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The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain

Daniel Appleby

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 45, 2013 The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain DANIEL APPLEBY In February 1895, the British medical periodical, The Lancet, reported "some interesting letters" in a recent edition of the New York Medical RecordThe correspondence related to an increase in the number of deaths of baby boys in New York after Jewish circumcision. Letter writers attributed this increase to the growth of the city's Jewish population and to the practices of unhy gienic and incompetent mohelim, Jewish ritual circumcisers. The Lancet observed "that in this country we seldom hear of such accidents." This state of affairs was not to continue and within a few years the London Jewish Chronicle was carrying readers' correspondence on the activities of mohelim in Britain under the caption "The Circumcision Scandal". During 1902-5, a spate of news reports on inquests into deaths after cir cumcision created concern and embarrassment among British Jews. The reports provoked the British Jewish establishment, led by Dr Hermann Adler, the Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogue,2 to address the inadequacies of traditional mohelim by establishing an effective system of non-statutory regulation using existing communal institutions. In this project, British Jews were supported by secular officials. The story of the "Circumcision Scandal" has never been told, which is surprising, as it is a communal success story. That Jews were allowed to self-regulate on this issue was also a reflection of British attitudes at the time towards the country's Jewish minority and of a change in the climate of opinion among British Gentiles towards the practice of circumcision itself. Britain, like the United States, was impacted by the great wave of westward migration of Eastern European Jews which took place in the nineteenth century and which accelerated after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. In 1914, London was exceeded by only New York and Chicago in the number of Eastern European Jewish immigrants it contained.3 Between 1881 1 The Lancet, 9 Feb. 1895,362. The contemporary spellings of moheland mohelim have been retained for this article. 2 Its then full title was The United Congregations of the British Empire. 3 Lloyd P. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England i8yo-~igi4, 3rd ed. (London and Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2009), 16-17.</page><page sequence="2">Daniel Appleby and 1900, London's Jewish population rose from 45,000 to 135,000 and by 1914 had reached 180,ooo.4 Most of these Jewish Londoners lived in the East End, the densely settled Jewish quarter that lay to the east of London's his toric centre. The influx of immigrants led to an increase in anti-Jewish feeling within the host community culminating in legislation to curb immigration, the Aliens Act 1905.5 It was against this backdrop that "the Circumcision Scandal" played out. According to Jewish religious law, it is the duty of a Jewish father to ensure that his sons are circumcised.6 The purpose of this obligation is religious, although some Jewish sages maintained that there were other benefits.7 A father must carry out the circumcision himself or appoint a mohel to under take the task. The ritual, a brit milah, must take place on the eighth day after birth, even if that day is Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish calendar. Deaths from circumcision, an uncommon occurrence, were accepted as a consequence of the performance of the duty. Jewish law recognizes this risk by providing that if two previous sons have died as a result of circumcision then a third son need not be circumcised, but will nonetheless be deemed circumcised for religious purposes.8 The mohelim serving British Jewry in 1900 were generally foreign-born and foreign-trained, having learned the religious laws governing the ceremony and its surgical aspects by apprenticeship to a practising mohel, who would in due course certify their competence. They were also almost all part-timers. It was common among provincial communities for the chazan (cantor) of a synagogue to combine his cantorial duties with those of mohel. A congregation might require a number of part-time communal functions to be performed and it made sense for these to be bundled up and carried out by some syna gogue official other than its busy minister. The combination of the roles of chazan, shochet (ritual slaughterer) and mohel was common and sometimes other functions were added, such as choir master or synagogue secretary or school teacher. Although a chazan in a British synagogue was usually less learned than the minister, the performance of additional communal roles Todd M. Endelman, The Jews of Britain 1656-2000 (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 130; Geoffrey Alderman, London Jewry and London Politics i88ç-iç86 (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), 5, 12. Endelman, Jews of Britain 1656-2000, 156-61. Circumcision is a mark of the eternal covenant between God and Abraham's descendants (Genesis 17:1-14, Leviticus 12:1-3). Moses Maimonides, in the 12th century, wrote that the best reason for circumcision was that it counteracted excessive lust (The Guide to the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlander [1904; Bibliobazaar, USA, 2008], part 3, ch. 49, 241-2). See also David Biale, Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2007), 95-6. The Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. Isidore Singer (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1925), vol. 4,101.</page><page sequence="3">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain •5Î3 Plate i The Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Dr Hermann Adler, cartoon by "Spy" (Leslie Ward) for Vanity Fair, 1904. Adler was "deeply grieved" by the facts of the Lipman Fisher inquest.</page><page sequence="4">Daniel Appleby might increase a chazan's earnings to a level equivalent to those of his senior colleague. In Newcastle upon Tyne in 1894, for example, the city's main syn agogue paid its minister and its chazan /shochet/mohel the same basic salary of £130 per annum.9 Congregations, such as Newcastle's, were concerned to have the creden tials of job candidates who applied to serve as a community's mohel verified by a certificate from the Chief Rabbi. Such a certificate would therefore be an essential requirement for an appointment.10 However, one has the impres sion that these certificates were easily given, at least before 1886.11 In the provinces a salaried chazan who also worked as a community's mohel usually made no charge to families for undertaking a brit, although he might expect a gratuity. In London, it was less common for a synagogue to require that its chazan act as the congregation's mohel. This enabled some salaried chazanim, who had also trained as mohelim, to operate a sideline in carrying out circumcisions for congregants or others at a fee. London also possessed a number of religiously observant Jewish doctors who performed ritual circum cisions, usually for middle-class Jewish families. Finally, there were a small number of practitioners in the metropolis for whom circumcision was their principal occupation and who