Since I am one of four female siblings, introducing me to Judaism through a ceremony carried out at the age of eight days was not something my parents had to consider.
Seeing circumcision as something for Jewish parents to consider is a relatively recent notion. In the past, the Brit milah was as natural a step for the average Jewish family as lighting Shabbat candles or saying Kaddish for a loved one; an integral part of our heritage, the original covenant between man and God.
But we live in sceptical times. This chimes with Jews. Challenging accepted wisdom is one of Judaism’s greatest characteristics. Jews do like to debate. There are rules in debating, of course: times when you can intervene, limitations on heckling from the crowd etc. In a good debate, arguments are won on sound reasoning and hard evidence.
Come November, the people of San Francisco will have the chance to decide whether they want circumcision to be banned for males under 18, punishable with a fine or even a prison sentence.
In a country where religious freedom is not merely encouraged, but constitutionally inscribed, the idea of blocking parents from observing religious practice is bizarre. Individual states aren’t even able to ban the burning of the American flag.
This comment piece originally appeared in the Jewish Chronicle. Read the rest of it here.