circumcision Ruling:
What About the Harm to the
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
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.