The Heart of Stone: The Physical and Psychological Effects of 8th Day Circumcision

June 18, 2017

Throughout history, Jewish behavior has been criticized for selfishness and lack of compassion, especially towards non-Jews. Martin Luther was frustrated to find that Jewish hearts were “as hard as a stick, stone, iron, and the devil (“stock stein eisen teuffel hart”: Vom Schem Hamphoras, 1534). Adolf Hitler felt the Jewish people were among the “most unscrupulous and ruthless of peoples.” Harry S. Truman famously noted in his diary that Jews had no sense of proportion, being unusually selfish and cruel: “The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog.”(link). Even the former president of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, pointed out to an Israeli that his nation displayed a lot of brain, but no heart: “You have nothing to be proud of, unless of course you take pride in being heartless, in being primitive brutes.” (link)

Film Poster of a 1950 GDR production of Wilhelm Hauff’s The Heart of Stone, directed by Paul Verhoeven.

There is a German fairy tale about heartlessness and wealth, which has a Jewish character: in “The Heart of Stone” (Das kalte Herz by Wilhelm Hauff, literally: The Cold Heart), a Black Forest charburner, Peter, wants to become as rich as the wealthy wood-merchant Ezekiel, and trades his human heart for a heart of stone. After his deal with Dutch-Mike, who owns a whole collection of hearts including Ezekiel’s, Peter is no longer able to cry or laugh or love, and has no access to his emotions. He regrets having chosen Ezekiel as a role-model, applies a trick to get his heart back, and spends the rest of his life as a charburner with a real heart, working humbly, happily married with a son.

Currently, right-wing circles all over the world promote Jewish ethnocentrism and self-assertiveness as a trait to be emulated. What if Jewish/Israeli “heartlessness” is not actually a healthy condition, but rests on a rather serious mental dysfunction induced by 8th day circumcision?

The “Epicenter of the Jewish tragedy”?

At least, that is what was suggested by the late Roger Dommergue Polacco de Menasce (1923-2013), a French professor of English with a PhD in Endocrinology. Of Jewish origin but not circumcised on the 8th day, Dommergue observed that there was a set of characteristics that was common to Jews all over the world, regardless of the physical and genetic differences between Sephardis and Ashkenazis. Dommergue proposed that what determined Jewish behavior was neither race nor religion, but the ritual of circumcision, also known as “Brit Milah”. In Judaism, the surgery is performed on the 8th day after a male infant’s birth, which has its Scriptural basis in Genesis and Leviticus: “Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Genesis 17:10-11); “And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” (Lev. 12:3). The operation is done without narcosis. It is performed by a “mohel,” who also sucks the blood from the wound (“metzitzah b’peh”). Many babies withdraw in shock or nearly choke with mortal agony.

Drawing on the work of French endocrinologist Dr. Jean Gautier, Dommergue pointed out that the 8th day was a crucial stage in the hormonal development of a human being. Gautier had referred to it as “the first puberty”. Dommergue proposed that the operation had irreversible effects on the brain: causing a permanent hormonal imbalance, it led to hypertrophied thinking, lack of empathy and a predatorial attitude, which was also expressed in their physique, especially among Jews in the financial world. “Our face reflects our soul, hence those caricatural faces,” Dommergue points out:

What happens is when you perform this operation, you set free some hormones contained in the internal genital organ, which is THE human gland. The gland that basically runs everything deliberately. Deliberately, not automatically. Automatisms it would seem are from the pituitary. So, it’s the organ of free will. It will consequently become underdeveloped starting that day.

It will be underdeveloped and at the same time, it will liberate other organs, which will run without the brakes on. Because the role of the internal genital gland is precisely to orchestrate a balance in the whole hormonal system. It won’t be able to do it. Thus the pituitary and the thyroid, even the adrenal glands to a lesser extent, will become unhinged.

They will therefore be out of control, 7, 8, or 10 times more active than in most humans. And what’s going to happen? The internal genital gland, which is underdeveloped in the mentally ill, will be underdeveloped in the Jews. Which means they’ll only have enough interstitial capacity, to direct their speculations which will be dictated by their pituitary and their thyroid. Hence a sort of real illness: they can’t stop. (link)

According to Dommergue, this specific hormonal, mental disposition has led to a Jewish obsession with equations, an unhinged imagination, and an inability to produce synthetic thinking, which will result in “these monstrosities that are financial capitalism, Marxism, Freudianism.” True spirituality, art and philosophy are impossible to achieve with this mindset: “There is no Chopin, Beethoven, there’s no Jewish Bach, because these guys had a huge interstitial capacity, the Jews don’t. However, when it comes to minor artists, they’re everywhere. Just as in finance, pituitary medicine, chemistry and physics.” According to Dommergue, the “epicenter of the Jewish tragedy” was internal genital science.

