'As a Jewish woman who opposes circumcision, I often get this kind of conversational preempt from friends and family. It's an occupational hazard of writing about such a highly-charged topic: people seem to think I'm looking for a fight.
In truth, I'm exhausted by the litany of pros and cons. Circumcision causes pain (just look at this list of benefits!). Foreskin tissue is erogenous (circumcision is more hygienic!). It's unethical to make this decision for an infant (parents have to make decisions about their children's health all the time!). And on and on -- a veritable Wimbleton of volleys back and forth, each of which is but a few Google clicks away from support or refutation.
How I'd love for us to change the conversation so that instead of arguing points, we focus on the Jewish families who struggle to navigate their way through this complex issue.
Clearly, families who say yes to circumcision will have support from the community. But what happens to those who decide to keep their sons "intact" (i.e., not to circumcise them)?
One would think these nonconformists might be shunned for turning their backs on a practice so deeply ingrained in the Jewish psyche. But evidence suggests that such families are accepted in, and integrated into, Jewish settings. Indeed, as I reported in a recent article in j. weekly, Reform rabbis say these families are welcome in their synagogues, preschools and bar mitzvah classes.
Like it or not, in the contemporary American landscape, identification as Jewish has become optional. Families need a reason to turn toward Judaism. We should be sending a clear message of inclusion to all families, regardless of their sons' circumcision status.
'An 18-year-old mother was arrested on suspicion of trying to suffocate her baby in an Orlando hospital room.
Brenna Elise Winter, of St. Cloud, was arrested on charges of attempted first-degree murder, battery by strangulation and aggravated child abuse.
According to authorities, an alarm was triggered in the hospital because of the child's condition, and a video monitoring system in the room showed Winter beside her baby with her hands inside the crib. Nurses checked on the baby, but hours later the child had to be revived when the alarm again sounded, court documents stated.
Investigators said Winter admitted to trying to suffocate her daughter because Winter wanted attention. She also said she once placed her finger down her daughter's throat, scratching the girl's mouth.'
'A 60-year-old California woman who has been involved in a series of “neighborhood disputes” is jailed on three felony charges after allegedly spraying a “poisonous weed killer” in the face and eyes of a seven-year-old who lives in the same condominium complex.
Julie Rodenhuis was arrested Wednesday evening after cops were dispatched to the development to investigate a reported assault on a child.
'Following a rise in reports of sexual assaults at colleges, a growing number of alleged assailants — including some at area schools — are pushing back, saying they have been falsely accused amid the heightened awareness sweeping the nation’s campuses.
The suspected assailants —who have been put on probation at the schools, suspended, or expelled — are appealing the disciplinary rulings and filing lawsuits asserting that college administrators unfairly rushed to judgment in their cases. They say the decisions have damaged their reputation, disrupted their education, and in some cases cost them thousands of dollars in lost tuition, legal expenses, and other costs.
Some accused students have also claimed campus officials violated Title IX, the very federal gender-discrimination law that many alleged victims have cited in federal complaints to argue that administrators did not take their allegations seriously or failed to mete out adequate punishment.
In one recent case at Brandeis University, a student found responsible by the school for sexually assaulting and harassing a classmate — his ex-boyfriend — has hired a lawyer and has appealed the ruling. He says he also plans to file a Title IX complaint against the school.
Accused students at Brown University, the University of Michigan, Occidental College, Xavier University, Swarthmore College, and Delaware State University are also fighting back, according to media reports and advocates following the cases.'
'Like you, I’ve had many dating missteps. From the guy who laughed at me because I’d never played "Grand Theft Auto," to the guy who pinched my cheeks and kept calling me Babyface, to the guy who knocked over a bottle of red wine on the white sundress that I’d bought specifically for the date (RIP white sundress).
I thought that I’d experienced the full gauntlet until I found myself on a date with a Men’s Rights Activist. MRAs, as they’re known throughout the blogosphere, have one unifying thread: a deeply ingrained disdain for women. Some want to punish women, others want women to solely pursue domestic interests like cooking -- sewing and the like -- while others just want to bang and discard as many women as possible.
The date went well. Some smiles, some flirty touches –- your standard, mildly nervous, I-think-I-might-be-attracted-to-you kind of first date. He repeatedly made mention of his dislike of "females who played games." To which I repeatedly, albeit naively, responded that it was a real date and not a game. At one point, he described himself as a "red pill."
At the time, I was unfamiliar with the vernacular. After he said it, I went to the bathroom and Googled it. I came up with hits for The Red Pill sub Reddit and read a few posts. I found out that "red pill" is MRA-speak for men who have seen the truth of devious female ways. The phrase is taken from "The Matrix" films. You know, take the blue pill or take the red pill. Stay in happy oblivion or see "the truth."
I realize this isn't ironclad evidence of his MRA status, but I have never heard that "red pill" terminology used elsewhere. You can read a summary of the woman-hating movement here.
