A fortnight ago, I described on these pages the difficult decision that my wife and I made not to circumcise our son, who is now three. We are both half-Jewish, and were caught between the demands of tradition on the one hand and our consciences on the other. In the end we made what we felt was the humane, and just, choice: he remains uncircumcised.
The article provoked a large and impassioned response from readers. One user of telegraph.co.uk, who has since been banned from the site, posted a startling stream of anti-Semitic vitriol. Another reader sent me a long and venomous letter in which he called me a “devious and cowardly narcissist”, bent on undermining the ancient traditions of the Jews.
It didn’t stop there. I received a letter imploring me to repent and embrace Christ; I was told that I harbour unconscious wishes to dominate my son; and I was telephoned at home by a total stranger encouraging me to pay more attention to my Jewish heritage. And all because of that little loop of skin commonly found on the end of the penis.
Given the controversial nature of the debate, I had been braced for a colourful response. I was surprised, however, by the general consensus of opinion. Apologists for circumcision were effectively drowned in a maelstrom of outrage. The prevailing sentiment was summed up by a comment made on the website by a user called Hugh: “Congratulations on your final decision, but why put yourself through such a wringer over it? HIS body, HIS choice.”
So simple! His body, his choice. But when seen through Jewish eyes — and, I suspect, Muslim ones too —the issue becomes rather more complicated. Continue reading on the Telegraph website