advertised in the Jewish press or promoted themselves in other ways.12 The economic basis of the activities of mohelim is unclear because the market for their service was not transparent. Some mohelim were members of the Initiation Society, a charitable body which both assisted poor families in connection with circumcision and published a list of authorized mohelim whom it encouraged the Jewish public to use. These operators were not per mitted to advertise nor were they supposed to charge a fee, although they could receive a "donation" in lieu of the time and trouble they had expended. Many mohelim were not members of the society and one reason for this was in order to be able to advertise, but none seem to have quoted their prices. The question of price is important because, quite understandably, it seems to have been the primary criterion in the selection of mohelim by the immi grant poor. Lists of Initiation Society mohelim were available in synagogues, but the evidence available points to the existence of a class of traditional mohelim, operating chiefly in the East End, who could undercut the prices of their Initiation Society counterparts. ' Tyne and Wear Archives, Newcastle upon Tyne, cash book (C.NC65/9/1) and ledger (C.NC65/10/1) of Leazes Park Road Synagogue. 1 Job advertisement by Newcastle synagogue for "gentleman to act as mohel, shochet &amp; hazan ... must be certified by the Chief Rabbi", Jewish Chronicle (hereafter, jfC), 16 March 1894, P- 3 JC, 12 Feb. 1886, p. 12. These other ways included flyers in the form of postcards, a 1904 example of which, distributed by J. Woolf, "Plotzker Specialist Mohel", is preserved in London Metropolitan Archives (lma) ACC/2805/03/01/021.</page><page sequence="5">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain So what did London mohelim charge for a minor operation capable of being performed in less than half a minute? Some insight is provided by a letter to the. Jewish Chronicle in 190313 in which an indignant correspondent relates that an unnamed, medically qualified Initiation Society mohel had quoted him five guineas (£5-25p) for a brit, when the most the correspondent was pre pared to pay was a guinea (£i.05p). This suggests that a guinea may have been the going rate charged to a middle-class family. Few Jewish manual workers could afford a guinea for a brit, however; it was more than a week's earnings for many of them. At this level, mohelim probably charged what a family could afford. Evidence from a 1903 coroner's inquest14 indicates that this could be as little as half a crown (£0.12.5p). Another source of remuner ation, or so critics of non-Initiation Society mohelim claimed, arose from the practice of making collections for a charitable purpose after a brit, which the mohel undertook to deliver. Some mohelim, it was said, did not give a written receipt for the money in their custody so they could help themselves out of the sums collected.15 In 1900, the Chief Rabbi, Dr Hermann Adler, started to be pressed pub licly by members of the Jewish community in Britain to take steps to do some thing about the unhygienic practices of traditional mohelim. A Mr F. S. Cohen, whose grandson had died of blood poisoning after circumcision, went to see Adler to persuade him that circumcisions should only be conducted by suitably qualified doctors. He did not get the positive response for which he had hoped and wrote to tht Jewish Chronicle to bring the matter to the atten tion of the Jewish public.16 His comments evoked a supportive letter from a Dr Bernstein, who said that he had gone to see the Chief Rabbi two years before on the same issue.17 The secretary of the Initiation Society responded to Cohen's letter.18 Mohelim who were authorized by the society were required to carry out circumcisions "on strictly antiseptic principles", he explained. Further, although it may seem desirable to have only doctors carry out such operations, "practical difficulties stood in the way". These included the absence of surgically qualified mohelim in some provincial communities. Cohen was not satisfied and came back with an attack on the Initiation Society for being incapable of acting as an effective regulator.19 His views on circum cision were echoed by others, including "Provincial", an anonymous corre spondent, who told the newspaper: "Unfortunately I lost my little son from this cause [blood poisoning]. It seems that in the Provinces, the operation is 13 JC, 16 Jan. 1903, p. 9. 14 Jewish World (hereafter, JW), 9 Jan. 1903, pp. 288-9. 15 JC, 16 June 1893, p. 12. 16 JC, 22 June 1900, p. 9. 17 JC, 29 June 1900, p. 8. 18 Ibid. 19 JC, 6 July 1900, p. 8.</page><page sequence="6">Daniel Appleby Plate 2 Wynne Edwin Baxter ( 1844-1920), the East London coroner who in 1905 issued a general warning to mohelim after the Emanuel Harris inquest. performed mostly by Chazonim, who understand very little if anything of antiseptic surgery. I know, that although a basin, towel and water were pre pared for the Mohel who came to operate on my little son, they were never used and that he came into my house after operating on another child, and left it again without washing his hands."20 The practices and competence of traditional mohelim might have remained a low-level communal concern but for a report in the London Evening Standard on i February 1902. 'I he front-page story concerned an inquest that had taken place earlier that day on the death of Lipman Fisher, the ten-day old son of a Bethnal Green boot finisher. The inquest was held by Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for the Eastern District of London, whose jurisdiction encompassed the East End. Baxter, well known for his blunt questioning, was a solicitor of many interests and wide experience, including having conducted the inquests into most of the victims of Jack the Ripper.21 However, despite being responsible for East End inquests since 1886, this seems to have been the first death after circumcision he had ever investigated. The facts of the case were that after the baby's brit, the mohel, Simon Goldstein, had been unable to stop the child bleeding, even though he tried for three hours to do so. He was reluctant to call a doctor but, eventually, the baby's father slipped out without telling Goldstein and went to the London Hospital to get help. The baby was then taken to hospital, where he died the next day. The coroner rebuked Goldstein for not having called a doctor when the child started to haemorrhage and the jury returned a verdict of "death by misadventure". The report of the case stimulated more letters to the Jewish Chronicle from JC, 6 July 1900, p. 8. Adam Wood, "Inquest, London: The Life and Career of Wynne Edwin Baxter", Ripperologist 62 (September 2005), available at http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rip-baxter.html, accessed 13 March 2013.