October 7, 2021 — It’s the new Jewish year 5782, and a new nonprofit, Bruchim, is seeking to disrupt thousands of years of status-quo. The organization is encouraging Jewish groups of all kinds to openly welcome and include those who feel differently about the ancient rite of circumcision.
“There is a growing number of engaged Jewish people who aren’t circumcising,” says Max Buckler, Bruchim’s Communications Director. “Many of these families are involved in Jewish life but aren’t sure how their community will react. Will their child receive a warm, spiritually fulfilling welcome?”
Bruchim’s mission is to build alliances between non-circumcising Jews and Jewish organizations at a time when synagogue affiliation rates are declining and many Jews are looking for personally meaningful programming and involvement. The organization is non-denominational and has an advisory council made up of rabbis from various backgrounds and orientations.
Parents who decide not to circumcise often have lots of questions pertaining to their Jewish involvement, says Lisa Braver Moss, who is Bruchim’s President. “Will the rabbi officiate at a birth ceremony for non-circumcising families? Will their diaper-age child be ‘outed’ at their Jewish preschool? What about bar mitzvah for boys who haven’t been circumcised?”
One of Bruchim’s goals is to get answers for parents in situations where it might be uncomfortable for them to ask directly. The organization also encourages Jewish institutions to make their policies clear on their websites and in their other communications.
Do synagogues and other Jewish groups generally inquire as to a particular child’s circumcision status? “Of course not,” says Rebecca Wald, who is Bruchim’s Executive Director. “Most in the Jewish community assume everyone is circumcised — or they expect those who aren’t to just keep quiet. Bruchim is taking the bold position that those who opt out should be able to bring their authentic selves to Jewish life.” [End]