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Marked in Your FleshCircumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America$
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Leonard B. Glick

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176742

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019517674X.001.0001

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 “Deep Feelings of Nervousness”

 “Deep Feelings of Nervousness”

Circumnavigating the Taboo Topic

Chapter:
(p.241) 9 “Deep Feelings of Nervousness”
Source:
Marked in Your Flesh
Author(s):

Leonard B. Glick

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019517674X.003.0010

While some Jewish Americans have criticized ritual circumcision in magazine articles and proposed substituting a rite without genital cutting, others have defended it passionately, insisting that it is an essential component of Jewish tradition and identity. Jewish feminists seem unable to develop a forthright critique of the obvious male-centered nature of ritual circumcision; this is even reflected in children’s books portraying circumcisions. Jewish-American fiction, by such authors as Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud, again reveals underlying perplexity with the role of circumcision in contemporary Jewish identity. Television sitcoms repeat the theme of Jewish discomfort when portraying infant circumcision, while programs dealing with adult circumcision are characterized by outright denigration of the foreskin.

Keywords:   Jewish-American magazines, ritual circumcision, Jewish feminists, Jewish-American fiction, television sitcoms

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