Matters of Medical Identity

Framing and content advisory

The pictures in the video are from my circumcision ceremony in 1985.

The people in the pictures are my parents, my grandparents, the rabbi performing the act, and some other people I don’t know.

I didn’t ask for their consent for featuring them in my music video because they didn’t ask mine before they called the rabbi and organised the catering.

The video was shared with my family and no one raised strong objections.

I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with the idea of circumcision.

I am just just baffled by the ceremonial context.

This song was written over dinner.

My partner and I shared a meal with a friend who was pregnant.

Our friend was curious about the pros and cons of circumcision, and wanted my Jewish perspective. I couldn’t offer her much, as i had no recollection of the event, so we turned to the internet for guidance. The wise internet pointed us to an Australian Government website

“Current health advice in Australia does not support routine circumcision for non-medical reasons. However, it is considered reasonable for parents to think about the risks and benefits of the procedure in their own son’s situation when deciding whether or not to circumcise their child.

If you choose to circumcise your son, it’s important to make sure the procedure is performed safely by a properly trained professional.

Here are some questions you may like to ask your doctor or surgeon:

  • How do you perform the procedure?
  • What type of pain relief will you use?
  • How do I care for my son after the procedure?
  • How will you manage any complications?

The government say it’s not a great idea but reasonable…

I don’t believe that this was the line of advice the Israeli government promoted in the eighties. Or still today.

The dinner was over but the conversation was not. I tuned out and picked up the guitar.

We reconvened a couple of weeks later and compared notes after interviewing family members.

My mum sent me the photos.

The expressions on these people faces is everything but ‘reasonable’.

After I stopped laughing, I was just baffled.

The anaesthetist was a family member who dipped my dummy in wine and shoved it in my mouth.

My mum also said there was another thing involved – the rabbi sucks the blood through a tube.

She said these things with an undertone of disbelief, and added that today it is much more common to do it in a medical facility and by a medical professional.

Luckily, my procedure went well and the only scar I have is the mental one.

Our pregnant friend came back with intel from the in-laws and her mum. They grew up in australia and overseas with the backdrop of Christianity. Their circumcisions was for social conformity reasons.

After collating the data from the wise internet and interviews, our friend decided

– She was going to have a baby girl.

I recorded the song for her and decided I’m going to keep the take with the dissonant vocal harmony because the whole topic is a bit dissonant.