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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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It’s Official: No Circumcision in Germany – Jewish Hospital Bans the Brit


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Photo Credit: Gershon Elison/Flash90

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The Jewish Hospital in Berlin has suspended all religious circumcisions of children following a ruling delivered by a German court on June 24 banning the practice.

The district court in Cologne ruled that circumcising young boys “is a serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body,” and raised an outcry of protest from Jewish and Muslim groups, both religions performing circumcisions on their children as a symbol of religious faith.

The ruling was made on a case in which a 4 year-old Muslim boy’s circumcision by a doctor led to pervasive bleeding and medical complications.

Gerhard Nerlich, a spokesman for the hospital, announced that “we are suspending circumcisions until the legal situation is clarified”.

The hospital performs approximately 100 religious circumcisions a year.  Two surgeries scheduled to take place were cancelled by the hospital, with calls placed to the families explaining the reason.

In its ruling, the court found that performing the religious circumcisions impinged on a child’s “fundamental right to bodily integrity” and was “against the interests of a child to decide for himself later on to what religion he wishes to belong”.  “Even when done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents, [circumcision] should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried out on a boy unable to give his own consent”, the court said.  It noted that once a boy reaches the age of consent, he will be permitted to have a religious circumcision performed on himself.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned the ruling as “an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion on the self-determination of religious communities”, calling it “outrageous and insensitive”.

Rabbi Shimshon Nadel of Har Nof, Jerusalem, said the ruling was indicative of Germany’s sentiments toward Jews.  “Throughout Jewish history, there have been many attempts to ban circumcision – this is nothing new, and unfortunately, anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head in Germany,” he said.  “The circumcision procedure is something that is safe when performed by a trained mohel [performer of ritual circumcisions], we’ve been doing it for thousands of years, so it really comes down to the training of the mohel.”

The World Health Organization estimated that approximately 1/3 of men around the world are circumcised.

Germany is home to millions of Muslims and over 100,000 Jews.

Chabad of Berlin could not be reached for comment.

 

Please see the petition on Germany’s ban.

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About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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81 Responses to “It’s Official: No Circumcision in Germany – Jewish Hospital Bans the Brit”

  1. Scott Bear says:

    Last time they did this…

  2. So a godless government feels that it is qualified to interfere in a covenant made between almighty God and His chosen people. Somehow I see this decision coming back to bite the Germans.

  3. Germany is looking to achieve via the Courts what Hitler tried to achieve thru violence – a Judenrein Germany

  4. The Leopard doesn't change its spots.

  5. Sharon Gibson says:

    You would think that Germany would be the last place to make such a ruling. Guess you're right about those spots.

  6. Yehuda Alan says:

    Anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism the dislike of non-aryans is part of the german culture.

  7. Nathan Warszawski says:

    The Jewish Hospital in Berlin is not Jewish al all. Only its name.

  8. This from the country that invented bodily harm without consent.

  9. Hatred (or jealousy of Jews is a historical part of world culture!

  10. Carlos Obers says:

    Jede Religion (wie auch jede andere Gruppierung in Deutschland) hat das Recht respektiert zu werden, verbunden mit der Pflicht, andere zu respektieren.
    Dazu zählt die freie Ausübung von Religion, solange sie sich nicht anmaßt, ihre Glaubenslehren als allgemeinverbindliche Wahrheit gegenüber anderen durchsetzten zu wollen.
    Ebenso muss es selbstverständlich sein, dass jede religiöse Gemeinschaft ihren eigenen Mythos leben, sowie ihren Kult und Ritus uneingeschränkt ausüben darf, solange er die Freiheit anderer nicht einschränkt.
    Man kann die Frage stellen, ob das Bescheiden von Knaben oder aber auch das rituelle Schlachten (Schächten) von Tieren die Grenzen erlaubter Riten überschreitet.
    Das Argument, durch Beschneidung würde muslimischen wie jüdischen Knaben eine Versehrung im Sinne einer Behinderung zugefügt, ist allerdings absurd.
    Rituelle Schlachtungen könnten gesetzeswidrig werden, falls sich Tierquälerei nachweisen ließe. Generell ist die Aufzucht von Tieren zum Zwecke der Schlachtung bereits fragwürdig, wenn man dem Tier ein Recht auf Würde zubilligt. Bislang ist das im deutschen Grundgesetz jedoch nicht verankert.
    Xenophobe Kreise werden sich allerdings beeilen, unter der Maskerade der Menschen- und Tierliebe, wann immer möglich, Rechtsmittel gegen Muslime, Juden, Roma, wie auch gegen asiatische und afrikanische Migranten wirksam zu machen.
    Wir sollten aber darauf vertrauen, dass deutsche Richter nicht durchgehen dämlich sind. Die meisten interpretieren Gesetzestexte im Sinne des Rechts, nur wenige nach den Maximen rechter Ideologie.
    Es freut mich, dass Sie, Nathan Warzawski wie auch Henryk M. Broder Feueralarm geben, sobald Nazis am Rechtsstaat zündeln.

