Saturday, May 21, 2016

This is Actually Really Important

When I first saw this, and the notation that atheists will now be protected under a religious freedom act, I thought, "That's a funny joke."

But in reality, it suggests that no one can be persecuted for their beliefs, or their choice to not believe.

More importantly, it means that anti-circumcision people who persecute mohels can be prosecuted.

I'm all for it.

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/house-passes-bill-protecting-circumcision-ritual-slaughter-religious-freedoms

Washington — A bill unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would extend religious protections to advocates of circumcision and ritual slaughter as well as atheists, addressing what its sponsors describe as an increase in religious persecution in recent years.
The bill, passed Monday, would broaden the definition of “violations of religious freedom” in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to include the persecution of advocates of male circumcision or ritual animal slaughter. Atheists would become a new protected class.
The measure, which moves to the Senate for consideration, was named for retired Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a longtime champion of human rights who authored the 1998 law.
“The world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom, a crisis that continues to create millions of victims; a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace; a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China and sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authored the bill, said in a statement.
There have been increasing calls in recent years in northern European countries for an end to circumcision and ritual slaughter, spurred in part by anti-Muslim hostility, U.S. government and European Jewish officials have said.
The bill’s tier system for how well or poorly countries protect religious freedom would be similar to the one used in the annual State Department report on human trafficking. That report is influential, and countries seeking the good graces of the United States strive to improve their ranking by cracking down on the practice.
Smith is the chairman of the House subcommittee on human rights, and as a co-chairman of the Helsinki Committee, the congressional panel that monitors human rights overseas, has made the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe a focus.
Smith’s office, announcing the passage of the bill, headlined the statement “Combating Persecution of Christians and Anti-Semitism,” although many of its protections would extend in the current climate to moderate Sunni Muslims and non-Sunni Muslim sects in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the bill’s lead Democratic sponsor, said in the same statement that the bill would “better address the religious freedom and violent extremism problems being experienced in the 21st century.”
The bill integrates the 1998 law’s protections into U.S. national security priorities, mandating that the ambassador at large for religious freedom – currently Rabbi David Saperstein, a veteran Reform movement leader — report directly to the secretary of state. It also adds new requirements for presidential reporting to Congress on religious freedom violations and training for diplomats in identifying violations of religious freedoms.

Read more at http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/house-passes-bill-protecting-circumcision-ritual-slaughter-religious-freedoms#GxKU6Wx8pbXOw5lZ.99

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tools of the Trade VI - Forceps


Of course there are different kinds of forceps!  (Why are you thinking of these ?)
This is not a bris instrument

These forceps (the ones I use) look more like large tweezers to most people - and that's what they are.

Some people might use it to grab skin they need to contend or deal with in the scheme of bandaging.

I use them as the sterile go-between from my hands, to pick up or move sterile instruments or
bandages when I'm setting things up before I've put gloves on.

Because a bris takes places in stages - prep, circumcision, checking baby afterwards - there is a lot of shifting between gloves and sterility to non-sterility. As a result, there are times when it is helpful to have an extension of the hand whose tip touches nothing but sterile items, while its handle comes in contact with a clean-but-not-sterile hand.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tools of the Trade V - Hemostats and Scissors


Straight Hemostat
I know, I know. They all look like scissors. And while one of them certainly IS a pair of scissors (see below), I assure you that the others ones are not cutting implements. Or instruments, for that matter.

So what are they for?

The straight hemostat is the key ingredient that allows for this form of bris to take place. Its job is to grab the foreskin and the membrane beneath it at the same time so the circumcision can take place in one-step.
Blunt edged scissors
Bent Hemostat















The bent hemostat and the blunt scissors are sometimes used, to remove the "tzitzin ha'm'akvin" - the extra membrane, or the inexact skin that may have resulted from the bris. This is not specifically the mohel's fault or the result of a job poorly-done, as much as it is just the circumstances and the reality. (Sometimes it might be the mohel's fault, but he is taking the opportunity to fix it in a manner that he can). Why blunt? So it doesn't poke or stab the baby - our goal is foreskin and membrane removal, nothing more.

Remember that the mohel's job is to produce an as-beautiful-as-possible circumcision. And he does not have the benefit of the privacy of the operating room to do that. This is why some cases produce the need for the two-step process, which is probably better presented as "making things pretty."

Simply put, these are primarily the back-up instruments the mohel carries in his bag-of-tricks, which come in handy sometimes or often.

Of course, there are mohels who will claim to never use them. They are either VERY expert mohels, or they are not sharing everything about themselves. :)