</page><page sequence="7">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain proponents for reform, including a strong one from F. S. Cohen alleging a communal cover-up.22 L. S. Montagu, the president of the Initiation Society, then entered the fray. He explained that the society had appointed a doctor to instruct mohelim to ensure that circumcisions were conducted "in accor dance with the requirements of Surgical Science." It also published a list of mohelim who were members and these did not include Simon Goldstein. These approved operators were expected to call in a doctor in any case of haemorrhage.23 The indefatigable Cohen responded to question how it was thought possible to teach laymen an operation that ought to be conducted by surgeons. As a regulator, he said, the Initiation Society was "absolutely worse than useless."24 The Society for Relieving the Poor on the Initiation of their Children into the Holy Covenant of Abraham, or Initiation Society, as it was known, dates back to 1745 and was and is the oldest Jewish charity in Britain. At the begin ning of the twentieth century it was one of the communal organizations dom inated by the Montagu family. L. Samuel Montagu, its president, was the eldest son of Sir Samuel Montagu, the rich, orthodox Jewish MP for Whitechapel. It was Sir Samuel who, from 1887, succeeded in corralling many of the small, religiously conservative, East End London synagogues into a new grouping, the Federation of Synagogues, which became a rival organization to the United Synagogue movement. Montagu fils was less reli gious than his father, was unable to understand Yiddish and had less affinity than his father with the poor, devout, Eastern European Jewish immigrants who made up much of the membership of the Federation.25 Like his father, however, he was prepared to fund communal organizations out of his own pocket. The annual reports of the Initiation Society over a number of years show that it was only able to balance its books through his financial support.26 The overall objective of the Initiation Society was to ensure that Jewish baby boys were circumcised in accordance with Jewish law. To this end, it undertook two types of work.27 The first was the instruction and examination of mohelim, who, if they wished to be on the society's list, must not only pass the examination but must agree to abide by its rules. The second was charity work among the Jewish poor. This included the provision of free circumci sions, often for Jewish children born in workhouses. Cash grants were also made to parents who were so poor that they could not provide the essentials 22 JC, 7 Feb. 1902, p. 8. 23 JC, 14 Feb. 1902, p. 6. 24 JC, 21 Feb. 1902, p. 7. 25 Geoffrey Alderman, Controversy and Crisis: Studies in the History of Jews in Modern Britain (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2008), 253-5. 26 JC, 23 March 1903, p. 22, JC, 11 March 1904, p. 30; JC, 23 Feb. 1906, p. 22, JC, 1 March 1907, P-25 27 As summarized in a public appeal for funds, JC, 18 April 1902, p. 9.</page><page sequence="8">Da niel Appleby necessary to keep a newly circumcised baby healthy and free from infection. In later years, nursing help would also be arranged. This charity work was valuable to the poor but modest in scale. In 1901 only £200 was paid in grants and in 1902, £232}* The society's list, as published in February 1901, comprised 27 mohelim, 19 in London, 5 in the provinces and 3 in the colonies.29 But many practising mohelim did not wish to be subject to the society's rules and declined to join. It is easy to see why. The rules of the society forbade not only advertising but also the circumcision by its mohelim of Gentiles, which was a growing market. Initiation Society mohelim were also not permitted to circumcise the sons of Jewish fathers and gentile mothers, as these babies were not classified as Jewish according to Jewish religious law.30 The records of the Initiation Society for the Edwardian period were destroyed in the Second World War. Press coverage of its annual reports and its meetings does make it possible, nonetheless, to track developments and in particular the change in emphasis in the society's activities that took place from the beginning of the century. In 1901, the society amended its rules to provide for the appointment of a medical officer to train mohelim, but was at first unable to find a candidate who was a doctor, religiously observant and prepared to do the job for £100 p.a.31 It was forced to rely on a temporary appointee, who provided lectures on antiseptic surgery to mohelim. At the request of the Chief Rabbi, these lectures were thrown open to all mohelim and not just Initiation Society members.32 Adler was roused to action by the Lipman Fisher case. He became a driving force in addressing the inadequacies of traditional mohelim, a project which meant transforming the Initiation Society into a more effective regu latory body. Goldstein, the mohel whom the coroner had criticized, was sus pended from practising until he had been examined by the society's medical instructor. Adler also decided that he must contact all those East End mohelim who were not members of the Initiation Society and urge them to be exam ined. However, the names of these mohelim were not known and the only way in which they might be identified was by soliciting the help of the Federation of Synagogues, whose home turf was the East End. Accordingly, on 13 February 1902, Adler wrote to the secretary of the Federation requesting the JC, ii April 1902, p. 29. JC, 15 Feb. 1901, p. 2. Reverend Tertis, probably the most commercially successful mohel, and who did not belong to the Initiation Society, advertised "Surgical Cases attended to in Gentile families (JC, 1 May 1903, p. 36). The rule forbidding society mohelim from circumcising Gentiles was longstanding (JC, 12 Feb. 1886, p. 12). It might, nevertheless, be relaxed with rabbinical consent when the mother was undergoing conversion (JC, 21 April 1899, p. 21). JW, 18 April 1902, p. 65; JC, 11 April 1902, p. 29. JC, 11 April 1902, p. 29.</page><page sequence="9">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain help of Federation members in obtaining the names and addresses of all mohelim practising "in the East End and other districts".33 He would then, he said, endeavour to induce the Initiation Society to have these mohelim exam ined as to their competence. Adler's request for the Federation's assistance came at a time of rapproche ment between the Chief Rabbi and the predominantly middle-class United Synagogue on the one side and Sir Samuel Montagu and the Federation of Synagogues, with its substantial poor immigrant following, on the other. British Jewry felt threatened by mounting agitation for curbs on Jewish immi gration and an increase in popular antisemitism. In the interests of religious unity, Reverend Avigdor Chaikin, a Federation rabbi, had been invited by Adler to attend his Beth Din and the Federation was allowed representation on certain communal bodies.34 Adler's request for help on the mohelim issue seems to have become entangled with the politics of communal re-alignment. His letter was received in time for the Federation's March 1902 board meeting but was not tabled for discussion. Dealing with the letter was deferred until Adler had reverted to the Federation with certain assurances it had sought over Chaikin's appointment. These were in due course received and at a board meeting on 14 July 1902, Adler's letter was finally considered, five months after its initial receipt. As requested by the Chief Rabbi, the board resolved to circulate the letter to member synagogues.35 Adler wished to get the Initiation Society to take on a more significant communal role. A limiting factor was its lack of resources. The society managed to get by only through the philanthropy of its president and treas urer and occasional donations and bequests from the rich.36 An appeal to the Jewish public for