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Israeli Rabbinical Court Forcing Divorcée to Circumcise Son

The woman argued that the rabbinical court does not have jurisdiction over her son.
Rabbinical court (illustration image).

Rabbinical court (illustration image).
Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir / Flash 90

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A rabbinical court in Netanya this week forced a divorced woman to facilitate the performance of a Jewish circumcision for her son, Behadrei Haredim reported.

During the divorce process, which Israeli Jews contest in rabbinical court, the husband requested that the regional rabbinical court in Netanya, about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv, to compel his wife to give their son a legal circumcision. The court accepted his request.

The woman argued that the rabbinical court does not have jurisdiction over her son, and may not decide on what constitutes a dangerous medical procedure for him, especially since the boy is not a party to the divorce procedure.

She argued that the authority to decide on this matter belongs exclusively in family court.

But the rabbinical judges, Rabbis Michael Amos, Sheur Pardes and Ariel Yanai, rejected the woman’s argument and determined that when a couple is in a dispute over the treatment of their son, the dispute may be resolve either in family or in rabbinical court.

“The circumcision,” wrote the judges, “is a simple surgery which is conducted on every Jewish baby eight days or older, around the world, for thousands of years. Therefore, when one of the parents demands it, the other party may not prevent it unless a medical danger can be proven.”

The judges added: “The minor’s entire educational construct depends on the performance of the Brit Milah-circumcision; therefore the mother’s claim that the circumcision is unrelated the child’s guardianship and education is refuted and rejected.

“The circumcision is the sign, the mark, the distinguishing detail of the Jewish identity of every Jew wherever he may be, and whatever his spiritual state. An uncircumcised Jew’s Jewish identity is incomplete and defective.”

Therefore, the mother’s request was rejected and the court ordered her to have the circumcision be performed within seven days, or suffer a financial penalty.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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51 Responses to “Israeli Rabbinical Court Forcing Divorcée to Circumcise Son”

  1. Circumcision hurts but we can't remember.

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    And if she doesn't do it, is the rabbinical court gonna send the dicks after this kid?

  3. Read the words, financial penalties. You might be one of those dicks.

  4. So do Mumps shots. so what?

  5. Ellen Francis says:

    Circumcision is the sign of the covenant between this lady's son and his God. She has a responsibility to ensure it is carried out. Believe me, he will not thank her later if he is denied brit milah.

  6. Michael Keith says:

    Ethnic identity is soooooo nineteenth century. Can we just make some progress already!

  7. Richard Lis says:

    Whenever there's the option for suffering or non-suffering, the western religions will always choose to side of suffering.

  8. Andrew Gross says:

    I'm shocked! Shocked! To learn that a religious court in the Jewish nation supports the parent who favors circumcision for a Jewish boy. Next you'll try to tell me that Jews are demanding the right to have kosher food.

  9. AC Stubbs says:

    Patricio Bernard De Gouveia You must be a pathetic neo-nazi Where in the Torah does it EVER discuss female circumscion NO WHERE

  10. Molly Adams says:

    AC Stubbs Actually, while the Torah never discusses female circumcision, the Beta Israel (who are considered Jewish by Eretz Yisrael, btw) do in fact practice female circumcision and consider it part of "their Judaism"…just like Ashkenazim consider no kitniyos on Pesach "their Judaism".
    What would you say to them?

  11. Molly Adams says:

    AC Stubbs The Beta Israel think that G-d wants it

  12. Dafna Levi says:

    You're absolutely right.
    The child will be very happy and grateful if you perform the circumcision properly.
    Disgusting and smelly foreskin, only causes disease, sorrow, and even death increased AIDS infectionבטל עריכות

  13. Yechiel Baum says:

    That is the law! Obey it!

  14. Molly Adams says:

    Yechiel, for many Muslims, the "law" is to circumcise their daughters. Do you think they should obey it?

  15. Sentient Man says:

    Dafna Levi No it doesn't. Denmark's male circ rate is less than 1% and they have far less STDs than the western world, where circ is much higher.

  16. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Patricio Bernard De Gouveia There is absolutely no comparison between the two! What is done to girls is to keep them from experiencing sexual pleasure.

  17. Myriam Obadia says:

    Nicole Fischer she doesn't have a retractable foreskin. The female equivalent is the hymen and the 1st intercourse usually takes care of it.

  18. Molly Adams says:

    Chaiya Eitan I would urge you to read what the Rambam says in Guide to the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 49.

  19. Hugh Intactive says:

    More like the right to force-feed a child.

  20. Hugh Intactive says:

    Dafna Levi Intact and mumble years old here, and still wating for all this disease, sorrow and death. Don't any woman talk about a man's parts being "disgusting and smelly"…

  21. Hugh Intactive says:

    Even if you were right that she has any such responsibility, no court has any right to force her to do it. And "his" god? He is a baby who hasn't chosen which of 5000 gods to believe in, if any. Many of them reportedly abhor circumcision.

  22. Hugh Intactive says:

    Myriam Obadia No, the female equivalent is the clitoral hood. That is what was removed in female circumcision in the USA – paid for by Blue Cross Blue Shield until 1997.

  23. Hugh Intactive says:

    So it would be OK to smack a baby upside the head? He wouldn't remember that, either.

  24. Jason Fairfield says:

    Are we seriously to believe hat if she pays the fine, the matter is over and court will leave her and the child alone?

  25. Dafna Levi That's ridiculous! Intact genitals are only "smelly" if personal hygiene is not attended to…..in fact circumcision doesn't replace personal hygiene! In fact women with intact genitals have to attend to personal hygiene too…..foreskin is normal and does not "cause" disease, in fact it is a functional part of the male penis as designed by nature. Making unwise sexual choices including not using condoms increases the likelihood of diseases like HIV….circumcision does NOT prevent HIV transmission. Get your facts straight!

  26. Mary Conant says:

    So what is the financial penalty?

  27. Michael Huebner says:

    Well if she is a good mother she will think of the welfare of her child first and pay the penalty or leave the country.

  28. Karina Elizabeth Rubidium Rider says:

    Myriam Obadia The female prepuce (foreskin) is NOT the hymen, it is the clitoral hood and in fact does retract. I hope none of you are Christian, because God later (Galatians) considered circumcision completely unnecessary.

  29. James Loewen says:

    Dafna Levi, If you think foreskin is "disgusting and smelly" then I suggest you have your foreskin amputated immediately to make yourself less disgusting and less smelly. Perhaps that will also help you get over your culturally imposed prejudice too.

    Every human male and female is born with a foreskin. Foreskin serves many reasons primarily protection of the glans (clitoris and penis) and erotic and immunological functions too.

  30. James Loewen says:

    Myriam Obadia WRONG! The female equivalent structure to a male foreskin on a woman's genitals is the foreskin of the clitoris.

    Your logic is flawed and your knowledge of anatomy is too.

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