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May 3, 2016 / 25 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Brit Mila’

Germany’s Nationalist ‘Alternative fur Deutschland’ Says ‘Ban Circumcision’

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Germany’s third largest party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is taking aim at Muslim practices, several of which are shared with Jews.

The party is calling for a ban on circumcision and halal slaughter, similar in many ways to kosher slaughter.

The move comes as citizens go to the polls for regional elections on Sunday, ahead of a vote on a proposed national AfD manifesto April 30 at a party congress in Stuttgart.

The nationalist “Alternataive fur Deutschland” party, known as an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and anti-migrant party, is already on course to overtake the Social Democrats in second place in the elections in Rhineland-Palatinate. The party also made a strong showing in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt last week as well.

AfD already holds seats in five of 16 German regional assemblies, though it is not part of any regional government, Politico reported on Friday.

The party seeks a ban on minarets and the muezzin Islamic call to prayer five times a day, along with legislation against halal slaughter and male circumcision.

The party claims the minaret is a “symbol of Islamic rule,” according to a report in Bild. Islamic policies “contradict a tolerant coexistence of religions” according to the party, which claims that only Christian churches that value at present.

The party states halal practices are contrary to the German Animal Protection Act and would be considered cruel if halal were not considered a faith-based ritual.

AfD states that circumcision is contrary to human dignity and disregards the fundamental rights to physical integrity and self-determination of the affected male children, according to the report.

Never mind all the research studies that prove the health benefits of circumcision – why would those be relevant?

Hana Levi Julian

Muslim-Jewish Coalition Defeats European Attempt to Ban Circumcision

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

European anti-circumcision activists have lost their battle to ban the ritual that is sacred to Jews and is practiced by Muslims although it is not commanded in the Koran.

Several European countries have been campaigning for several years to ban circumcision based on claims that is violent and that it violates “children’s rights.”

The European Council voted against a proposal to ban circumcision, and opponents settled for a decision that requires those performing circumcisions to be experts and to inform parents of possible dangers.

Meretz Knesset Member Issawi Frej, an Israeli with Arab citizenship, joined the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council, the Conference of European Rabbis, and Islamic groups who argued against the proposal.

He told the European Council that anyone who opposes circumcision should try to convince people through education and not by coercion.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Circumcision – Are Muslims Doing It Wrong?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Originally published at Jewish Business News

Religious Jewish circumcision, as well as your run-of-the-mill hospital circumcision, are done in the first couple of weeks of life. But in 6 percent of U.S. boys, the procedure is done much later, according to new research, increases the risk of complications and increases costs.

The study, published online Oct. 20 in Pediatrics, analyzed 2010 MarketScan claims data from commercial health plans, using procedural codes to identify circumcisions performed on males aged 0 to 18 years, and diagnostic codes to assess clinical indications for the procedure.

“Among circumcisions performed in the first year of life, we estimated rates for neonates and postneonates. We estimated the percentage of circumcisions by age among males who had circumcisions in 2010, and the mean payment for neonatal and postneonatal procedures.”

The study found that 156,247 circumcisions were performed, with 146,213 (93.6%) in neonates and 10,034 (6.4%) in postneonates.

Among postneonatal circumcisions, 46.6% were performed in males younger than 1 year and 25.1% were for nonmedical indications. The mean payment was $285 for a neonatal and $1,885 for a postneonatal circumcision.

The study concluded that “the large number of nonmedical postneonatal circumcisions suggests neonatal circumcision might be a missed opportunity for these boys. Delay of nonmedical circumcision results in greater risk for the child, and a more costly procedure.”

Islamic traditions do not determine a particular time for circumcision, despite the commonly held notion (among non-Muslims) that they follow the example of biblical Ishmael, who was circumcised at 13 years old.

The age of circumcision in Islam depends on family and geography. A majority of Muslims believe parents should circumcise their child before the age of ten, preferably seven. In any event, it should be done before puberty. In Malaysia, the operation is a rite of puberty, separating the boy from childhood and ushering him into adulthood.

Tibbi Singer

Metzitza B’Peh – Knowledge is Power

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

It is a hot button issue that raises the hackles of the right. And it has been discussed to death. But the subject has come up again with a recent decision by a federal court criticizing the New York City Board of Health requirement of informed consent with respect to Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) – the over 3000 year old tradition of direct oral suction of the blood from the circumcision wound.

I understand the right wing argument against this requirement. But I still strongly disagree with them. To briefly restate the issue, the sages delineated the procedure for a Halachic circumcision (Bris Mila). The final step – Metziza (withdrawal of the blood) – is listed as the mandatory health requirement part of this procedure. Chazal required it in the belief that it was dangerous to the health of the child to leave that blood on the open circumcision wound. Although the Talmud never tells us how to do it, Metzitza has always been done B’Peh – by oral suction.

Over a century ago, when some babies died as a result of doing MbP, there were major Poskim who said it could be done in other, more sterile ways. There are Poskim today that say the same thing. On the other hand there are Poskim that disagree and say that MbP is an absolute requirement and that Metzitza must be done orally.

A few years ago there were some babies that died shortly after their Bris – having contracted the herpes virus. It was determined that the Mohel had a live herpes virus but at the time it was asymptomatic. The New York City Health Department concluded that the herpes virus was contracted by the baby via the direct oral suction of the circumcision wound by the Mohel. Long story short – as a result of that conclusion they issued a requirement that parents give their informed consent in writing if they wanted the Mohel to use MbP.

