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Jewish Atheists

For Atheists of Jewish origin and others interested in Jewish history and culture.

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Circumcision

Started by Freethinker31. Last reply by Freethinker31 Sep 19. 4 Replies

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Comment by Natalie A Sera on April 15, 2013 at 4:29pm

As far as the assignment given by the NY teacher to defend the proposition that Jews are evil, using Nazi arguments, it makes my blood boil, because had I been one of those kids, I wouldn't even have been able to approach that assignment, because all I could think about then, and now, is that had I been born in a different place and a different era, it could have been ME. You don't EVER ask a student to write about why they, themselves, are evil and should be murdered! And therefore, you don't ask them why any other ethnic group is evil and should be murdered, either. This teacher shows not a lick of common sense, not to speak of empathy, or ethics. There are MANY subjects on which one could write a persuasive essay -- it was totally unnecessary to use this as a topic. I am truly disgusted by the whole affair, and I DO hope the teacher is fired, because someone as thoughtless as this shouldn't be teaching anyone.

Comment by Alan Perlman on April 15, 2013 at 4:20pm

Debra/Brandi,

For 12 years, I was a member of Rabbi Sherwin Wine's founding Humanistic Congregation, in suburban Detroit.  I took his courses, listened to his brilliant sermons -- quite a guy. 

I guess in recent years my increasing skepticism and commitment to truth have led me away from holidays and Judaism in general.  The Passover story simply didn't occur, so all the reworking of the holiday is based on a story. 

The reworking is a modern overlay, something the ancient Hebrew shepherds would not have understood.  But that's OK.  I just think these are things worth thinking about all year.  BTW, many of the same ideas are to be found in Zen and elsewhere.  Check out the Secular Wisdom tab in my blog www.jewishatheist.us .

I've done a lot of Holocaust reading and have many opinions, as, I'm sure, do A/N Jews.  I may start a thread.

 

shalom,

Alan

Comment by jlaz on April 14, 2013 at 11:08pm

Regarding this story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/nyregion/albany-teacher-gives-pro...
Students Told to Take Viewpoint of the Nazis
By  JESSE McKINLEY
Published: April 12, 2013


Some decades ago I attended this public high school as a freshman and sophomore.  I liked it, and the teachers, and when I attended a very expensive prep school after, I thought the teachers at Albany High held their own.

On the questionable assignment, I probably would have refused to do it also.

Comment by Grinning Cat on March 25, 2013 at 1:54pm

Some thoughts on Passover and its Four Questions, from Mark Hurvitz's A Growing Haggadah: (emphasis added)

Questioning is a sign of freedom, and so we begin with questions.

To ritualize only one answer would be to deny that there can be many, often conflicting answers. To think that life is only black and white, or wine and Maror, bitter or sweet, or even that the cup is half empty or half full is to enslave ourselves to simplicity.

Each of us feels the challenge to search for our own answers. The ability to question is only the first stage of freedom. The search for answers is the next.

Can we fulfill the promise of the Exodus in our own lives if we do not search for our own answers?

Does every question have an answer? Is the ability to function without having all the answers one more stage of liberation? Can we be enslaved to an obsessive search for the answer?

Many people have reclaimed the holiday in a godless way. A couple of humanist haggadahs I've found:

http://uuja.org/holidays/lit/Humanist_Haggadah.pdf (from Machar -- the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism)

http://www.eszter.com/Haggadah.pdf (adapted by Eszter Hargittai from the haggadot of Machar and of the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, New York City)

Comment by sammy on November 15, 2012 at 8:19pm
I would just copy and paste your comment Leila.
Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 7:51pm

I don't really think this group is the place for me.  Sorry to have disturbed you so much Michael with my opinions. 

Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 7:49pm
Comment by Michael Pianko on November 15, 2012 at 7:36pm

There is no such thing as a procedure to replace the excised penile tissue. The immune system would reject donor tissue. There is no clear boundary between what is shaft skin and what is foreskin. Foreskin restoration is when men try to stretch their shaft skin with devices or tape for a few years until finally, enough skin grows to cover the glans most of the time.

