You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Ritual

Mohelot and Brit Milah: Does it matter if a woman wields the knife?

Can a woman perform a bris? Jewish scholars, even the most Orthodox, answer with a tentative “why not?” for there is no halachic (Jewish law) prohibition against mohelot – female mohels. While Jewish law states that it’s preferable for a Jewish male to perform the brit milah (circumcision) if one is present, it is not mandatory. The symbolism of a woman circumcising a man is inherently provocative, touching on questions of spirituality, nurturing mothers, and emasculation. Many men, when polled on the subject, reflexively cross their legs.

For Convert and Mother-to-Be, Bris Is Ultimate Measure of Commitment

How do you measure commitment? That’s the question I was left pondering after reading Elana Sztokman’s post on the double standard for Orthodox women. Some women’s tardiness for services has become a justification for shutting out the entire gender from a whole host of responsibilities, as late arrival to shul apparently signifies a lack of spiritual commitment.

More on the boys

There has been a recent flurry of attention to the issue of boys’ (and men’s) flagging participation in Jewish life, particularly in the synagogue -- some going so far as to call this a crisis.

The "bris-less" bris

An article in this week's Forward describes the growing opposition to circumcision among American Jews, and the development of “bris-less” bris rituals. Although circumcision is generally considered a pretty elemental aspect of Jewish practice and identity for males, this story certainly wasn’t surprising to me. I’ve had many debates with Jewish friends about this issue, and struggled with the decision of whether to circumcise my son (we did, and I cried through the whole thing).

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ritual." (Viewed on September 2, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/ritual>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Poll

Which topics pique your interest on the JWA blog?

Twitter

1 day
Today in 1990, the Jewish Press profiled Rabbi Bonnie Koppell, the first female rabbi to serve in the U.S. military http://t.co/JaJvIc0U20
2 days
Today in 1984, Judith Resnik became the first American Jewish astronaut and second woman in space http://t.co/Gslg9RCAAQ
3 days
This is SOOO jwa!! What a great idea #MissPossible http://t.co/UgyLkQWJ6A