support in 1902 had disappointing results.37 Finance, or rather the lack of it, was at the core of "The Circumcision Scandal". Few Jews would have objected if all Jewish circumcisions were conducted by Jewish, religiously observant, medically qualified mohelim - but who was going to pay for such a thing? As The Lancet put it, in an article on circumcision among poor Jews: "There are many and great obstacles to providing medical men for all cases of circumcision, all of which are summed up in the simple statement that many of the patients' parents could never pay the medical operators a Letter raJW, 18 June 1902, p. 330. Eugene C. Black, The Social Politics of Anglo-Jewry 1880-1Ç20 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), 289. Minute of Federation board meeting, 14 July 1902, lma ACC/2893/001. The text of the letter was also published in JW, 18 July 1902, p. 330. The society received some support from Lord Rothschild (JC, 5 May 1905, p. 32) but its finances were not restored until it received a £200 legacy from the estate of the relative and business asso ciate of the Montagus, Ellis A. Franklin in 1909 {JC, 14 May 1909, pp. 7-8; 17 December 1909, p. 10; 8 April 1910, p. 33). The appeal yielded "a little over £100" {JC, 27 March 1903, p. 22).</page><page sequence="10">Daniel Appleby professional fee even on the lowest scale."38 Poor Jews could only afford the services of non-medically qualified mohelim and the Jewish middle class was unwilling to pay for or subsidize the medical circumcision of the sons of their poorer co-religionists. They would not even adequately fund the Initiation Society in its modest charitable work. If Jews throughout Britain were to con tinue to be circumcised and if the level of medical risk was to be diminished, there was little practical alternative but to develop a corps of mohelim, unqual ified medically but trained by doctors and subject to certain rules of practice, who could provide an affordable service to the poorer members of the com munity. The Initiation Society would be the means for training and regulat ing these mohelim and it would have to find the money to do so as best it could as it went along. A year after the Lipman Fisher case, in January 1903, an inquest was con vened by the Westminster Coroner's Court into the death of Michael Dosternock (or Pasdenock; there was uncertainty about the pronunciation), the son of a Polish-born tailor living in Soho. The hearing was reported in detail by the London Jewish World, which trumpeted its coverage as an exclu sive.39 The child had been circumcised by Simon Goldstein, the same mohel who had circumcised Lipman Fisher. Since the earlier inquest, Goldstein had been suspended, examined and passed as competent by the Initiation Society's instructor, and had resumed practice. After the brit, baby Michael bled profusely. Goldstein treated the wound with a powder chiefly composed of Fullers Earth, an industrial absorbent. A doctor who was called found the child to be in an extremely dirty condition with unclean and improperly fas tened dressings, the evidence pointing to neglect by the parents. Five days after circumcision, the child died. A post-mortem was held and the cause of death was attributed to septic poisoning and improper treatment of the wound. The coroner was John Troutbeck, who was to garner a reputation as a resolute and self-confident official, unafraid of taking on vested interests, particularly in the medical profession.40 Troutbeck was determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Although he had served as a coroner for fifteen years, he seems to have had no previous experience of infant death following Jewish circumcision. He wanted to know how mohelim were appointed, what their qualifications were supposed to be and who supervised them. The inquest was adjourned for further evidence and Goldstein was bound over in the sum of ¿20 to appear at the next hearing. The practice of brit milah among British Jews was now on trial. The resumed hearing was attended by a number of Jewish notables. Day an 38 The Lancet, 16 Dec. 1905, pp. 1796-7. 39 JW, 2 Jan. 1903, p. 272, and 9 Jan. 1903, pp. 288-9. 40 David Zuck, "Mr Troutbeck as the Surgeon's Friend: The Coroner and the Doctors - An Edwardian Comedy", Medical History 39 (1995): 259-87. 10</page><page sequence="11">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain (religious judge) Hyamson, deputizing for the Chief Rabbi, gave evidence on how mohelim were trained and examined under the auspices of the Initiation Society. He also explained some of the important rules of the society, such as the need for personal cleanliness and the requirement, in serious cases, to involve a doctor. Dr Blok, the society's temporary medical instructor, told the inquest that Goldstein had been suspended, examined, returned to prac tice and had now been suspended again.41 In their respective evidence, Blok and Goldstein disagreed about whether Goldstein had ever been told he should not use Fullers Earth to staunch bleeding. The inquest seems at times to have been shambolic, mainly because no one had thought beforehand to provide a translator for the deceased child's parents. In the end, Dayan Hyamson had to act as translator. The inquest did not cover the Jewish community or its institutions in glory. Goldstein gave the impression of being a dangerous ignoramus. The coroner was dismissive of the expertise he claimed. "In this case", said Troutbeck, "there is ample testimony of looseness of working arrangements and even now Mr Goldstein does not seem to realise the importance of antiseptic methods in modern surgery." He then criticized the Jewish authorities. Mr Goldstein had been in trouble before "and there should have been great precautions before licens ing him to operate again." The jury, without leaving the box, returned a verdict of "death by septic poisoning, but how caused there is not sufficient evidence to show."42 In the months that followed the circulation of the Chief Rabbi's letter to Federation members, he had received little information back. Perhaps reli giously observant Jews in the East End were reluctant to cooperate with a British-Jewish establishment they did not respect and inform against the mohelim who worked in their midst and who might also be the chazanim of their synagogues. The Dosternock/Pasdenock debacle galvanized the Chief Rabbi into action again and within days of the story appearing in the Jewish World, he wrote again to the Federation. Its secretary, Joseph Blank, replied by return expressing regret for the inadequate response of members and saying that he had "taken measures" to get Adler the names he was seeking.43 Within three days, he reverted to Adler with a list of twelve names and addresses.44 The Dosternock/Pasdenock inquest was a profound embarrassment to the Chief Rabbi and the Initiation Society. It prompted further critical cor respondence in the Jewish press45 and an editorial in the Jewish World 41 JW,b Feb. 1903, p. 371. 42 Ibid. 43 J. Blank to H. Adler, 13 Jan. 1903, lma ACC/2893/074. 44 Idem, 16 Jan. 1903, LMA ACC/2893/074. 45 JC, 16 Jan. 1903, p . 