Dommergue had earned a PhD in Endocrinology with a doctoral thesis on the temperament of male dandies in the Romantic era, looking at their behavioral characteristics, physical appearance and attitudes from the point of view of endocrinology, positing that these dandies had been suffering from a hyperthyroid condition.[1] Perhaps, it is important to remember that French academia allows for more philosophical approaches to scientific topics, and that Dommergue was also a professor of literature. An ardent critic of allopathy, he was sceptical about what he called the “Judaeo-Cartesian” scientific outlook, which he thought had been “overstimulated by the Jews, reigning supreme until the very destruction of the planet.”

Judaism and Saturn

The idea of connecting Judaism with a specific temperament is not entirely new, and there are some similarities, it seems, between the endocrinological approach and the traditional view of humoral pathology, the doctrine of the four temperaments, which used to be the foundation of medicine in the ancient world, dominating Western science for 2000 years until it was replaced by different paradigms in the 19th century. Although it is now considered a pseudo-science, the idea of bodily fluids in humoral pathology is somewhat comparable to the idea of hormonal fluids having an effect on our mental health and emotional stability. Both systems of thought hold that diet plays a crucial role in achieving physical and psychic balance.

Saturn as a Jew: woodcut from Nuremberg, Germany, 1492.

Throughout Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, Jews were linked to the planetary influence of Saturn, because their holy day was the day of Saturn: Satur-day.[2] The Hebrew word for Saturn is Sabbatai, again referencing the Sabbath. Saturn corresponds to the Greek God Kronos, who was known for devouring his own children: Jews were thought to worship this God.


Church Fathers made a connection to Baal worship: Isidore of Seville “understood Saturn to have been originally a Babylonian God, Bel, later called Saturn.”[3] Saturn was moreover associated with the melancholy temperament, which had predominantly negative connotations in the ancient world and in the Middle Ages. Martin Luther still associated melancholy and sadness with Satan: “Satan is a spirit of sadness, that is why he cannot tolerate happiness, which is why he is very far away from music.” The Saturnine temperament was considered cold, and associated with avarice, idleness and anything black, such as black clothing, black magic etc., as a result of the predominance of black bile. In his Cosmographia, Bernardus Silvestris reads Saturn as a symbol of death, decay, and disharmony, and as the anti-thesis to nature. There is an interesting passage that sounds like an allusion to the Jewish practice of circumcision in alignment with a spirit that is hostile towards life, beauty and humanity:

Saturn is an old man everywhere condemned, savagely inclined to harsh and bloody acts of unfeeling and detestable malice. Whenever his most fertile wife had borne him sons, he cut them off at the first budding of life, devouring the newly born… whenever there was no one whom he (Saturn) might devour, he would mow down with a blow of his sickle whatever was beautiful, whatever was flourishing. Just as he would not accept childbirth, so he forbade roses, lilies, and the other kinds of sweet-scented flowers to flourish. By the spectacle he presented he prefigured the hostility with which he was to menace the race of men to come by the poisonous and deadly propensities of the planet.[4]

Detail from Peter Paul Rubens: Saturn devouring his own son (1636)

With the advent of the fraudulent “Christian Kabbalah” and the rise of humanism in the Renaissance, Jewry and their assigned temperament received a positive reinterpretation: Saturn and melancholy were now associated with genius and considered especially noble, the temperament of philosophical speculation, and closeness to God.[5]

The approach of humoral pathology may seem odd and overly associative to us today, but it was accepted by leading scholars and physicians in Europe for a very long time, dating back to Hippocrates (400 BC), with later adjustments by Galenus (2nd century AD) and Avicenna (11th century AD). Whether or not we are willing to ascribe any validity to it, it reminds us that scientific categories are subject to change depending on what a particular intellectual elite in a given epoch considers a valid paradigm. It also reminds us that a scientific theory will always remain a human attempt at rationally describing phenomena that are observable in the outside world.

