13 Old Wants Bris, US Supreme Court Says “Foreskin Stays”?

An interesting case below. Once a boy reaches 13 – his father has no more obligations over his religious observance. If a boy is 13 and wants a bris, then he can get one – without his father’s consent according to Judaism. The mother, again, according to halacha, has no more say once the boy hits 13. If a child can get an abortion without parental consent in some states, can a child get a bris without parental consent?

UPDATE – My good friend Rabbi Zalman Berkowitz at miyan this morning reminded me that a conversion is in almost all cases not complete without the bris. In other words, the Supreme Court is preventing the kid from his religious aspirations by not ruling in favor of the father. It is not going too far out on a limb to come to the conclusion that this case prevents freedom of religion, and is an invasion of privacy. The case now goes back to an Oregon judge to determine whether the boy wants to undergo the procedure.

Supreme Court rejects Oregon circumcision case

By The Associated Press PORTLAND — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an Oregon dispute between a father who wants to circumcise his 13-year-old son against the wishes of the boy’s mother.

PORTLAND — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an Oregon dispute between a father who wants to circumcise his 13-year-old son against the wishes of the boy’s mother.

The case now goes back to an Oregon trial judge to determine whether the boy wants to undergo the procedure.

James Boldt converted to Judaism and says his son wants to be circumcised for religious reasons.

But his ex-wife, Lia Boldt, claims that her son is afraid to tell his father that he does not want to undergo the procedure.

The Boldts married in the early 1990s. Lia Boldt filed for divorce in 1998 and initially had custody of their son before James Boldt gained custody.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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Posted on October 6, 2008, in Cross-posted from Jewlicious.com, Judaism, News and politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Please don’t mischaracterize. This ruling sends the case back to the lower state court, as ordered by the Oregon Supreme Court.

    Their order was for the lower court to ASK THE BOY what he wants. Until now he HAS NOT testified. Only the father claims he wants the circumcision. The mother – whose word we have no reason to weight less than the father’s – says the boy does not want to be circumcised.

    The court upheld THE BOY’S religious freedom.

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