9; JW, 23 Jan. 1903, p. 321. II</page><page sequence="12">Daniel Appleby observed, despairingly, that its report on the inquest made disagreeable reading and there seemed to be no plan that could be suggested to avoid a rep etition of a case of this kind.46 At the same time, the secular authorities began to take a far greater interest in deaths after Jewish circumcision. Within six weeks of the report of the Dosternock/Pasdenock case appearing, two inquests were held into the deaths of Jewish baby boys in which the role of circumcision was an issue. In the first, the case of Max Gripper, it was concluded that the child had died of blood poisoning. His poverty-stricken family lived in a filthy East End cellar and had used a dirty shawl as a bandage. The coroner stated that there were not the slightest grounds for criticizing the mohel for the manner of the operation.47 A second case, that of a child called Finer, was also found to be the result of blood poisoning. The jury seemed keen to discover whether there was any link with the baby's circumcision but the coroner was emphatic that he saw no connection.48 Again, the mohel was exonerated. With Jewish circumcision under greater scrutiny, some greater degree of regulation now seemed likely. A number of mohelim outside the Initiation Society, and who wanted to remain that way, organized themselves into a "London Association of Mohelim". The seven mohelim comprising the group engaged a Dr E. Q. Ambrose to provide them with a collective testimonial. In the letter he wrote, which was published in the Jewish World, he stated that he had observed every one of the seven performing a circumcision and "had much pleasure in testifying to the ability displayed by each of them . . . and the antiseptic precautions were all that could be desired."49 The association seems to have been short-lived and its brief existence did not impede Adler and the Initiation Society in pressing ahead with reform. An advisory committee was constituted by the society to formulate new measures for the registration and instruction of mohelim. It reported in March 1903. Its recommendations included that the society should have a medical board which, together with the medical officer, would oversee surgical matters. A new register of mohelim authorized by the Chief Rabbi and the society should also be compiled and inclusion in it should be evidence of both competence as to religious precepts and the requirements of modern surgery. The report also contained draft regulations as to the method of performing operations and a draft syllabus of instruction. At the annual meeting of the society held on 19 March 1903, the members adopted the recommendations of the report.50 The proposed register did not satisfy critics.51 Nevertheless, Adler and the 46 jfW, 16 Jan. 1903, p. 298. 47 /W, 30 Jan. 1903, p. 351. 48 JC, 27 Feb. 1903, p. 16. 49 JfW, 13 March 1903, p. 461. 50 JC, 27 March 1903, p. 22. 51 Ibid.; JW, 21 Aug. 1903, p. 432. 12</page><page sequence="13">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain Initiation Society persisted with self-regulation and, in August 1903, a letter signed by Adler and L. S. Montagu was dispatched to mohelim not associated with the society.52 They were informed about the new register, how widely it would be circulated and the risks that mohelim, were likely to face with the secular authorities if they practised without being registered. They were there fore encouraged to come forward, be examined and become registered. Although the Initiation Society remained, in strictly legal terms, a toothless beast, the efforts of Adler and the society started to achieve results. In March 1904, it was reported at the society's annual meeting that its medical board had enacted regulations for the training of non-medical mohelim and had pre pared a register of all mohelim who had been taught and examined in the proper use of modern antiseptics.53 By the following year, the new register had been published, several mohelim had been re-examined and ten new mohelim had been instructed and were now registered.54 The society had also appointed a medical officer, Dr Jacob Snowman. Snowman, who was also a practising mohel, became a determined proponent of modernization of the medical aspects of brit milah and in this he had the cau tious support of the Chief Rabbi. Snowman was religiously observant, although, for some in the society, not religious enough. He acknowledged that he sometimes lapsed in observance, including by occasionally carrying an umbrella on the Sabbath.55 He produced a readable, practical handbook for mohelim, available from the society for half a crown (12.5P), but ran into trouble in an early draft over a passage relating to mezizah.56 With his appointment, the society entered into an activist phase, its secretary, medical officer and members of its medical board bringing to the attention of the Chief Rabbi cases of negli gent performance of circumcisions by mohelim or, where these incidents were known, requesting or supporting action by the Beth Din.17 The United Synagogue movement, far more capable of being influenced by the Chief Rabbi, was also mobilized to bring pressure on traditional mohelim. Its council in 1904 adopted a bye-law not permitting its salaried chazanim to practise as mohelim without the permission of the council, JW, 14 Aug. 1903, p. 420. JfC, 11 March 1904, p. 30. JC, S May 1905, p. 32. J. Snowman to H. Adler, 13 Sept.1904, lma ACC/2805/03/01/021. The ancient practice of mezizah requires suction by the mouth of the mohel on the wound. There was much discussion at the time as to whether this was still required in its original form by Jewish law. Adler urged Snowman to use more careful language on the subject in his handbook because he feared a split on the issue in his Beth Din, into which a traditionalist Federation dayan had now been brought (H. Adler to J. Snowman, 15 July 1904 and 5 Jan. 1905, LMA ACC/2805/03/01/021). M. Abrahams to H. Adler, 2 Dec. 1904; J. Snowman to H. Adler, 3 Feb. 1905; M. Clifford to H. Adler, 16 Feb. 1905, LMA ACC/2805.03/01/021. 13</page><page sequence="14">Daniel Appleby Plate 3 Dr Jacob Snowman, the Initiation Society's medical officer, "impression" by Sallon. He admitted to the Chief Rabbi that he sometimes carried an umbrella on the Sabbath. thereby requiring them either to give up their sideline or be examined by the Initiation Society.'8 A more direct way in which practising but unregistered mohelim could be induced to be examined, registered and made subject to the society's rules was by the threat of being prohibited from practising by the Beth Din and then having that prohibition published in the Jewish press. In one case, an unregistered mohel was publicly prohibited from practising and then, after quickly coming to heel by submitting himself to examination and becoming registered, publicly reinstated six weeks later.59 A source of pressure on mohelim from outside the Jewish community was the way in which the East End's coroner, Wynne E. Baxter, began to be less 58 JC, 19 Feb. 1904, p. 18. 