Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


To Bris or Not to Bris

‘New York’ mag considers the question, comprehensively

Print Email

It seems New York magazine got the memo about Jewish Body Week—it features a full rundown on circumcision in the new issue. An article on the “shift away from circumcision” as a standard practice for American baby boys credits the change to activists as well as some more provocative factors: “As more U.S. women have sex with foreign-born men, the American perception of the uncut penis as exotic has begun to fade. The decline in the number of practicing Jews contributes as well.” An illustrated breakdown of the procedure itself gets, ahem, straight to the point. If that scares you off, there’s an option for Jews who don’t want to do the deed to their sons, but still want to welcome them into the religion: the Brit Shalom, a male equivalent to the naming ceremony traditionally held for baby girls. It’s an idea that might appeal to two regretful Jews who circumcised their boys: Michael Chabon, who says he considers the act “mutilation,” and Shalom Auslander, who says you might as well “[w]ait eight days, invite the family over, put out some wine and kugel, and just punch him in the fucking face.” But don’t fret if you’ve already sliced your son—a man who was cut as an adult mentions a little-known virtue of the procedure: “I always used to beg out of oral sex.… It was too much sensation, too intense. After the circumcision, oral sex became a whole lot easier.” And should you decide to go for it, in typical New York mag style, the spread includes a listing of recommended local mohels.

Of course, Tablet Magazine hasn’t slacked in covering the topic. We spoke to Melvin Konner, author of Nextbook Press’s The Jewish Body, about the history of the bris and also to an Orthodox documentarian who took a critical look at the procedure and came down against it. Plus, a father wrote about his unconventional search for a significant place to lay his son’s disembodied foreskin to rest.

For and Against Foreskin [NYMag]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

To Bris or Not to Bris

‘New York’ mag considers the question, comprehensively

More on Tablet:

How To Make Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables

By Joan Nathan — Video: Filled with warm rice and unexpected spices, they’re perfect for a cool autumn night—as a side dish or vegetarian entree