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Why Alicia Silverstone Didn’t Give Her Son a Bris

It would mean “God made the body imperfect,” the actress argues in new book

Stephanie Butnick
May 06, 2014
Alicia Silverstone. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Alicia Silverstone. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Alicia Silverstone, the latest celebrity mother to bring her Hollywood-tinted wisdom to the world in the form of a parenting guide, has attracted a lot of attention with her new book, The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning. She’s also gotten a fair amount of criticism for some of the book’s bolder claims, including that eating plant-based foods “can demolish your need for pharmaceutical drugs,” and that some children are “never the same” after vaccinations (the Daily Beast has a list of Silvertone’s scientifically dubious arguments).

The Jewish actress also jumps into the heated circumcision debate, explaining why she chose not to circumcise her son, Bear, now three. According to Haaretz, which quoted the anti-circumcision blog Beyond the Bris, Silverstone believes that giving her son a bris on a child would imply that his body wasn’t created perfect as is.

“I was raised Jewish, so the second my parents found out that they had a male grandchild, they wanted to know when we’d be having a bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony traditionally performed 8 days after a baby is born),” she writes. “When I said we weren’t having one, my dad got a bit worked up. But my thinking was: If little boys were supposed to have their penises ‘fixed,’ did that mean we were saying that God made the body imperfect?”

All I know is that 15 years from now there’s going to be a teenager named Bear who is like, sooo mad at his mom for writing all this stuff about him.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.