59 JC, 23 June 1905, p. 30;jfW, 23 June 1905, p. 291 ; JC, 28 July 1905, p. 2;JW, 28 July 1905, p. 411. The mohel was David Applebaum. H</page><page sequence="15">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain patient with them and to treat the Initiation Society as their regulator. In the eighteen months following the Finer case, he is reported as having presided at three inquests into deaths following Jewish circumcision: Samuel Benjamin in September 1903 (septic poisoning),60 Harris Prager in April 1904 (haemophilia)61 and Jacob Schwarz in July 1904 (haemorrhage).62 In none of these cases was any fault attributed to the mohelim concerned. However, in the Jacob Schwarz case, Baxter observed that the issue of the competency of mohelim "had reached the ears of the Home Secretary", who, Baxter said, had specially requested coroners to investigate these cases carefully to establish whether there had been any negligence by mohelim. This may have been the reason why Baxter took a much tougher line in three post-circumcision infant death inquests over which he presided in the first half of 1905. Israel Stavisky died a few days after circumcision in January 1905.63 The medical evidence was that the death was due to exhaustion following gan grene and inflammation of the groin. The mohel, Barnett Scheinman, did not hold a certificate from the Initiation Society, something which went down badly with Baxter, who stated that it was his understanding that a mohel must have a certificate from "the Jewish board" and the Chief Rabbi. From the evi dence he gave, it was clear that Scheinman knew little about antiseptic meas ures. A juror referred to Scheinman as "a bungler". Baxter, in reviewing the facts, said that the mohel had no right to act as such. The jury brought in a verdict of "death by misadventure" and added that Scheinman should not carry out any further circumcisions without an Initiation Society certificate. Baxter then called the mohel forward and told him that serious action would be taken if he appeared before him again in similar circumstances. Shortly afterwards, Scheinman was prohibited by the Beth Din from practising as a mohel .64 By this stage a degree of cooperation had developed between London coro ners and the Jewish authorities on the issue of negligent mohelim. The Chief Rabbi's office would be warned if and when an inquest was impending in which Jewish circumcision was a factor. Thus, on 14 February 1905, the Deputy Coroner of Central London wrote to the Chief Rabbi to tell him that an inquest was due to take place the next day relating to a death after circumcision.65 On 12 May 1905, Baxter held an inquest into the death of Harris Poppick, 60 JC, 25 Sept. 1903, p. 26. 61 JC, 22 April 1904, p. 17. 62 JC,iJuly 1904, p. 31. 63 JC, 3 Feb. 1905, p. 14. 64 JfC, io Feb. 1905, p. 2. 65 W. Schroder to H. Adler, 14 Feb. 1905, lma ACC//2805/03/01/021. Inquest unreported in the Jewish press. i5</page><page sequence="16">Daniel Appleby the son of a tailor's machinist.66 Four hours after the child's brit, bleeding started. The mo he I, Lewis Cohen, managed to stop the bleeding but it resumed the next day. A doctor was called but the baby died. The doctor deposed that there had been no clotting of the blood and that the child had been insuffi ciently bandaged. He said that the seriousness of the case had not been appre ciated by the mohel. Cohen claimed to be highly experienced but it transpired that he had never attended any Initiation Society training sessions. The coroner took the view that the mohel had done everything he could as far as his knowledge went, but this had been a special case and the mohel had not under stood it. Several jurors remarked that although Cohen had shown lack of tech nical knowledge, there had not been any wilful neglect. Baxter called Cohen forward and told him that if the jury had not taken a merciful view, Cohen might have been sent to the Old Bailey to be tried for manslaughter. He strongly advised Cohen to take a course of training with the Initiation Society and obtain a certificate. The jury's verdict was "death by misadventure."67 Within ten days, Baxter was presiding at yet another inquest into death after circumcision.68 Emanuel Harris, the son of a journeyman tailor, had been circumcised by Morris Baum. Bleeding had recommenced which the mohel had been unable to stop. A doctor was called, arriving after some delay, but he was unable to stop the child dying. Baum gave evidence, but medical evidence indicated that he had failed to appreciate the unusual nature of the case. Under questioning, Baum said he was not a member of the Initiation Society. He also stated that the young men of the society had nothing to teach him. Baxter responded: "That's what you say. Have they not Dr Snowman giving all his time to teach this business? In this case I must express my view that you have not risen to the occasion."69 At the conclusion of the hearing, Baxter issued a general warning. "I have not looked on these cases seriously, but I shall have to do so in the future, if we get any more of them. In this instance, the mohel has just saved himself by the skin of his teeth. If he had not had a doctor called in at all I should have advised the jury to return a verdict of manslaughter ... This case must be a warning to mohelim and I clearly give them to understand that if anything like this happens again I shall send the case to the Old Bailey, and they will be tried for manslaughter." The jury's verdict was "death by misadventure."70 A Jewish Chronicle editorial soon after the inquest, headed "A Warning to Mohelim", supported Baxter and urged every mohel in the country, who had not yet done so, to submit themselves to training by the Initiation Society. JC, 19 May 1905, p. 24; British Medical Journal (hereafter, BM J), 10 June 190s, p. 1407. JC, 19 May 1905, p. 24; BMJ, 10 June 1905, p. 1307. ! JC, 26 May 1905, p. 30; The Lancet, 10 June 1905, p. 1593. JC, 26 May 1905, p. 30; The Lancet, 10 June 1905, p. 1593. 1 JfC, 26 May 1905, p. 30; The Lancet, 10 June 1905, p. 1593. i6</page><page sequence="17">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain British Jews were urged to use only mohelim who were on the society's list. If a minority of Jews continued to use unregistered mohelim, and thereby "jeop ardise our religious repute", then, said the editorial, perhaps some form of compulsory registration should be welcomed.71 But no such regime ensued. A single further death after circumcision was reported in 1905,72 after which reports on these types of inquests cease to appear and, as far a reader of the Edwardian Jewish press is concerned, "the Circumcision Scandal", quite sur prisingly, fizzles out. The author has located eleven coroners' inquests in London in 1902-5 into deaths after Jewish circumcision, reported or referred to in the Jewish press, and from which it is possible to identify the dead infants. After 1905, such news reports ceased, to the great relief of the leaders of the Jewish commu nity. At the Initiation Society's annual meeting in 1908, Dayan Hyamson expressed pleasure that there had been no recurrence of the "epidemic of inquests that had created such a scandal a few years ago."73 The Initiation Society had also changed, he said. Instead of being only a charitable organi zation, it had become an educational institution and a college for the training and inspection of mohelim. The society was only able to develop in this way, however, by moving a proportion of its modest resources away from provid ing financial benefits to the poor to paying the salary of a medical officer. It is clear from inquest reports that there were mohelim in practice in Britain at the beginning of the century who were careless or ignorant or both - and therefore dangerous. It seems to have been relatively easy through fear of prohibition by the Beth Din or by actual prohibition and concomitant bad publicity to compel independent mohelim to re-train, become subject to the Initiation Society's rules or go out of business. Alongside these communal efforts a further and telling source of pressure on mohelim was, of course, Baxter, the East London coroner. The Chief Rabbi and the Beth Din had the power to deprive a mohel of his communal good name, but Baxter could have him sent to the Old Bailey on a charge of manslaughter. A driving force in the transformation of the Initiation Society into a more effective regulator had been Dr Hermann Adler. At the society's 1909 annual meeting, congratulations were proposed to him on the approaching 50th anniversary of his becoming a minster. L. S. Montagu seconded the motion, stating that Adler had always been of great service to their society, but then, he added somewhat acerbically, their society had always been of service to Dr Adler.74 It was, of course, Montagu who had for some years been the financial mainstay of the society. 