The Shmooze can think of at least one guy who won’t be performing a bris anytime soon.
John Patterson, a doctor at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., is in court this week, facing a lawsuit for amputating a penis during what was intended to be a circumcision. He’s being sued by Phillip Seaton, who’s already reached an undisclosed settlement with the hospital out of court.
Patterson was supposed to circumcise Seaton in 2007 because of “inflammation” — but says he amputated the tip of his patient’s penis after discovering a potentially fatal form of cancer during the procedure.
Phone-throwing Oscar winner Russell Crowe has come out swinging against circumcision — specifically the Jewish kind — in a Twitter rant he subsequently retracted (sort of).
Calling the ritual “barbaric and stupid,” Crowe said he “love[s] my Jewish friends,” but that ” if u feel it is yr right 2 cut things off yr babies please unfollow and f**k off, I’ll take attentive parenting over barbarism.”
The punctuation-impaired actor explained that “I will always stand for the perfection of babies, i will always believe in God, not man’s interpretation of what God requires,” asking, “Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin?”
The “Gladiator” star directed one of the posts at Jewish director Eli Roth, with whom he worked on the upcoming “The Man With the Iron Fists.” Roth responded via a tweet of his own, “You didn’t seem to be complaining when I was recutting you this afternoon…”
As the perpetual battle over circumcision continues, a Canadian doctor is proposing an interesting compromise — but one that would preclude the procedure as it’s performed according to Jewish tradition.
Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Noni MacDonald is suggesting that the surgery be conducted only on boys of 11 or 12 years of age. Her rationale is that, from a medical standpoint, there’s no need to perform the procedure earlier, since the health benefits of circumcision — such as lowering the risk of HIV infection — only kick in when a boy becomes sexually active. By early adolescence, she argues, boys are better able to make their own decisions about whether to undergo the surgery.
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.
No one really likes to think about getting circumcised, but undergoing the procedure twice? No thank you. Yet some parents in the Haifa area are doing just that after news broke that a mohel botched hundreds of circumcisions and failed to comply with Jewish Law.
When a group of senior rabbis from Haifa attended a bris, they noticed that something wasn’t quite right: The foreskin around the penis was not properly removed. They informed the Chief Rabbinate, word spread and panic ensued. According to Ynet, dozens of parents have consulted with expert mohels and some children have already endured a second procedure, under full anesthesia, to correct the blunder. While there are no medical concerns, parents are seeking a second procedure to ensure that the circumcision is kosher — and for aesthetic reasons. Ynet also reports that the scandal may affect thousands of children.
Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, may have been photographed in Nazi garb, giving a Nazi salute, but Bullock wants to make it perfectly clear that she’s no antisemite. And she went so far as to have a bris for her newly adopted son, Louis.
Because she and James wanted to keep the adoption a secret until after the Oscars — where Bullock won an award for her leading role in “The Blind Side,” — she explained, “a friend of ours helped arrange for a bris [Jewish circumcision ceremony] at the house, because we couldn’t go [to the hospital for the procedure]. The mohel [a person trained in the practice] came to us,” she told People magazine.
On Capitol Hill recently, amid preposterously high kites and blooming cherry blossoms, a peaceful anti-circumcision protest took place. It was small. The protest that is. Men wore sandwich boards and a mother-daughter team jiggered signs that read: “Circumcision Is Torture” and “Circumcision Decreases Sensitivity.” Pony-tailed joggers posed for a photo with their thumbs up in front of the signs. The men and women, speaking openly about penises, were tentatively engaged by passersby who felt either curious or confrontational.
One man in tie-dye, with hair more salt than pepper, had driven from Pittsburgh to spread his message on one of America’s most famous lawns. Mr. Kauffman, as he was called, wore a portrait of a smiling, multiracial baby that said: “Let HIM Choose.” Kauffman is circumcised, and he’s so unhappy about it that he chose not to do it his sons, against the advice of his doctor, who is also his brother. Kauffman fell out with his rabbi over the decision, but believes so strongly in the basic tenants of the anti-circumcision movement that he feels the loss was worth it.