Friday, September 7, 2012

BERLIN: Jews denounce conditions of circumcision acceptance

September 6, 2012

Berlin - German Jews Reject Circumcision Terms

Berlin, Germany - Berlin’s Jewish community denounced on Thursday the city’s rejection of male circumcisions conducted by traditional specialists, saying the restriction was “flagrant interference” in religion.

The city-state of Berlin had announced a day earlier that it would not prosecute doctors conducting the ritual on boys in accordance with ancient Jewish and Muslim practice. But it said a mohel, a professional Jewish circumciser, could not claim the privilege.

The assembly of the city Jewish community passed a unanimous resolution saying, “this is flagrant interference in a Jewish tradition going back more than 3,000 years.”

A mohel is trained in the circumcision of baby boys and must live strictly according to kosher rules. Jewish groups said it would be rare to find a man who is both a mohel and a doctor at the same time.
The city-state said immunity from prosecution would apply on its territory if doctors used painkillers and obtained written parental consent and proof that the family belonged to a Jewish or Muslim community. Two other states said they had set similar conditions.


Jews are also concerned that Germany will demand use of a local anaesthetic during circumcision. One of Israel’s two chief rabbis has visited Berlin to say that this is not allowed in traditional circumcision.

Germany’s President Joachim Gauck released Thursday a letter to his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, assuring him “the way of life and beliefs of Jews in Germany” needed to be protected. Peres had earlier asked Gauck to intervene and speak up for Jews.

Jewish groups plan a demonstration on Sunday in Berlin with Christian supporters to protest against the restrictions on circumcision. They have appealed to Muslims to also take part.

Muslims in Germany mostly ask doctors to perform circumcisions and have no equivalent of the mohel.

Earlier story

1 comment:

  1. When this article speaks of "Jews," what is really meant is rabbis and other spokespeople for Jewish organisations. These people cannot claim to speak for anyone but the organisation's inner circle. Many self-identified European Jews do not belong to a synagogue or other Jewish religious group.

    In the USA, there are urologists and pediatricians who are also certified mohels. This is especially true in Reform Judaism.
    I have read several parents relate on the internet that the doctor-mohel who did the bris of their son used lidocaine.

    The Israeli chief rabbi who claims that Judaism forbids anesthesia was not speaking for all rabbis and all mohels. Keep in mind that non-orthodox Judaism barely exists in Israel, which is why a majority of Israelis are very secular.

    Nowhere in the Tanakh does it say that a child must experience the full raw pain of brit milah. Nowhere does it say that the mouth must come in contact with the child's penis.