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Should liberal government regulate male circumcision performed in the name of Jewish tradition?

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael



The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and caedere (meaning "to cut"). Cultural and religious justifications are employed to convince members of the community as well as outsiders that circumcision is reasonable and just. The purpose of the discussion is to suggest some cardinal changes to the practice of male circumcision in order to make it more humane and less painful to its subjects. Balancing between group rights and the rights of the child, it is essential to avoid unnecessary suffering. It is one of the liberal state's obligations to protect the best interests of vulnerable third parties. The article opens with some preliminary data about male circumcision and then explains its importance in Judaism. It examines the medical reasons for male circumcision and the risks involved in the practice; subsequently, it discusses the critique of male circumcision. The article also highlights the points of agreement and disagreement between those supporting and opposing the ritual and insists that male circumcision should be performed by using anesthesia. The final part of the article includes a proposal for humane male circumcision that considers religious sentiments and the rights of the child, aiming to strike a reasonable balance between competing interests. I hope the proposal will be debated in parliaments in the western world.


Cohen-Almagor, R. (2021). Should liberal government regulate male circumcision performed in the name of Jewish tradition?. SN Social Sciences, 1(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 9, 2020
Publication Date 2021-01
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2020
Journal SN Social Sciences
Electronic ISSN 2662-9283
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 1
Article Number 8
Keywords anesthesia; children's rights; culture; male circumcision; Judaism; religion
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Additional Information Received: 24 June 2020; Accepted: 6 October 2020; First Online: 9 November 2020; : ; : The author states that there is no conflict of interest.; : Writing of this article did not involve research on humans or animals.


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© The Author 2020

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