  11. Give your child the roots of faith. Later tradition.

  12. Anonymous says:

    ban on ritual circumcision, slaughter, cloaked in concern for human rights, concern for animal rights – BALONEY – just another way to stick it to the Jews, the Muslims are just collateral damage.

  13. Gerald Fleischmann says:

    Two points:
    1. I have four sons, all circumcised. The first circ was by a doc, and was a bit botched. The rest were by mohels and were just fine. I recommend mohels over doctors for a bris, and hospitals are an unnecessary adjunct.
    2. I don't believe Germany's ruling is anti-Semitic – just the result of an antireligious mentality that is on the rise worldwide. Germany has many laws that are enforced against anti-Semitism; but not against stupidity.

  14. Ruth Hirt says:

    Circumcision is beyond tradition, it was G_d-instituted. Its imposition to the Jews and even non-Jews will incur, as counted for obedience and scientifically-proven health benefits both to the former and the latter. Remember how Abraham experienced attempts on his life (by the L_rd G_d) when he delayed to obey the act? ( And I believe this statement is Biblically correct ).

  15. Margaret Traub says:

    Die Mohel werden weiter beschneiden!Hoffentlich wird es keine "Sittenpolizei " geben, die prüfen wird, ob die Söhne beschnitten sind. ( wie vor 70 Jahren,bei den Nazis)

  16. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Germany isn't some ordinary country when it comes to Jews. They fully understand the implications of what they're saying when they ban brit milah.

  17. Rc Fowler says:

    Its official–the German court is wrong!

  18. Avi Billet says:

    "It noted that once a boy reaches the age of consent, he will be permitted to have a religious circumcision performed on himself." HA! I am reminded of the great line of Rabbi Emanuel Rackman z"l who said, "I must firmly ask [non-Jews] to respect my religious convictions as I see them and not as they see them." I admire (am inspired by) all the Russian Jews who were circumcised when they got out of Russia – I don't know if all Jews will have the fortitude to take care of it if it isn't taken care of for them when they are babies (as many Russian adult men have told me – they "wish" it had been taken care of for them when they were babies).

  19. The Jews have a natural right to their Religious Heritage, since it is not a casual belief, but a social institution, and social institutions of faith are of Natural Law, higher than any "state" The state does not own the flesh of the people, nor does the state own the flesh of married people's children. This law brings us back to the nazi concept of building a master race. Years ago the Catholic Church opposed the circumcision on religious grounds, not on health, and when scientific health benefits were realized , the Catholic Church approved of circumcision as a health choice, seeing that Circumcision is proven to prevent diseases, including AIDS. This entire matter is being caused by the Atheists. The Bible says to circumcise on the eight day, and no one in any state government has a right to deny anyone a Biblically sound precept of religion. The Bible existed before the German State and will exist after it. Enough is enough.

  20. Ruth Hirt says:

    You simply prefer to be hostile and hateful, no, not necessarily about the issue, it is your repugnance against the Jews (G_d the Almighty had prophesied about your stance against HIS people epochs ago) bet you are not circumsized yourself, who is too yellow to bear a pinch of pain.

  21. Jason Birnbaum says:

    Ruth, you don't know Hugh, and nothing he said was hostile or hateful. Circumcision is an act, that when performed in other cultures, is considered inhumane, and is completely unnecessary. If we can replace animal sacrifices with scrolls of paper nailed to our doorways, why can't we replace this barbaric act with a prayer?

  22. Ruth Hirt says:

    Better read the Bible, you will find yourself talking blasphemies, otherwise, repent for the love of your soul.

  23. Ani Stubbs says:

    Hugh Intactive WRONG it is an attack on Jews hiding behind fake concern for Jewish children

  24. Ani Stubbs says:

    Hugh Intactive you can pretend you are not a bigot but we see that you are

  25. Well, they've got a Hitler in the judiciary, so I guess it didnt work out so well.

  26. Hugh Intactive says:

    The case arose from a Muslim boy with serious complications.

  27. Hugh Intactive says:

    You can't have it both ways. If it is brave to undergo circumcision, then it is cowardly to impose it. But why would I ever want to have (the best) part of my genitals cut off?

  28. Hugh Intactive says:

    Nobody owns the flesh of any children, except the children themselves. Their parents only hold them in trust until they are adults and able to decide for themselves whether to have parts cut off. That is what the court has ruled, based on the German Basic Law.

    "Biblically sound"? So some precepts of religion are Biblically unsound? Who decides, and how?

  29. Hugh Intactive says:

    Ruth Hirt You can't have it both ways. If it is brave to undergo circumcision, then it is cowardly to impose it. http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

  30. Jaden Carver says:

    Ani Stubbs – don't be an idiot. Infants do not have religious beliefs, and thus are rightly protected from abuse. I was cut as an infant and dispise my parents for cutting of a very sensitive part of my body that I will never get back. Hating circumcision has nothing to do with hating jews. Stop being an idiot. Seriously.

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