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Rabbi Sued for Performing a Bris in Germany

Following June’s controversial court ruling a doctor sues a rabbi

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Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger(Getty)

As I wrote earlier today, the issue of circumcision is making its way across Europe as chatter about a ban on circumcision begins in Denmark. The biggest shot across the bow, however, was in Germany where earlier this summer, a court in Cologne ruled circumcisions to be illegal. David P. Goldman wrote a stellar piece about it for Tablet earlier this month.

This opened the floodgates of prognostication about the fate of the religious custom for the 100,000 Jews (and, not to forget, four million Muslims) living in Germany. Despite German public opinion polls that actually favor a circumcision ban, government officials were quick to reassure rightly upset international and religious onlookers that the German government would be swift in enacting legislation in the fall to guarantee the continued legality of the religious rite.

The newest twist in the plot came today as Haaretz reported that a German doctor is suing an Israeli rabbi for performing a circumcision in the wake of the Cologne ruling. If a German doctor suing an Israeli rabbi for performing a bris sounds like the beginning of a joke, you’re right, it is one.

This is the first time that a rabbi has been sued for carrying out the ancient religious practice of brit milah. The Cologne case centered on a doctor who was sued for circumcising a Muslim boy in that city. The doctor was acquitted on technical terms. In light of the suit, the German government committed to creating legislation to resolve the issue.

Goldberg, who was born in Israel, is a certified mohel who has been performing circumcisions since 1997. He has carried out more than 3,000 circumcisions to date. In a conversation with Haaretz, Goldberg said, “I have only heard about this lawsuit from journalists. I have not yet received anything. The moment I do receive something, I will pass it on to the Central Council of Jews in Germany.”

It’s difficult to imagine that this lawsuit will go anywhere. What’s also frustrating about it is the timing. Right now, Rabbi Yona Metzger, Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, is in Berlin working on proposal that would require mohels who perform circumcisions to receive medical training with German doctors along with religious training from rabbis.

Let’s hope German officials use their heads on this one.

For First Time, Israeli Rabbi Sued by German Doctor for Carrying Out Circumcision [Haaretz]
Circumcision controversy brings Yona Metzger, Israel’s Chief Rabbi to Berlin [AP]

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luish1 says:

I don’t see a joke here. Circumcision is Human mutilation, even if is done in the name of whatever god you believe in.

    OK. Is abortion human mutilation? It is clearly anti-Jewish hypocracy. Like Sweden banning shchitah but allowing hunting.

      luish1 says:

      Don’t try to change the subject of the discussion just because you run out of valid excuses!.

        heb macman says:

        Dave isn;t changing the subject… He’s pointing out the hypocrisy of the “anti-mutilation” crowd… Piercing the ears (and other body parts) of young girls is OK but removing a flab of skin is “mutilation”?!…

        Same thing with the shchitah (ritual, non-anestized, slaughter)… The “do-gooders” of Europe claim it’s gratuitous animal cruelty but they don’t object to the inherent animal cruelty of the bio-industry or to the inherent animal cruelty of hunting… Or, did you really think that every hunter always gets a clean “kill shot”?!…

        By the way, equating between male circumcision and female genital mutilation is nothing but hype!… The latter is designed to preclude sexual enjoyment whereas the former most certainly doesn’t preclude sexual enjoyment…

          luish1 says:

          Well, two wrongs doesn’t make one right and female circumcision is done with the same basis of male circumcision :”tradition”. I’m against hunting too.

          No, its more than mere tradition. Its the sign of the covenant.
          And female circumcision is indeed mutilation & cruel, to deprive the woman of satisfaction.

          luish1 says:

          I do strongly agree with you, but still tradition to the tribes that practice it, regardless of the motives to do it.

          luish1 says:

          Sign of Covenant or not still tradition, and I am not taking circumcision among the Jewish people, I am talking circumcision among all people, regardless your religious believes.

Mutilation is one thing, and brit is another. One is done to mark a covenant, and the other is done for decoration. I hope you realize that circumcision is actually healthy. It helps cut down on disease. If you wait till a person is an adult, it is too painful. During the ceremony, the infant is given a few drops of wine. Jews are a warrior people from biblical times. We can, and have, stood the “pain” and are still here.

    luish1 says:

    Barbarians!, what kind of father will put his son gratuitously under unnecessary pain! Well, cut off your ears and your nails, so you don’t have to wash them. I’m 49 years old and during my single years I was very promiscuous and I NEVER had a STD or an infection. Just teach your children to wash their penis in regular basis like my mother taught me, and you will have no problem. You suppose to wear a condom, anyway! And if in very rare cases something happen to the very few unfortunate that have to go to surgery as an adult, there is anesthesia and pain killers for that. It is much less painful than appendectomy, and nobody removes the appendix just in case at childbirth!. We are not in the Middle Ages anymore!

      luish1 says:

      And if you are such a warrior, why are you so afraid to have a circumcision as an adult, when you are able yo make your own educated choices. And if you think that a few drops of wine helps the pour helpless babies, I wonder why they all scream and cry out of their lungs just at the moment that the Rabbi cuts him off! Joy maybe? Please get real.

The Romans felt that circumcision was cruel and barbaric, but they had no problem with infanticide. Jewish culture spread the idea that living beings should be treated with respect, that laborers have rights, that animals should be be given dignity and spared pain even when being slaughtered, that rich and poor should be equal before the law. Every culture that has tried to ban Jewish circumcision has eventually tried to get rid of Jews, too.

    Manu Bst says:

    Oh, really? Why did your Jew god murdered all first born of egypt when he was angry with pharaon? Wasn’t it infanticide ? what about when your god have 42 children mauled by a bear? Or ordered his followers to kill all male, old, children, animals and keep the virgins for themselves? Isn’t it part of Jew culture?
    – Regarding respect for living beings, care for animals, it has always been part of all cultures. In India, china, and other cultures, they were following these things for thousands of years before the first jew was born. Read buddhism. Or Confuciusnism, or taoism.
    – People from abrahimic religions are responsible for the biggest genocides. First the genocides by the jews, then christians than muslims.
    _ Cutting the forsking off the penis is child abuse and then sucking their penis is pedophilia and jew rabbis are expert in it.

    _ Don’t try to prove the cultural superiority with shitty arguments. Jew culture is as crappy as any culture.

      Wasnt it Paroh who order the death of the 1st born? It just back-fired on him. ..and what is this about 42 children & a bear? Where did this come from??..and killing all male, old, children & animals, only to keep the virgins?? Something sounds more than just a little misunderstood or taken out of context there..dont you think?
      You need to get your facts straight before making accusations, my friend.

luish1 says:

and for the people that think that circunsision is healthy, and safe: here educate yourself

Seán O'Maoildeirg says:

How is it that not one Jewish adult can see that circumcision is an act of cruelty and that it disfigures the perfect body that was given to them by their creator. Shame on the religious fanatics of any religion who carry out pagan primitive disfiguring procedures on helpless little babies. So called HOLY men should get a term in a slaughter house to remind them of what cruelty is. Circumcision is just like the holocaust. Only the scale is different.


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Rabbi Sued for Performing a Bris in Germany

Following June’s controversial court ruling a doctor sues a rabbi

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