Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir by Shalom Auslander - review by Jonathan Beckman

Jonathan Beckman

Cut Adrift

Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir


Picador 320pp £12.99

Surprisingly, given the rage Shalom Auslander can muster against God for even the slightest mishap, this memoir contains no lamentation for his own circumcision. It is the prospective birth of a son that causes turmoil in the mind of this Jew who has rejected the traditions and laws of his forefathers: will his boy get the snip? Auslander’s solution – done by a doctor, the day after the birth, with no ritual – is indicative of his messy, painful and unending grapple with his religion.

Auslander was brought up in the Orthodox community in Monsey, New York. His father drank, swore and beat up his children. All his mother could do in response was roll her eyes, urge tolerance and lose herself in home improvement magazines. Auslander’s slide out of religion starts when he discovers

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