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Circumcision Battle Coming to Scandinavia

A growing attachment to the male umlaut

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Danish Jewish Museum(DJM)

After a trip to the Danish Jewish Museum this morning, I couldn’t help but leave in bolder spirits after learning about Denmark’s history with regard to its Jewish population. Like Berlin’s Jewish Museum, which I visited last week, Denmark’s Jewish Museum in Copenhagen is designed by Daniel Libeskind, whose work (no matter how well you know the history) manages to elicit an emotional response because of how the design interacts with the historical themes.

In Berlin, the museum has windows and cracks looking out into voids and a tower with a ladder that’s just out of reach. In Copenhagen, the museum is designed in a jagged shape that includes the Hebrew letters “מצוה” to symbolize the “mitzvah” of the Danish rescue of its Jewish population during World War II.

To recap, in October of 1943, Hitler ordered the arrest and deportation of Denmark’s 7,000+ Jews. Aided by the Danish resistance and ordinary Danish citizens, all but 481 of the Danish Jews were hidden or sent by boat across the Sound to Sweden where they were safe.

To drive the point home, the museum uses birch wood from Sweden for its paneling and (this one is really impressive) the museum is situated on the former boat house of the Danish King Christian IV, who first invited the Jews to Denmark in the early 1600s. Since their arrival, Jews have, by and large, lived well in Denmark (although, as James Kirchick wrote last week, Danish tolerance does have its shortcomings).

Despite all of this, tolerance of Jewish tradition remains a mutable dynamic. Yesterday, the JTA reported that the Jews of Scandinavia are now preparing to engage in what may be the newest front in the battle to ban circumcision.

Untrained rabbis mutilating hysterical babies while black-clad men stand around praying: The description of a Jewish circumcision in the mainstream Danish media indicates the xenophobia creeping through Scandinavia, some Jewish leaders fear.

“Around the baby stand ten black-clad men – a must in every Jewish circumcision,” the text declares. “As usual in Judaism, women aren’t allowed to be present. An untrained rabbi mutilates the baby, who cries and bleeds profusely as the men pray.”

The words typify “the level of the current debate on circumcision in Denmark,” said Finn Schwarz, president of the Jewish Congregation of Copenhagen.

Schwarz says the false account of a Jewish circumcision indicates the increasing intolerance toward the ritual, couched in xenophobia. Buttressed in recent bans elsewhere in Europe, Schwarz worries that a Danish push could turn into parliamentary action on circumcision in Denmark as early as this year.

Across Europe and North America, there is a cultural shift against the practice despite (or perhaps because of) its centrality in Muslim and Jewish customs. Some have attributed it to xenophobia amid waves of immigration, others to a more vocal atheist set or even the boredom among legislators in the summer.

We’ll see how it plays out.

Related: Free-Speech Hypocrisy in Europe [Tablet Magazine]
Scandinavian Jews brace for fresh attempts to ban circumcision [JTA]

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It doesn’t help Libeskind’s complex architecture to post a photo lying on its side. To get a better sense of the interior of the museum, have a look at these:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_Jewish_Museum or http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/portfolio/archives/0410jewishMuseum.asp

Somehow, I don’t think this battle is just about us. Jews make up less than 1% of hte population of Denmark, while Muslims make up 5%. Seems like a awful lot of trouble to mess with maybe 7,000 people. Chances Muslims are the real target here.

Somehow, I don’t think this battle is just about us. Jews make up less than 1% of hte population of Denmark, while Muslims make up 5%. Seems like a awful lot of trouble to mess with maybe 7,000 people. Chances Muslims are the real target here.

This is being played out world-wide in various ways and it’s not all about the Jews. It only seems to be in Europe, because the only other people who circumcise are Muslims, who do it later, when it will be less affected by an age-restriction – which is all that is proposed anywhere.

In Tasmania, where “medical” circumcision was once almost universal but is now almost unknown, a report has come out proposing to make infant circumcision illegal but with a religious exemption. It’s a human rights issue, and the human most directly involved is the one whose rights should be primary. The argument that he has a “right” to have (the best) part of his genitals removed before he can be asked, is strained, to say the least.

(The illustration seems to have been rotated 90 degrees. A museum open to the public has a level floor.)

“Some have attributed it to xenophobia amid waves
of immigration, others to a more vocal atheist set or even the boredom
among legislators in the summer.”

Is there any possibility that it might be due to a growing concern for the rights of male children?

In the West, female infants have a 100% non-negotiable legal guarantee
of genital integrity. Where girls are concerned, there is no BS
tolerated regarding “benefits and risks”, “parental rights”, “4000 years
of religious tradition”, etc. etc. You put a knife to a baby girl, you
go to jail, even if the cutting involves just a minor symbolic nick.

Why should infant boys not be accorded the same protection of law?

what about piercings & tattoos? u can cover all ur body with it but circumcission is a problem? & BTW its medically proved that circumcission avoid many diseases(those medics are non muslims) one example is CERVIX CARCINOMA? this cancer is only in the females who had constantly sex with noncircumcised pen!s. u can ask about it from any good doctor

2000

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Circumcision Battle Coming to Scandinavia

A growing attachment to the male umlaut

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