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Looking for resources and videos for my Jewish sister

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  • Looking for resources and videos for my Jewish sister

    Short version: My sister recently announced that she is pregnant with a boy. She's somewhat ambivalent about circumcision and I offered to send her some resources. She said that she does not want videos of circumcision and I'll respect her wishes.

    Long version: My sister recently announced that she is pregnant and will be having a boy. I kind of knew I'd have to talk with her about circumcision eventually and so I had worked up some talking points years in advance. I sat her down and had a productive but also awkward conversation with her. I opened with, "When you have your boy, I urge you not to circumcise him." I then let her speak about her own opinions for a while.

    The gist of it is that she kind of thinks the whole practice is dumb and that it's hypocritical for Americans to circumcise their boys and then get all outraged when African girls are cut. I interjected to say that I completely agreed with her and that it was an excellent point. She also said that she recently attended a bris and found it to be a really unpleasant event.

    However, she also said that her husband, who is devoutly Jewish* also has strong feelings on the matter, implying that he's in favor of circumcision. She also lent the impression that she hasn't given the matter much thought and doesn't seem to care all that much. She tried to stress to me that this would be a joint decision between herself and her husband and that the child is 50 percent his. I tried to retort with, "Your child is 100 percent his own," but I think that point was lost on her.

    Our conversation was all over the place. Sometimes we were on exactly the same page, sometimes it was very awkward. She asked me why I felt the way that I do and I said truthfully, "No reason. When I learned that I had been circumcised, I felt violated and I resented that that choice was taken away from me." I don't think I crossed any lines, but as I talked about my feelings toward my penis, my sister made it clear that some of what I was saying was making her uncomfortable. I guess from my end it annoys me that I have a lifetime of grief and she was upset by a few minutes of awkwardness and implied she may even pass on the grief to her son, but whatever, my goal is not to drive her away from my side of the argument. I refuse to badger her or send her anything that will bother her; instead, I'd like to be persistent but thoughtful.

    Near the end of our conversation, I said I'd send her a few videos. She interrupted to say, "Please don't," but thought that I meant videos of circumcision. I said I wouldn't do that. Instead, I had in mind these two videos:



    I like that they're both informative but more lighthearted takes on circumcision. I also sent her a link to Wikipedia's article on brit shalom. I said that I'll give her space, but I'd like to check in about once per month if she wouldn't mind.

    So if anyone knows of good videos or resources that can help her make an informed decision, please send them my way. I'll sit on them for about a month and then send them to her around mid-October.

    *Footnote: My sister and I are half-Jewish, though it's through our father. Because of Judaism's matrilineage, neither of us is truly Jewish in the eyes of orthodoxy, nor will her children be Jewish, despite being genetically three-quarters Jewish.

  • #2
    Also, many Jews are foregoing the practice these days. There is a no cut bris called "Brit Shalom". Have her run that by her hubby. Best of both worlds!

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    • #3
      If he's devoutly Jewish, that's tough, but I agree with Parsecskin, many Jews are foregoing the practice now. I live in Hungary and I know that most Jews here choose not to circumcise their boys. Tell him the boy will be genetically Jewish no matter what he does, but that circumcising him as a religious act, is forcing not only circumcision on him, but also a religion that he may never actually subscribe to. It's absolutely insane. I can't even imagine how angered I would be if my father had had me circumcised because of religion.

      Remind her that she's not robbing the boy of his foreskin, but she's robbing him of THE CHOICE. If you have to, play the feminist card. A true feminist would be anti-circumcision.

      Comment


      • #4
        Try the Youtube video Elephant in the Hospital, that's pretty popular. Also YourWholeBaby has an excellent Facebook group
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tony View Post
          Try the Youtube video Elephant in the Hospital, that's pretty popular. Also YourWholeBaby has an excellent Facebook group
          Nope, not going to show my sister video of a circumcision. She's already seen one and found it unpleasant and she made it clear that it would just drive her away. If there's an edited version without the circumcision scene, I'll send her that.

