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In the name of tradition

Limassol notes by Janice Ruffle

All cultures are bound by good and bad traditions. Try being a “good” Jew living in a pork “pig-out” culture.
Traditions are not always just culture based, but gender-based, too.

A fine example is male circumcision. For those who don’t know – it’s a procedure stripping Jewish male babies of their foreskin. All in the name of tradition.

Oh how the word “tradition” reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof!

Anyway, reverting back with some more information from “The Good Jew Guide”.

Circumcision is performed by a Mohel (a Jew trained to perform circumcision). It is carried out on the eighth day of life in a ceremony called a Brit Milah (or Bris Milah – colloquially simply “Bris”). The term means “Covenant of Circumcision” in Hebrew.

According to Jewish law, the foreskin should be buried after a Brit Milah. Human cremation is rare in the Jewish faith – even for small parts of the body!

Male circumcision is compulsory in the Jewish culture. When circumcision is performed for religious reasons, it usually symbolises faith in God.

There have been many debates that circumcision is barbaric. Medically the benefits – when performed under appropriate circumstances, have recorded positive effects on health for men.

If this is the case – why did our “maker” create the “accessory” for males in the first place?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM has consigned generations of women to a lifetime of pain. Let alone, a lack of control of their own bodily integrity and sexuality. Plus the health risks are commonly high, including death in some cases.

The religious tradition involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
FGM is an infliction of unnecessary (being the operative) pain on young innocent girls.

Taboo surrounding the topic has impeded women to freely discuss their experiences of the harm and suffering caused.

Parent versus tradition

I was encouraged to read that a Gambian woman, Ndyandin Dawara, recently made a momentous decision. She decided she would not subject her daughter to FGM.

She challenged tradition with the support of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP). The advocacy group is supported by the UN Trust Fund to end violence against women.

Why create all these human rights laws, when tradition often outranks them?

Conclusively, always be grateful for the smaller things in life.

And I strongly believe we should have the right to protect what our parents gave to us by nature alone.

The power of tradition needs to be controlled and not allowed to outweigh a human’s right to freedom of choice.

Off the soapbox now – there’s a bacon butty just arrived – Kosher of course!

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