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NYC Intactivists to Demonstrate Outside Israeli Consulate to Protest Rabbinical Court's Controversial Circumcision Ruling

Event Date: December 5, 2013 - 11:00am - 2:00pm
Jewish activist in the NYC Pride parade, June 30, 2013 © NYC Intactivists
  • Rabbinical court fines Israeli mother US$140 a day until her son is circumcised
  • NYC Demonstration will coincide with a simultaneous demonstration in Tel Aviv

DECEMBER 5 (NYC) — On Thursday December 5, anti-circumcision group NYC Intactivists will demonstrate at the NYC Israeli consulate to show support for an Israeli mother who is being coerced by an Israeli rabbinical court to circumcise her son against her will. This demonstration will coincide with a simultaneous demonstration in Tel Aviv, where the mother’s supporters will protest at Kiryat Hamemshala (the Government Quarters) starting at 7:30 p.m. Israel time.

The controversial rabbinical court ruling has made headlines around the world, as the mother (whose name is given only as “Elinor”) has been slapped with an unprecedented fine of 500 Israeli new shekels (US$140) for each day until the boy is circumcised. Following the court ruling, Elinor — who is among the growing minority of Israeli Jews who refuse to circumcise their sons on human-rights grounds — approached the Israeli anti-circumcision organization Gonnen Al Ha'Yeled (Protect the Child), which organized Thursday’s protest in Tel Aviv and is taking online donations to help Elinor pay the fine. In an Israeli radio interview Elinor said, “It’s inconceivable, unfathomable... It's not in anyone's authority to force me as a mother to cut my son against my will... This is the body of the child, and this is his right, his body — his right.” The boy’s father initially agreed that the boy would not be circumcised, but changed his mind during divorce proceedings.

The Israeli rabbinate, which has legal jurisdiction over Jewish marriages in Israel, believes the legal fight over Elinor’s son’s foreskin could set a global precedent at a sensitive time when European medical associations and politicians are calling for an end to infant circumcision. The rabbinical court’s arguments for its decision, which include claims such as “Removing the foreskin prepares the spiritual soul to receive the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and to learn God’s Torah and His commandments” have been derided as “embarrassing” by Haaretz, which sided with Elinor in a recent editorial:

“The question of whether a baby should be circumcised should not be decided by a rabbinical court at all, but by his parents. If the parents cannot resolve their disagreement, reason actually mandates refraining from this irreversible operation, and letting the child decide for himself when he grows up.”
— Haaretz editorial, November 29, 2013

Thursday’s NYC protest is organized by Jewish anti-circumcision activist and Brookyln resident Jonathan Friedman. NYC Intactivists will also demonstrate against child circumcision at the United Nations on International Human Rights Day, December 10.

NYC Intactivists is a diverse group that raises awareness about the harms of circumcision.

WHAT: Demonstration in support of Israeli mother who refuses to circumcise her son
WHERE: Israeli Consulate, 800 2nd Ave, NYC
WHEN: 11AM – 2PM, Thursday, December 5, 2013
CONTACT: Jonathan Friedman 347-687-9390

Haaretz: No to forced circumcision

Haaretz: Even in Israel, more and more parents choose not to circumcise their sons

Interview with Elinor:

Elinor’s Facebook support group:

Donations for Elinor:

NYC Protest Facebook event page:

NYC Intactivists on Facebook:

NYC Intactivists on Twitter:

NYC Intactivists Ustream channel:

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