          As for everyone else who's recommending the brit shalom, I've already sent her a link to the Wikipedia article on it. No response from her on anything yet...

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          • #6
            I need to not let this get to me so much, but if she has such a problem watching videos about circumcision, she has no business circumcising another human being. I'm getting outraged about the ignorance here. <--- I know my comment isn't helpful.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PalloTown18 View Post
              I need to not let this get to me so much, but if she has such a problem watching videos about circumcision, she has no business circumcising another human being. I'm getting outraged about the ignorance here. <--- I know my comment isn't helpful.
              Hey, I'm right there with you, but we have to think about what's best for this child. If I can show her 20 videos and articles that don't graphically depict circumcision, that's going to have a greater impact than one video of the procedure that causes her to clam up and say, "I'm not watching anything else you send me," and even damaging my relationship with her. This is awkward enough as it is.

              And in case you didn't read the long version in the OP, she attended a bris and found it to be unpleasant. I think in this instance she doesn't need (much) convincing that circumcision would be painful for her son.

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              • #8
                You could show her elephant in the hospital, but edit out the circumcision procedure . The rest of the video is excellent.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by parsecskin View Post
                  You could show her elephant in the hospital, but edit out the circumcision procedure . The rest of the video is excellent.
                  I'll check it out. I actually have some video editing experience, so I may be able to do just that.

                  Edit: Just watched Elephant in the Hospital. It was good, perhaps shy of great. I'm thinking that I'll hold on to it until a bit later-- maybe November or December if she's still on the fence and needs some stronger persuasion. I think it's a bit much to take in for just the second volley of videos I'll be sending her. I also think that the presentation itself is not the finest. Still, it makes the cut (hurr hurr...).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's some more resources: www.yourwholebaby.org is an excellent one. As well as having her check out "Brother K" of The Bloodstained Men on Facebook. His fb page alone is a wealth of information.

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                    • #11
                      Bad news, guys. My sister messaged me back today and basically said, "Don't message me anymore about this. This will be a joint decision between me and my husband."

                      I know at least some of you will chime in to say that I should double down and be more persistent, but I think I've said all I can.

                      This whole thing has been pretty upsetting to me. I really admire my sister and anticipated that at least we could have a fruitful discussion. I bared my soul to her and she's shutting me out. I suppose I could have said a few things better, but I don't think I said anything wrong either-- I didn't raise my voice or say anything like, "I'll disown you if you circumcise your son." We just had an awkward conversation and that proved to be too much. I still think she's a good person at heart and I have at least some faith that she'll come around, but I've done all I can and honestly, prospects don't look too good.

                      Some battles you just can't win.

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                      • #12
                        I think the decision should be clear without having to even talk about the procedure of circumcision. The bottom line is they will be making a decision to alter another human's body permanently without consent.

                        Additionally, why does it matter if the dad is a de out Jew? The son isn't! He doesn't even know what Judaism is yet.

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                        • #13
                          This is what you do: go on Facebook to Brother K's page. Message him thru messenger and tell him what has happened and ask him to send her information. He has other ways to track these people down, so you'll be off the hook. Plus he has lots of experience cracking "tough cases" and making them see the truth.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by parsecskin View Post
                            This is what you do: go on Facebook to Brother K's page. Message him thru messenger and tell him what has happened and ask him to send her information. He has other ways to track these people down, so you'll be off the hook. Plus he has lots of experience cracking "tough cases" and making them see the truth.
                            If I can do that at all, it will be in many months. My sister is probably annoyed with me and would assume I'd passed her name on to him. She has a lot of psychological leverage over me right now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey, I tried and failed at this ten years ago, so don't feel bad. Good on you for trying. I have never been particularly close to my sister though (we are a number of years apart in age and practically grew up separately) and she's never given even two shits about what I thought about anything, so I'm not surprised she ignored me - if you are closer to her I can see why this would be upsetting. The pragmatist in me says the prognosis for your case is not good: the #1 reliable predictor in studies of a boy being circumcised is if the father is, and it's not even close. So you are fighting an uphill battle, to say the least.
                              Visit my restoration progress journal.

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