'Recently, I was a keynote speaker at an event promoting women leaders. There were about 200 women in attendance, and maybe 15 to 20 men. A woman who took to the stage before I spoke had a PhD, and the expectation of her topic was high. She was very accredited but she didn’t have the ability to observe the men in the audience nor respect them. Observing the male participants was logical to me for obvious reasons, especially seeing that a few of them were program sponsors, which this woman knew along with the entire audience.
During her spiel, she put women on a pedestal and downplayed men as if they were not a part of the equation. She made men the primary target of several offensive jokes. It was a clear case of male-bashing. She pitted women against men and capitalized on some of their so-called inadequacies. It was not a gutsy move. It was a stupid move.
It was stupid because she lowered the value of women leaders. It was stupid because leadership is an inclusive agenda. Men are just as much a part of it as women. We need men to assist us on the journey. I can’t count how many former male supervisors helped me become a better leader through training and coaching techniques. Often, men contributed to my career quicker than some women.
When women bash men it hurts everyone. It changes how we view men. That distorted view bleeds over into how we see and treat our brothers, husbands, sons and fathers. Our image is tainted with negativity and hypocrisy.
'A conservative women’s group is trying to debunk the claim that one in five women is a victim of sexual assault in college.
The startling one-in-five statistic has become a rallying cry for campus judicial reform and entered the public lexicon through widespread dissemination by the media and the Obama Administration. Obama created a White House task force on campus sexual assault earlier this year, and Congress is currently considering proposals to combat sexual violence on campus.
At a Senate hearing Thursday, the one-in-five statistic was invoked in opening statements. Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, said that “sexual violence is pervasive” on many college campuses and James Moore, compliance manager in the Clery Act Compliance Division of the Education Department, said we are experiencing a “crisis of sexual assault” on campus. (The Clery Act, passed in 1990, requires colleges and universities to publish annual reports on security and crime statistics, as well as publish information about sexual assault policies and programs.)
But the Independent Women’s Forum, based in Washington, D.C., hosted a panel Thursday for about 100 people at The Fund for American Studies that questioned the validity of one-in-five figure.
“I do not believe that the one in five statistic is trustworthy,” said Christina Hoff Sommers, self-titled “factual feminist” and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “Inflated statistics lead to ineffective policies. Worse than that, they can breed panic and overreaction, and that’s what I think we have right now. I believe that the rape culture movement is fueled by exaggerated claims of victimization.”'
'A controversial men’s rights group has seen its permit to march in the Pride parade revoked just days before the event after a behind-the-scenes campaign to get them removed.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), which bills itself as a “men’s issues” organization, learned earlier this week that they would not be allowed to march in Sunday’s parade because some people felt their work went against the values of the 10-day LGBTQ celebration. CAFE marched in the parade last year.
Pride executive director Kevin Beaulieu was vague on Friday about the reasons for CAFE’s exclusion.
“There has been some concern expressed about the activities and purpose of CAFE and whether they actually match the intent they express,” he said. Asked to be more specific, Beaulieu replied, “I’m really not going to go into that.”
CAFE has faced criticism for its association with anti-feminist websites like A Voice for Men and for apparently misrepresenting itself to the Canada Revenue Agency in its successful charity-status application last year. In that case, CAFE listed women’s groups as potential members of panel discussions who denied having been approached by the organization.'
'At what was billed as the first annual international conference on men’s issues, feminists were ruining everything.
“I call it the evil empire,” Erin Pizzey, the British founder of one of the first domestic violence shelters and a staunch anti-feminist, said Friday, borrowing Ronald Reagan’s description of the Soviet Union. “We need to go after them. We cannot allow this to continue. And if we don’t stop it, I don’t see a future for marriage, for love, or for anything.”
“We need to name names,” Pizzey said, “and first on my list is Hillary Clinton.” One of the few overtly partisan moments at the conference, it drew loud cheers and applause from the attendees.
Men’s rights activists have a long list of grievances. They say fathers have to navigate a family court system that unfairly privileges mothers in divorce, and that boys are falling behind in education. They worry about high unemployment among men and the fact that men are more likely to commit suicide. They argue that domestic and sexual violence against men is underplayed by the media, and that men are unfairly stereotyped as violent sexual predators. These are all fruits of a society where women are valued and protected, while men are not.
Many of the more than 100 attendees at the conference spoke of being prevented from seeing their children, or struggling financially in the aftermath of a divorce.
But those issues got short shrift from most of the speakers on the first full day of the conference Friday, hosted by A Voice For Men, an online hub for men’s rights activists founded by Paul Elam. What animated most of the speakers at the conference was feminism and how it needed to be defeated.
'After nearly 20 days on the lam, a woman has been arrested in connection with the killing of her wife, who was found dead in a San Carlos apartment earlier this month.
Tiffany Nowden-Vale, 39, was booked into the Las Colinas Detention Facility Tuesday night on a first-degree murder charge, San Diego police confirmed.
U.S. Marshals found Nowden-Vale at a home on Market Street after searching for her for the past three weeks – since her wife was found dead. Police have considered Nowden-Vale a person of interest-turned-suspect in the case.
