Joining the tribe: adult circumcision among immigrant men in Israel and its traumatic aftermath
tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13691058.2021.1879272Neonatal male circumcision is closely tied to Jewish identity and is socially normative in Israel. Soon after the mass arrival of secular, uncircumcised Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the state sponsored mass circumcision campaigns for adolescents and adult men enabling them to join the Jewish collective, socially and religiously. Some two decades later, these men break the silence exposing their traumatic experiences in the wake of this body-altering surgery. This paper builds on the narratives of these men, belonging to Generation 1.5 of Russian Israelis, emerging in online forums, media features, live events and personal interviews. Driven by social pressure and the need to belong, most young men (and their parents) consented to the operation without proper counselling and unaware of its ramifications. Men share their intimate memories of the rapid surgical procedure, painful recuperation, and their belated regrets, both aesthetic and sexual. The willingness to expose their lingering trauma signals evolving concepts of masculinity and vulnerability among these former Soviet men. Their voices join the local and international movement opposing medically-unnecessary genital surgeries of any kind – on men, women and intersex people.
§1631d, die offene Wunde im Fleisch des Rechtsstaates