71 JC, 14 July 1905, p. 8. 72 Charlie Rabinowitz, cause of death - haemorrhage, JC, 10 Nov. 1905, p. 35. 73 JC, 14 Feb. 1908, p. 28. 74 JC, 23 April 1909, p. 18. 17</page><page sequence="18">Daniel Appleby The scale of "the Circumcision Scandal" is difficult to assess. At its outset, critics of circumcision by medically unqualified operators were alleging that large numbers of Jewish babies were dying unnecessarily; indeed, one letter to the Jewish Chronicle described it as "a massacre of the innocents."75 This was hyperbole but it is clear that the number of deaths after circumcision was greater than the eleven identified here. One or two further deaths, unreported by the Jewish press, figure in correspondence between the Chief Rabbi and the Initiation Society's medical board during 1904-5. Deaths are also likely to have occurred outside London, where 40 per cent of British Jews lived, but no inquests in the provinces were reported. The London-based Jewish press could not easily send reporters to cover an inquest outside the metropolis and for much of their news from the provinces they relied on information from local correspondents, who did not rush to purvey embarrassing news or scandal relating to their communities. The provinces were also beyond the Initiation Society's reach, which was a source of concern to its medical officer.76 Yet, for all this, it must be remembered that at a time of high infant mortality the deaths of Jewish baby boys after ritual circumcision were but a tiny proportion of all infant deaths. A major problem among the general pop ulation was "overlaying" or "overlying" in which babies, taken to bed with an adult, were later found dead from apparent suffocation. During 1905, there were 403 inquests in London alone on children found dead with their parents.77 It was perhaps inevitable that as the Jewish population of London grew and poor immigrants crowded further into the congested East End, deaths after circumcision would start to find their way into coroners' courts. The increase in post-circumcision mortality was attributed by the medical press to immi grant poverty and ignorance leading to overcrowding, poor hygiene and the unwise selection by immigrants of deficient mohelim,78 However, this does not explain why the inquests started at the moment they did and why none, it seems, had occurred in London before. Perhaps the number of Jewish babies suffering post-circumcision infections or haemorrhage, whether dying as a consequence or being saved by medical intervention, had reached a level - a sort of tipping point - at which East End doctors and officials felt that some kind of action needed to be taken by a coroner the next time a death occurred. If this is the case, then the author speculates that part of the impetus may have come from doctors in the London Hospital in Whitechapel, located deep in the Jewish East End. It was to the London Hospital, in the very first reported case, that Lipman Fisher's worried father hurried secretly to get 75 JC, 23 Jan. 1903, p. 8. 76 J. Snowman toH. Adler, 1 Feb. 1905, lma ACC.2805/03/01/021. 77 Zuck, "Mr Troutbeck", p. 267. 78 BMJ, 28 March 1903, p. 748; The Lancet, 16 December. 1905, p. 1796. i8</page><page sequence="19">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain help and where his baby son was taken and later died. The hospital also fea tures in a number of other cases, including those of Finer, Benjamin and Stavisky. There was talk in the Jewish press during the period that the statutory reg ulation of mohelim, as existed in Germany, might be introduced in Britain. Many British Jews felt that if Parliament regulated Jewish circumcision this would be a mark of communal failure and disgrace, which if at all possible should be avoided, although others believed that perhaps only regulation could remove problem which was staining the good name of the community. Preservation of communal reputation was a particular concern at a time of public debate about controlling Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.79 Adler, himself, did not start to campaign vigorously to improve the regulation of mohelim until being "deeply grieved"80 by the front-page news story on the Lipman Fisher inquest in the Evening Standard. As a corollary, at least one voluble Jewish critic of traditional mohelim and the activities of the Initiation Society was begged publicly by its president, supported by the Chief Rabbi, to stop corresponding on the subject with non-Jews.81 The British Medical Journal, in an article in March 1903, described how the Initiation Society had recast its rules by establishing a supervisory medical board. The Journal took the view that "it is evident that there is no valid reason for the outcry which has been raised in some quarters regarding what is called the reckless sacrifice of infant life. The Jewish Community is clearly alive to its responsibilities in this matter .. . [and as]. . . far as the Initiation Society is concerned, the precautions proposed appear to be sufficient."82 This view turned out to be correct. British Jews successfully addressed a serious communal problem through their own institutions. That they were left to do so is also a reflection of British attitudes at the time towards the country's Jewish community. Despite disquiet in sections of the public regarding the level of Jewish immigration, Britain's rulers did not see the presence of a Jewish minority as a threat to social and moral order. Additionally, minimizing state intervention in the lives of British subjects was widely regarded as the optimal legislative philosophy.83 The imperial experience had also exposed the British to other cultures where they had learned, in India and elsewhere, that direct interfer ence with the traditional practices of others was frequently counter-productive A Royal Commission on Alien Immigration was announced in March 1902. It reported in Aug. 1903 and a bill based on its recommendations was introduced in 1904. In Aug. 1905, the Aliens Act came into force. 1 jfW, 18 June 1902, p. 330. JC, 27 March 1903, p. 22. ; BMJ, 28 March 1903, p. 748. 1 Endelman, Jews of Britain 1656-2000, 161. 