Seeing circumcision trauma and hormonal imbalance at the heart of the Jewish condition rather than the planetary influence or worship of Saturn, Dommergue recommends the radical prohibition of 8th day circumcision, which he thinks would “deliver the Jews from their cosmic tragedy.” The theory does not seem to be widely known even in circles that are preoccupied with the JQ, but it might be worth investigating it further. A student of Dr. Gautier’s is continuing his work in France today, where it is known as “Endocrino-Psychology” (link). Elsewhere, this field of research goes by the name of “Psychoneuroendocrinology” (PNE) – a relatively recent discipline.

Current Debates in the US: Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Trauma

With circumcision becoming a more wide-spread practice in the US even among non-Jews, it has come under scrutiny of psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatrics, as well as lay persons affected by it. Even as grown-ups, many men have reported feelings of rage about having been circumcised without consent, and of feeling violated and abused. One of the leading critics, Ronald Goldman, is Jewish. He runs a non-for profit resource centre on circumcision in Boston His book The Hidden Trauma: How an American Cultural Practice Affects Infants and Ultimately, Us All (1997) is advertised as the “first intensive exploration of the unrecognized psychological and social aspects of this increasingly controversial American cultural practice.” Reviewing the “surprising abilities of infants and their responses to circumcision pain”, the book examines the “long-term psychological effects of circumcision from the perspectives of both traditional and innovative psychological theories.” Goldman argues that circumcision has a major effect on emotional bonding and relationships, male attitudes towards women, sexuality and general emotional well-being. Studies suggest that “abnormal stimulation during the neonatal period,” such as circumcision pain, permanently alters the brain.[6]

A neurologist who saw the results postulated that the data indicated that circumcision affected most intensely the portions of the victim’s brain associated with reasoning, perception and emotions. Follow up tests on the infant one day, one week and one month after the surgery indicated that the child’s brain never returned to its baseline configuration. In other words, the evidence generated by this research indicated that the brain of the circumcised infant was permanently changed by the surgery (link).

Other studies have connected circumcision with a lack of empathy and an inability to verbalize emotions in adult life, also known as alexithymia.[7] While many women would see this as a common male trait, the condition appears to be intensified in circumcised men.

The traumatic experience of being genitally mutilated shortly after birth also has effects on the boy’s bond with the mother and his sense of trust towards her. Here is a report of a baby boy’s behavioural changes and sense of alienation after circumcision:

I shared a hospital room with a mother whose son was born within hours of my daughter. My roommate and I marveled at the identical personality traits exhibited by our newborn babies. Both were perfectly calm, never cried and gazed unwaveringly at our faces when we held them. We experienced that maternal closeness the mother feels when she realizes her baby knows her and accepts her as caretaker. . .  Delight in our new-found joys of motherhood was shattered the following morning. My roommate’s baby had changed. He refused to nurse; he cried; he wouldn’t be held. “He doesn’t want me,” my roommate pitifully told the nurse. “It’s just the circumcision,” the nurse told her comfortingly. (R. Goldman, “How Circumcision Harms Women”, link)

The child, it seems, unconsciously blames the mother for neglecting her maternal duty to protect it in the most vulnerable phase of his life, which might have long-term effects on the circumcised male’s relationship with women. Interestingly, Freudian anthropologist John Wesley Mayhew Whiting interpreted the ritual as a symbol of civilizational progress: breaking the bond between mother and son via circumcision prevented incest. He fully acknowledged both the traumatizing character of the ritual, and its damaging effects on the mother-son relationship, pointing out that “the trauma was meant to break the incestuous bond between mother and son, easing the son’s transition into the male world without inciting parricidal revolt against the father.”[8]

Indeed, the experience is traumatic even for the mother. A Jewish mother of two sons, Miriam Pollack, reports how witnessing this surgery being done to her newly born baby boys traumatized her for life (link). After many years of internal conflict, she was “beyond devastated” when she finally did research on circumcision and admitted to herself that her trusted religious authorities had lied to her about the procedure on virtually every level: they had claimed the baby wouldn’t remember, it would not experience any pain, they would cut off only an unnecessary piece of dead tissue – none of which was true.

