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Circumcision derision

Call me cynical, but whenever a stalwart advocate of infant circumcision toots his own horn (“Circumcision is not only Jewish it’s good for you, op-ed, Jan. 4), I can’t help but wonder how many serial circumcisers (obstetricians, mohels and pediatricians) have invested in both “The American Circumcision Industry” and “The Circumcision Clamp Industry”? Talk about a cash cow.

“Thank God for gullible and naive parents,” these (benevolent?) charlatans might just say to one another.

Perhaps this is TMI, but I was (well circumcised) at birth, and in the mid-1980s, I contracted an STD — no “evil” foreskin to blame there. Gee, I hope I don’t shock the American medical-industrial complex with this information.

Abandoning an ancient tradition or cultural habit will never bring an end to a cataclysmic event. However, any infant that escapes an abusive practice should indeed be considered a David-and-Goliath moment.

Paul Zuppan   |   Walnut Creek


Obama’s true colors

President Obama has nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. Hagel continuously has railed against the “Jewish lobby.” He was one of a handful of senators who refused to sign a letter designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In 2000, under a wave of suicide bombings, Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a letter in support of Israel.

This nomination perhaps gives some insight as to how our president truly regards Israel. But will this nomination make a difference with Jews who so fervently supported Mr. Obama in November? They may send letters of protest to Mr. Obama, but I would bet the same 70 percent of Jews would vote for him again. And even more telling, Obama knows this. No wonder he nominated Hagel.

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo


Muskets vs. semiautomatics

The Second Amendment says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What is meant by “arms”? One could reasonably assume that at the adoption of the Bill of Rights, “arms” meant muskets and pistols.

Nations have signed arms control treaties. These “arms” include nuclear and chemical weapons — weapons of mass destruction. A chemical weapon is covered under the term “arms.” Clearly the Founding Fathers didn’t intend for citizens to have nuclear or chemical weapons. By similar reasoning, an AK-47 or any automatic/semiautomatic gun was not the original intent.

Since assault rifles and automatic guns do not give the hunted animal a “sporting“ chance to survive, limiting all guns to the single-shot type should not infringe hunters’ rights.

Voting for gun registration and background checks looks good on a politician’s voting record, but doesn’t really solve the problem. The Connecticut guns were registered to the killer’s mother, who would have passed background checks.

Our lawmakers and judges need to go back to the original intent of the Second Amendment. They should definitely rule that nuclear, chemical and automatic guns are not covered.

Rich Stiebel   |   Palo Alto


Gun ownership is not a Jewish value

I would like to ask Robert D. Altabet (“Do we need greater gun control,” op-ed Jan. 11) about those Jews who live in countries that ban personal possession of firearms: are they bad Jews? Do they scorn the Torah? Do they disrespect God? Are those countries anti-Semitic for denying Jews their “ethical obligations”?

Jewish tradition is one of rational thought and progress, not of continued bloodlust based on antiquated notions. The connection between Jewish values and gun ownership is non-existent.

Gerald Klein   |   Albany