Your Own Man: a letter to my son about circumcision

Jackson Gillman © 2004

Point Independence, Massachusetts
July 4, 2004

My dearest son, Avery Elazar (aka Elazar ben Yaakov),

When I cut your umbilical cord, I said out loud -- "You are your own man."

I hadn't prepared that little pronouncement; it came out spontaneously. Though you were freed of your physical tether to your mother, my statement wasn’t that profound. Since then however, I've pondered its broader significance.

I was born into a family with deep religious roots. Part of their tradition is to circumcise male progeny on their eighth day...

Susan, 8 day-old Avery Elazar and his newly planted apple tree.

[In deference to what is made publicly accessible, you can email if you'd like to read the middle of this three page letter which includes some gravitas and much humor. Thank you very much for your interest and understanding. And if you're wondering about the epilogue, here's how the letter ends:]

...If my culture still wants a blood offering to be made, it was made in your birthing. We have taken not just the symbol of that, but the tangible placental bridge between you and your mother, and planted it with an apple tree planted in your honor on your eighth day. May you both grow forth and be fruitful. And if you have even more pleasure in doing so than I, you can thank your non-conforming pop. L'chaim. With all my love and best wishes for you forever,

Dad (aka Yaakov ben Elazar)

One year later.

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