Jewish boys do seem to get pampered by their mothers more than children in other communities: we are all familiar with the J.A.P. phenomenon (Jewish American Prince). Are Jewish mothers bound to spoil their sons because they feel guilty about neglecting their new-born babies when they needed them most? Could this be another factor that contributes to heightened narcissism and a corresponding lack of empathy in Jewish men? One also wonders what the “compulsion to repeat the trauma” via re-enactment, re-victimization and masochism means for Jewish culture as a whole: “In behavioral re-enactment of the trauma, the self may play the role of either victim or victimizer.”[9] Is circumcision trauma at the heart of the Jewish victim mentality? It would also be interesting to look at Judaism’s curious obsession with vengeance in the context of repressed rage about circumcision. After all, their Scriptures abound with fantasies of revenge and destruction, and the fact that this is a unique phenomenon in the world of religious thinking cannot be emphasised enough. And finally, wouldn’t it make sense to read the Jewish involvement in pornography, where women are often degraded and violated, as a form of revenge on the sex that is subconsciously blamed for the Jewish male ur-trauma of being genitally violated? If Jews are so heavily involved in this industry, the ways in which their imagination has shaped the violent language of pornography might signal a major issue with women and their own sexuality — which unfortunately has affected the relationship between men and women in gentile societies in a major way now.

Questioning Circumcision: Taboo for Jews

In another book targeted at the Jewish community especially, Goldman is at pains to explain how pointing out the damaging effects of ritual circumcision is not anti-Semitic.[10] His language is hypersensitive, as if he was walking on egg-shells. Questioning circumcision in the Jewish community is a no-go. Goldman breaks a major taboo, and he should be lauded for doing so, given the detrimental effects this ritual might actually have on the Jewish community — with dire consequences for all of us.

Despite the massive propaganda that is pushing circumcision on gentile communities by spreading lies about its alleged benefits (link), there is growing awareness and resistance to this practice, even in the Jewish community. There are signs that Jews who have begun to question circumcision will end up questioning its effects on the historical behavior of Jews as a collective, which would be a major break-through with regards to Jewish self-reflection. A reviewer of Goldman’s book on amazon confesses:

As a Jewish mother of a circumcised son, I didn’t dare question the unquestionable. (…) However, the doubts were there, lurking under the surface but I was embarrassed to speak about them. I heard about Dr. Goldman’s book and after reading it, I had the courage to acknowledge that we as a people are being violated on many levels by this ritual.

Goldman suggests that confronting the damaging effects of this tradition on the mental health of individuals and society at large, and finally, abandoning the tradition, will lead Jews to “grow as a community.”

Today, the US has a circumcision rate of 50% among the general male population, while in Israel the rate is nearly 100%. Israeli parents are fined 150$ per delayed day if they do not circumcise their son on the 8th day. (link)

Despite the fact that the world has perceived Jews as unscrupulous and heartless, it is interesting to note that they see themselves as champions of compassion. In fact, it appears to be one of the cornerstones of Judaism as it is understood by observant Jews in the US today (see the statements by Miriam Pollack), which also explains major Jewish involvement in humanitarian projects. The idea of “repairing the world” (hebr.: tikkun olam) is central to much of Jewish activism, and most Jews seem to be completely unaware that they are doing the exact opposite of repairing. From their point of view, it is the non-Jewish world that is backward and lacks compassion. As we have seen in other instances, however, Jews have a unique proclivity for projecting their own issues onto non-Jews. Miriam Pollack’s realization that male genital mutilation in her own tradition was just as barbaric as female genital mutilation in Africa, and that she was using the same arguments to defend it as those who defended female genital mutilation, must have been a truly eye-opening experience.

Will the circumcision controversy finally lead Jews to look in the mirror as a community, and to acknowledge their destructive role in the history of mankind?

[1] Roger Dommergue, Le dandysme, hyperthyroïdie physiologique, Paris 1971.

[2] E.g. Eric Zafran, “Saturn and the Jews”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes

Vol. 42 (1979), pp. 16-27. Irven M. Resnick, Marks of Distinction: Christian Perceptions of Jews in the High Middle Ages, Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2012. Cf. esp. chapters 2, 5 and 6.

[3] Resnick, p. 216.

[4] Resnick, p. 219.

[5] Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, Fritz Saxl. Saturn and Melancholy. Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art, London: Nelson, 1964. Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, London: Routledge and Paul, 1979.

[6] Anand K. & Scalzo F. Can adverse neonatal experiences alter brain development and subsequent behavior? Biol Neonate 2000;77(2):69-82.

[7] Dan Bollinger, Robert S. van Howe, “Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation,” International Journal of Men’s Health, Vol. 10 No. 2 (2011):

[8] David Gollaher, Circumcision: A History of the World’s Most Controversial Surgery, New York: Basic Books 2000, p. 67.

[9] van der Kolk B. “The compulsion to repeat the trauma: Re-enactment, revictimization, and masochism”. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1989; 12:389-411.

[10] Ronald Goldman, Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective, Vanguard Pub. 1997:


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