It’s All a Matter of Religion

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m Jewish but my wife, who is seven months pregnant, isn’t, which I know means that, technically, our baby won’t be either. We’ve agreed to raise our child as a Jew, but will we have to convert her?

Wow, you’ve certainly hit on a complicated topic. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Whether you have to convert your child or not depends mostly on whether you’re Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox (there are other movements within Judaism, but these are the big three).

You’re absolutely correct that because your wife isn’t Jewish, your baby won’t be considered Jewish either—but that’s only true for the Orthodox and Conservative movements. If you’re Reform, the fact that you are Jewish will be good enough—as long as Judaism is the child’s only religion and he or she makes some kind of public demonstration of Jewishness later in life (having a Bar- or Bat-Mitzvah, for example).

Interestingly, the one area where all three movements are pretty much in agreement (a very, very rare occurrence) is when it comes to adoption. If you were adopting a child you knew was born to a non-Jewish mother, the baby would have to be converted to be considered Jewish—even if both you and your wife were Jewish.

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This Might Hurt: American Academy of Pediatrics Will Change Its Policy on Circumcision

In what is will undoubtedly cause quite a stir, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will change its policy on infant circumcision of boys, acknowledging that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. [Read more…]

Reducing prostate cancer and HPV

Full disclosure: this post is about circumcision. Every time I write something on the topic I get bombarded with email from people on both sides who insist that my position is wrong (that obviously means that there is some disagreement as to what my position actually is).  I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to have a discussion about circumcision is like trying to have one about the death penalty or gun control or paper vs. plastic: there’s no way anyone’s going to change their mind.

So I’m just going to give you the politics-free facts about a recent study that found that circumcision may lower a man’s risk of contracting prostate cancer later in life. The study was conducted by highly qualified researchers at a well-respected cancer institute and published in a prestigious, peer-reviewed journal.

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