The Shmooze

Will Circumcision Become Illegal in San Francisco?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share

There are some Jews who say that in the 21st century, performing a brit milah (ritual circumcision) on a baby boy is neither desirable nor necessary. For San Francisco residents, however, there is a chance that it may also become illegal. In the city known for being on the cutting edge of many trends, a mohel’s knife may no longer be welcome, no matter how sharp it is.

Although it is not at all certain that a measure banning circumcisions proposed by city resident and anti-circumcision activist Lloyd Schofield will be passed — or even make it onto the ballot next November — San Francisco mohels might want to start thinking about setting up shop outside the city limits, just in case.

In order for the measure to be included on the ballot, Schofield needs to collect more than 7,100 signatures supporting it by April 26, 2011. The measure proposes to change San Francisco’s police code “to make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.”

“You shouldn’t be performing cosmetic surgery for other people…Tattooing a child is banned as a felony and circumcision is more harmful than a tattoo,” Schofield told CBS. “People can practice whatever religion they want, but your religious practice ends with someone else’s body…It’s a man’s body and…his body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision.”

Should the measure make it on to the ballot and be passed, the penalty for a mohel who chose to follow a higher law would be up to $1,000 and a year in prison. Now, that would hurt.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: San Francisco, Lloyd Schofield, Circumcision

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.