Milah is a fundamental Jewish tradition and practice. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are involved in many aspects of this – supporting families, performing Milah themselves, as guides and mentors to non-medical mohelim, helping with training and regulation, ensuring safety of the child, and handlIng complications should they arise.
The attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and Answers provide some essential background.
There are several organisations that are involved in this. Milah UK (which arose out of a committee of the Board of Deputies, chaired in the 1990s by the late Dr Lotte Newman) documents, communicates and defends. It was formed in 2012, chaired by Prof David Katz and Dr Simon Hochhauser; current chairs are Prof Katz and Mr Jonathan Arkush. The Initiation Society provides mohelim, and have recently adopted revised guidelines drafted by a committee chaired by Prof Laurence Lovat. The current Medical Officer is Dr Joseph Spitzer. Dr Joshua Plaut has written a summary document about the Association of Reform and Liberal Mohelim’s approach.
The General Medical Council has considered the question of Milah, and have summarised the current UK professional regulatory position in their documents “Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice” (published March 2013) from which the relevant clauses can be accessed here, and “0-18 years: Guidance for all Doctors” (published 2007, republished 2013) from which the relevant clauses can be accessed here.
The Family Courts have also considered the question of Milah, and the then President of these Courts, Sir James Munby, ruled that a male child does not need to be taken into care to prevent his parents from having him circumcised. The full judgment can be found here.