By now you have probably read about the attempt to ban circumcision by putting a motion on the ballot during the November SF municipal elections. While many in the Jewish community are up in arms about this, I can’t say it has caught my imagination. For disclosure’s sake, my sons and I all went through this rite-of-passage at eight days of age (not sure my eldest is too happy with me broadcasting this).
Circumcision was first done when Abraham showed his commitment to God’s calling by keeping his part of a covenant (Genesis Chap. 12) and circumcising himself (at the age of 75-80 if I remember correctly). God, for his/her part, promised that Abraham’s seed would flourish and live on the land of Canaan.
Abraham then had two sons (one with his wife, Sarah, and the other with her maid, Hagar). The descendants of the two sons became the Jewish and Arab nations. Both peoples circumcise their boys, see Abraham as their patriarch, and lay claim to Canaan (now Israel, Palestine and Jordan).
As you may have heard, there has been some contention between the children of Abraham – but then which family doesn’t have its troubles?
However, it seems that this assault on circumcision is bringing our peoples together. With both Muslims and Jews feeling attacked, we are apparently teaming up to take a united stand. Both religions see family as one of their highest values. Whatever it takes to bring the family together, huh?
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).