Ira and grandson Ryder at one day old—1/2/11

Jerry goes to a bris as the godfather

I have a new grandson, who was born on 1/1/11. A real gift and source of happiness for me and our family. There was a bris a week later, which is a party to celebrate the birth and also to have a circumcision, which is performed by a professional called a mohel.

A friend sent me a link to a Seinfeld video about a bris. It is very funny and is in Yiddish with English subtitles.

The bris is a 4000+ year Jewish tradition to welcome a boy-child into the community. It is also a requirement for Muslim males I learned. It may have also begun for health reasons. These days not everyone agrees that it is necessary or desirable. Some people think it is barbaric.

I asked a surgeon friend if circumcision has health benefits. He and another doctor friend said it didn’t, although one wrote that “there is some benefit in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa.” But the surgeon (who is not Jewish) said he thought it was good from an aesthetic point of view. This startled me. Seems totally subjective and arbitrary.

But since this site is concerned with abs and other muscles that many think improve our appearance when they are defined or bigger, and since I have also talked about plastic surgery, breast enhancement, and hair coloring to make us look younger and more attractive, why not circumcision? Especially when at least one person thinks it makes men more attractive. To whom I wonder? The occasional date or wife? Oh well…

As the grandfather, I had the honor of sitting right next to the baby who was held by the other grandpa, who happens to be a doctor. He was very approving of the mohel’s technique. I was very nervous that something would go wrong. But it didn’t. Other people at the bris admitted that they couldn’t look and were queasy. The mohel pointed out how many people usually hug the most distant wall.

Did you ever read that for men, blood represents a problem, an injury or accident. But for women, who are used to menstruating, the flow of blood is a sign of good health and fertility. Who would have guessed…