Banning Jewish practices

Two traditions that have been mainstays of Judaism are under attack in different parts of the world these days for the same reason: people who feel morally superior have decided that circumcision and Jewish dietary requirements for animal slaughter are cruel and inhumane.

kosher food symbols

As a political progressive, as a member of PETA and the Human Rights Campaign, it certainly feels incongruous to be defending age-old beliefs and practices against what some might see as enlightened new perspectives on what constitutes “pain” and “cruelty.”  But as our conservative friends and neighbors like to remind us, change for the sake of change is not always for the best.

The Preparation of Kosher Meat is Not Kosher

The government of Holland is currently considering joining the ranks of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Baltic nations, Switzerland and New Zealand in outlawing “shechita,” the required method of animal slaughter maintained by traditional Jews who consume Kosher meat. Read More

3 replies

  1. As least three clinical studies have determined beyond any doubt that circumcised men have a reduced risk of becoming infected with HIV. The results are leading the World Health Organization to recommend that young adult men in areas with high rates of HIV should be circumcised — but only if highly trained medical professionals are available.

    The agency also warns that it should be clearly explained to the men that circumcision does not completely protect them against infection. The recommendations come with numerous other caveats.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9190027

  2. WHO and UNAIDS announce recommendations from expert consultation on male circumcision for HIV prevention
    28 March 2007 | Paris/Geneva – In response to the urgent need to reduce the number of new HIV infections globally, WHO and the UNAIDS Secretariat convened an international expert consultation to determine whether male circumcision should be recommended for the prevention of HIV infection.

    Based on the evidence presented, which was considered to be compelling, experts attending the consultation recommended that male circumcision now be recognized as an additional important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men. The international consultation, which was held 6-8 March 2007 in Montreux, Switzerland, was attended by participants representing a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, civil society, researchers, human rights and women’s health advocates, young people, funding agencies and implementing partners.

    “The recommendations represent a significant step forward in HIV prevention,” said Dr Kevin De Cock, Director, HIV/AIDS Department in WHO. “Countries with high rates of heterosexual HIV infection and low rates of male circumcision now have an additional intervention which can reduce the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men. Scaling up male circumcision in such countries will result in immediate benefit to individuals. However, it will be a number of years before we can expect to see an impact on the epidemic from such investment.”

    There is now strong evidence from three randomized controlled trials undertaken in Kisumu, Kenya; Rakai District, Uganda (funded by the US National Institutes of Health); and Orange Farm, South Africa (funded by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS) that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. This evidence supports the findings of numerous observational studies that have also suggested that the geographical correlation long described between lower HIV prevalence and high rates of male circumcision in some countries in Africa, and more recently elsewhere, is, at least in part, a causal association. Currently, 665 million men, or 30 % of men worldwide, are estimated to be circumcised.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2007/pr10/en/index.html

  3. There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.

    Male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package.

    http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/index.html

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