Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power

Circumcision is seen as the central mitzvah (or commandment) of Judaism. Even for nonreligious Jews, circumcision continues to be perceived as the sine qua non of Jewish identity. And yet, unlike any other controversial topic that we Jews address, the subject of circumcision is not to be challenged. What I intend to do here is to show that cutting out a portion of a child’s genitalia is fundamentally about gender and power.