The Jerusalem Netletter
By Barbara Sofer

Having a brit milah in the former Soviet Union was dangerous and difficult. In the years of mass aliyah, 70,000 Jewish boys and men who moved to Israel quietly underwent the ritual circumcision. Hence, Israeli doctors became world experts in adult circumcision. Who would have guessed that this would uniquely position them to help prevent the spread of AIDS in the Third World? When researchers learned that circumcision reduced by 65 percent the risk of catching AIDS by infected women partners, Hadassah doctors traveled three times to Swaziland to facilitate a circumcision program named Operation Abraham, whose adult brit milah is noted in Genesis. The project came to the attention of Moslem surgeons in Senegal, where 98 percent of the boys are circumcised according to Moslem tradition. (Contrary to popular assumptions, most are circumcised before age 5, and not age 13.)  A delegation of three surgeons and two public health officials arrived recently at Hadassah Ein Kerem to coordinate efforts to continue this successful work in South and East Africa. “It was fascinating to speak with and work together with these experienced physicians,” said Hadassah pediatric surgeon Eitan Gross, Director of Operation Abraham. “We worked on simulations and how we might teach far-flung ‘paramedics’ to carry out this surgery which is often done by non-surgeons in our mutual countries. The tragic AIDS crisis is still raging in Africa.”

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  1. …. There is a movement of Jews who are questioning circumcision, and working to end this abuse of children. The movement ranges from the Orthodox to the secular, and includes mothers, fathers, scholars, historians, medical professionals, activists, and intellectuals.

    Jewish Groups for Genital Integrity

    * Jews Against Circumcision

    * Brit Shalom Celebrants by Mark D. Reiss, M.D.

    * Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Ron Goldman, Ph.D.

    * The Current Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 1

    The Kindest Un-Cut Feminism, Judaism, and My Son’s Foreskin by Professor Michael S. Kimmel

    Jewish Intactivist Miriam Pollack has some great commentary on Foreskin Man in this recent interview.

    Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors

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