If you are a rational, decent, caring person, you will see that ass-raping boys, raping children, seriously starving children, beating, spanking, slavery, and female circumcision are wrong. The reason you are able to recognize that these behaviors are bad is because you are in the bubble of American culture and in American culture, these behaviors are usually recognized as bad. But these behaviors would still be bad even if everybody was doing them. Circumcision is bad because of the damage it does, even though circumcised people don't often become aware of it just like color blind people are not able to understand that their eye sight is off, it is not just the case that circumcision has to be good because a lot of people think it is good or don't care. The reason you are not able to see that circumcision is bad is because you are in the bubble of American culture, and in American culture, circumcision is considered good or neutral. But circumcision is actually just as bad as those other abuses, you just don't see why yet because: the human brain usually tries to align its thought patterns or beliefs with the people around him or her, and you are in the bubble of US culture. Step outside the bubble of US culture and you will see how bizarre and abusive it is to cut boys anywhere, and on the crotch, of all places?? I'm still glad that at least you recognize that HaShem is imaginary and religion is bogus. It follows that you are not entitled to have an opinion about rear-end raping boys, because no matter what your opinion, it is still wrong. Same thing with cutting your kids crotch or paying someone to do it.

Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 8:38am

This is kind of the reason I hesitate in joining atheist minded groups.  I have met as many intolerant atheists as I have intolerant fundamentalists.  Besides the lack of fairy tales, what is the difference?  Both feel they need to be vigilant about swaying the other to their respective sides.  I always thought being a non-theist meant that you could have a discussion and disagree but respect that the other person's viewpoints.  I'm sorry that you feel you have been irreversibly harmed by your parents and their decisions Michael.  (This IS what you are referring to in all your exclamations- the fact that your parents made a choice for you or that your brother is making a choice for his son).  That's okay- its your life and you can have rage at your family all you want.  But it is hard for me to see as someone who supposedly embraces rational thought, that you can project your emotions about the subject and make blanket statements about everyone feelings about the subject.  I'm not suggesting that you can't have opinions, and, I may even agree with them to an extent, but that's the beauty of being a non-theist is that we can have our own thoughts and we are content to let others have theirs as well without feeling the need to change them.  If male circumcision is so terrible, I have a hard time believing that the medical community would still practice it with all the knowledge that is our there.  And, if you wish, you can have a procedure to have your foreskin replaced, if you wish.    I don't have boys so I never had to make that decision although I am positive my husband would have even though he is non-religious as well.  And as many Jewish anti-circumcision advocates as you have named, there are thousands more for each one who still have no problem with the practice.  Some of them are even doctors themselves. 

Comment by Michael Pianko on November 14, 2012 at 11:47pm

No. I know perfectly well how bad circumcision is. And I know of other Jewish anti-circumcision activists: Ronald Goldman, Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Norm Cohen, Miriam Pollack, and others. There are non-Jewish circumcision activists, along with anti-circ organizations and some doctors and nurses are against the practice. If you are a man and are circumcised and claim not to have a problem with yourself, of course you lack the sensation you are supposed to have, your brain is misinterpreting the discomfort as real sensation, and of course people don't like to admit that something very bad was done to them. Yes, I am entitled to interfere with your so called decision when your decision is hurting someone. People are not entitled to have a viewpoint about circumcision and people are not entitled to make their own decisions because the decisions and viewpoints should not exist because circumcision should not exist. If you are a real atheist, you will be rational about circumcision also and you will see that circumcision is serious abuse just like you can see that religion in general is bogus. The so called medical benefits are all false, just myths and superstitions (circumstitions). I realize you don't want to feel like you have been harmed or that you harmed your son but that is the truth. Just give in to the truth and help end circumcision. Yes, I'm a real anti-circumcision activists and my moral duty is to do what I can to end this abuse.

 

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