On June 5, at around 6 p.m., Nowden-Vale’s wife, Russina Vale, 38, was found dead inside an apartment unit at the Villa De Flores complex in the 7700 block of Mission Gorge Road.
Investigators said Vale had suffered stab wounds to her upper body and was not able to survive her injuries.'
'For better or worse, personal relationships may account for why judges sometimes reach decisions at odds with their political views.
Researchers set out to test the effect of one relationship on judicial decisions: father and daughter. They found that judges who have daughters are more likely to rule in favor of women’s rights than those who don’t.
Maya Sen, a political scientist at the University of Rochester, and Adam Glynn, a government professor at Harvard, looked at 990 cases involving gender issues such as pregnancy discrimination. They evaluated 2,674 votes cast by 244 appeals court judges and found having at least one daughter increased the likelihood a judge ruled in favor of women’s rights in a gender-related case by 7 percent.
The difference is most pronounced with judges who have one child. If that child is a daughter, researchers found a 16 percent increase in the proportion of cases decided in favor of women’s rights. They found no added impact from having additional daughters.
Having a daughter made a bigger difference with conservative judges. Having a daughter had a more pronounced effect on judges appointed by Republican presidents, with an average 7 percent increase in the proportion of cases decided “in a feminist direction,” compared with a 4 percent increase for judges appointed by a Democratic president — judges whose decisions were already more likely to be left-leaning.'
'Separated mothers must no longer get away with ‘Catherine Tate justice’ that prevents fathers from seeing their children, a senior judge said.
No mother should be able to ignore court orders, stop a father ever meeting his children, and then tell him ‘Am I bothered?’, Appeal Court judge Lord Justice McFarlane[link added] said.
He said that radical fathers’ groups were right to complain that men were often wrongly shut out of their children’s lives.
The warning from Sir Andrew McFarlane, one of the country’s most experienced family judges, follows a series of reforms earlier this year designed to speed up cases which decide on how separated parents will share the care of their children.
It follows years of failure to enforce orders giving fathers contact with their children. In around 4,000 cases a year fathers go back to court repeatedly to try to get access to their children because mothers defy the courts.
Judges have rarely fined or imprisoned intransigent mothers because most believe that to punish the mother would harm the children.
At one point the last Labour government considered, and then dropped, the idea of making disobedient mothers wear electronic tags.
Sir Andrew said in a speech that he hoped the reforms introduced this spring will compel more mothers to stick to the rules.'
'Recently Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement, issued a Dear Colleague Letter (below), announcing the release of its guide: Changing a Child Support Order. National Parents Organization is reproducing her letter below with links to resources provided. It is a thorough guide to changing child support orders with information for every state. There is a particular emphasis on those who are or have been incarcerated. It is a good place for every parent to start who is paying or receiving child support.
In addition to this, National Parents Organization continues to expand its Information Resources on our website. Within this section are: Forms and Documents and Frequently Asked Questions. In Forms and Documents you will find links to the forms used in every state for divorce, alimony, and child custody. In the Frequently Asked Questions, we have begun to post and answer many of the questions our family law attorneys tell us they answer most often. Within this is information on shared parenting that parents may use in their cases and that our volunteers may use in their lobbying in their state.'
'A Philadelphia cop who allegedly pushed her own children to fight other kids - and who, on at least one occasion, allegedly jumped in a fight to punch a 14-year-old girl - was arrested yesterday on numerous assault and child endangerment charges, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
Officer Tamika Gross' propensity for fighting has twice been detailed by the Daily News, once in 2009 when she got into a street fight with another woman while she was on duty and once in 2013, when she allegedly brought her 16-year-old suspended daughter back to Lincoln High School to fight a 14-year-old girl over a boy.
In the latter instance, which prosecutors said was caught on cell phone video, Gross is accused of jumping into the fight when her daughter started losing and punching her daughter's rival in the eye - twice.'
Article here. So much for patriarchy theory. Excerpt:
'Convention has it that women are the gentler sex.
But when it comes to relationships they are more likely than men to be controlling and aggressive, a study claims.
Increasing numbers of women can now be classed as ‘intimate terrorists’, meaning that they are verbally and physically violent towards a partner.
Psychologists at the University of Cumbria questioned 1,104 young men and women using a scale of behaviour which ranged from shouting and insulting to pushing, beating and using weapons.
They discovered that women were ‘significantly’ more likely to be verbally and physically aggressive to men than vice versa.
They concluded that violence was linked to controlling behaviour such as checking up on partners and persuading them not to see certain friends.
Study leader Dr Elizabeth Bates said: ‘The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last ten to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too.’
She said scientists may have to think again about the reasons for male violence against women, which previous studies said arose from ‘patriarchal values’ in which men are motivated to seek to control women’s behaviour, using violence if necessary.
Dr Bates, who presented her findings at the annual meeting of the forensic division of the British Psychological Society, in Glasgow, said: ‘It wasn’t just pushing and shoving. Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon.’
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