19</page><page sequence="20">Daniel Appleby and a cautious and overtly respectful approach was generally to be preferred. We see something of the attitude of the wary colonial administrator in the sen sitivity exhibited by London coroners in dealing with Jewish circumcision cases. Baxter, in the Lipman Fisher inquest stated that "when a religious element entered a case it was necessary to deal with it as carefully as possible." Troutbeck, in the Dosternock/Pasdernock case, remarked that it was "always a delicate matter when one has to enquire into the religious ceremonies of a faith other than one's own". Baxter, who was not notably philosemitic,84 adopted what might be described today as a pragmatic, multi-cultural approach. He kept up the pressure for change through the threat of criminal proceedings, while not actually setting any in motion. At the same time, he publicly counselled the Jewish community, in its own interest, to get its house in order.85 He also maintained a behind-the-scenes channel of communication with the Jewish community on the circumcision issue through the secretary of the Initiation Society.86 Germany was a point of reference by British Jews during "the Circum cision Scandal". There were many similarities between the two Christian great powers, but in attitudes towards Jewish circumcision they differed markedly and enquiring into this difference reveals a further reason why Jewish circumcision in Britain avoided statutory control. In Germany in the nineteenth century, Jews were exposed to greater offi cial intervention into their lives and religion than in Britain.87 Circumcision became highly regulated, controls being introduced in the name of public health at different times and in different ways in various German states and municipalities.88 Regulation was an aspect of German state building, in the sense of the elimination of the privileges of previously semi-autonomous communities, but also a specific attack on Jewish cultural separateness.89 One of the ways in which German Jews resisted interference with circumcision was by arguing for its medical benefits, a paradoxical stance whereby science was used to justify ancient Jewish traditions.90 This is an important difference between Britain and Germany. In Britain, at least by the Edwardian period, there was no real need for such arguments. As far as much of the medical pro fession was concerned, for Jews to seek to justify circumcision on health grounds would be like pushing at an open door. 84 JC, 24 June 1910, p. 9. 85 JC, 26 May 1905, p. 30. 86 M. Abrahams to H. Adler, 5 Feb. 1905, LMA ACC/22805/02/01/021. 87 Endelman, Jews of Britain 1656-2000, 161. 88 John M. Efron, Medicine and the German Jews: A History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001 ), 224. 89 Robin Judd, Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843—1933 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2007), 27-8. 90 Efron, Medicine and the German Jews, 223-4, 233 20</page><page sequence="21">The Jewish "Circumcision Scandal" in Edwardian Britain It had not always been so. Eighteenth-century Englishmen seem to have had a horror of circumcision, "it being identified in English thought with Jewish barbarism."91 The waning of this repugnance and its disappearance altogether in sections of British society is mainly attributable to the emergence of a widely held view among doctors that circumcision had medical benefits. It was believed that circumcision curbed juvenile masturbation, a particular Victorian obsession. It also came to be viewed as having a beneficial effect in counteracting or preventing a range of afflictions, some now recognized as largely imaginary, like congenital phimosis or spermatorrhea, and some very real, like syphilis, neurosis, penile cancer and bilharzia.92 This current of medical opinion had the effect of altering behaviour, particularly among the educated and better off. As a consequence, the incidence of circumcision, par ticularly among the British middle and upper classes, increased as the twenti eth century progressed, to the extent that by 1949 most English public schoolboys were circumcised.93 Neither this degree of medical enthusiasm for circumcision nor the same level of family take-up developed on the European continent and certainly not in Germany where circumcision among German Gentiles in the nineteenth and twentieth century was extremely rare.94 While Adler and the Initiation Society wrestled with the problem of reg ulating mohelim, British doctors were increasingly carrying out circumcisions. A leading British surgeon writing in 1900 stated that it was "the imperative duty of everyone who is cognisant of the facts [of the transmission of syphilis] to exert his influence for the benefit of humanity at large by securing, as far as possible, the efficient circumcision of every male child that comes under his notice. "95 In 1906 alone, doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London circumcised 874 child patients.96 Another eminent Madge Dresser, "Minority Rites: The Strange History of Circumcision in English Thought", Jewish Culture and History I, no. I (1998): 74—5. Robert Darby, A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005), 63,104-5, !73&gt; 234,254-5,260. See also James F. Allen, "Bilharzia, Haematobia and Circumcision", The Lancet, 8 May 1909, pp. 1317-20. Douglas Gairdner, "The Fate of the Foreskin: A Study of Circumcision", BMJ, 24 Dec. 1949, pp. 1433-7. Medical colleagues told Gairdner that 67% of boys entering Rugby School and 84% of a sample of public schoolboys going to Cambridge University were circumcised. ' Efron, Medicine and the German Jews, 223. The extent to which an antipathy towards circumci sion per se was bound up with and reinforced by a strain of antisemitic feeling in German life more virulent than its counterpart in Britain is worthy of a more extensive comparative study. For pre 1914 German hostility towards the Jewish rite of circumcision, see Judd, Contested Rituals, 106 10. ' E. Harding Freeland, "Circumcision as a Preventive of Syphilis and Other Disorders", The Lancet, 29 Dec. 1900, p. 1871; emphasis added. ' J. Bland-Sutton, "A Lecture on Circumcision as a Rite and as a Surgical Operation", The Lancet, 15 June 1907, p. 1412. 21</page><page sequence="22">Daniel Appleby surgeon, writing in 1907, openly acknowledged that there was an element of unavoidable risk of haemorrhage or sepsis in all circumcisions, whether they were performed by a mohel or a doctor, but asserted that such risk should be accepted in the light of the operation's medical benefits.97 Given the existence of these views among significant elements of the medical profession and the way in which circumcision was becoming one of the markers of high social status among Gentiles, there was limited will in Edwardian Britain to inter fere with the ancient Jewish practice of brit milah. There is perhaps no stronger evidence of the acceptance, in the broadest sense, of Jewish circum cision in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century than the attitude of its royal family. Not only did the royal family arrange for its baby boys to be circumcised but its surgeon of choice was a Jewish mohel and the medical officer of the Initiation Society, Dr Jacob Snowman.98 97 J. Bland-Sutton, "A Lecture on Circumcision as a Rite and as a Surgical Operation", The Lancet, 15 June 1907, p. 1412. 98 Among those circumcised by Snowman was Prince Charles in 1948; JC, 9 April 1982, p. 12. However, Princess Diana refused to allow her sons William and Harry to be circumcised - or so it is widely believed. If this is correct, she was merely following a national trend, which started in mid-century, in the decline of circumcision among British Gentiles. 22</page></plain_text>