Then all hell broke loose. Those communities (mostly Chasidic) that believe that MbP is a Halachic requirement felt that the government was encroaching on their religious rights. They took legal action and were joined by Agudath Israel in filing a federal lawsuit claiming a violation of the separation clause of the first amendment. Furthermore fueling the debate is the fact that many non Chasidic Yeshiva type communities prefer MbP – considering it more Mehudar (an enhancment of the basic Halachic requirement).

The right wing has also characterized this as an attack on Bris Mila itself – seeing this intrusion into our religious practices a slippery slope towards a ban on Mila itself.

The New York board of health on the other hand saw this as a health issue. In a nod to the first amendment they did not ban MbP since a baby contracting herpes from an infected Mohel is a rare occurrence. But they do consider it dangerous enough to require a warning. This is why they require informed consent in writing by the parents of a child about to be circumcised by a Mohel using MbP.

This all made sense to me. But in an surprising decision, a federal court issued a sharp criticism of this rule as specifically targeting a religious community… and thus violating the constitutional amendment separating church from state.

Avi Shick has written an op-ed in the New York Daily News supporting that decision – asking New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio to rescind the requirement for informed consent. Avi is basically saying that the government should keep its nose out of our business. What about the health issue? He calls their argument about that weak. Among other things he says the following:

Harry Maryles

The First Brit Milah at Oz veGaon

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

About two months after Givat Oz veGaon was established, in memory of the three youths Gilad Sha’er, Eyal Yifrah, and Naftali Frenkel, may they be avenged, a moving event was held on the hill – the first brit milah (circumcision) ceremony in the forest, which is situated facing the Gush Etzion junction.

David and Ilana Brenner, residents of Elazar in Gush Etzion, invited their guests, relatives, and the mohel to Givat Oz veGaon, where the ceremony was conducted. The baby, who became part of the renewed history of Gush Etzion, was named Oz Michael.

The baby’s grandmother, Naomi Brenner, one of those expelled from Yamit, emotionally summed up the event: “We felt a special atmosphere here, in the place that is named after the precious boys who fell. A brit symbolizes continuity. We look at one another here with joy, and the desire to be in Eretz Israel.”

The baby’s grandfather, Igor Tofeld, added: “This isn’t just a moving event because we gathered in this place. This is our first grandchild, and I am very happy that Ilana and David chose this location. This symbolizes that the people of Israel lives, and that with all that has happened, we will be victorious.”

The mohel, Rabbi Hayyim Moshe Weisberg, too, expressed his emotion at performing the first brit at a new Jewish site.

Oz veGaon was first settled by members of Women in Green and the Zionist Midrasha, the night after the murder became known. In the days and weeks that have passed since then, many youth and visitors from all over Israel have come to the hill, that is next to the site of the kidnapping. They renovated and restored the site, and started to establish the infrastructure needed to turn it into a regional tourism center.

“The preserve was established to continue life in Eretz Israel, give a living soul and provide a constant Jewish presence at another location in Gush Etzion. It therefore was only natural for the family to conduct their first son’s brit here, in the Oz veGaon preserve, and to call their baby Oz Michael,” say the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar. They add that “the phrase ‘In your blood live’ [recited during the brit ceremony] received redoubled significance here.”

The two, as well as the activists and supporters from among the nearby communities and the members of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, call upon the public at large “to conduct events at the site, to enjoy the beautiful forest and the facilities that have been established, and to strengthen the Jewish presence.”

Nadia Matar

Rabbis, Pols Slam Brit Mila Decision

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Haredi politicians blasted a Supreme Court decision Sunday that granted a mother the right to refuse her son’s circumcision.

The case in question stems from divorce proceedings currently before the Israeli family court. Last year, the civil court ruled that both parents must agree to the traditional brit mila procedure, but the father challenged the ruling in the rabbinical court. The latter ordered that the baby be circumcised, and levied a NIS 500 fine against the woman for every day she refused to submit the baby to be circumcised.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote, “the Jewishness of a Jewish boy is one of the matters that can be included in divorce, for if we rule otherwise, [this would mean that] a parent cannot include a cardinal and essential subject regarding his decision about the life of his child in the separation arrangements from his spouse – which in my eyes is inappropriate.”

In the political arena, reaction to the ruling came fast and furious. Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef called the ruling a landmark “yet another worrisome escalation in the ongoing trend, in recent years, to limit the authority of the Rabbinical Court. “

In addition, MK Aryeh Deri, leader of the Sephardi Haredi party Shas, called the ruling a “scandal.”

“Our forefathers, who sacrificed their lives for this commandment for thousands of years, did not dream that the state they hoped for would prevent a Jewish father from circumcising his son.”

On the Ashkenazi side of the spectrum, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) claimed that “In the political climate that the present government exudes, with new anti-religious bills being presented on a weekly basis, it is only natural that the High Court would continue with its rulings that contradict the Jewish heritage and our right to exist here as Jews, and contribute to the division of the nation.”

 

Meir Halevi Siegel

Council of Europe Executives Advise Inaction on Male Circumcision

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Council of Europe has climbed down from along and weak limb by issuing a letter that in effect neutralizes a resolution by its parliament that equated mutilation of female genitals and non-medical circumcision of boys for religious purposes.

The Council called them “by no means comparable.”

The Council of Europe’s leadership sent a letter to the parliament that advised it against further attempts by members to target ritual circumcision.

European rabbis praised the Council of Europe’s leadership.

Rabbi Mendel Samama of the Conference of European Rabbis said the letter was a “sign of real progress on the issue of religious circumcision in Europe.”

The letter was in reaction to a controversial resolution passed by the council’s parliament last year that said the circumcision of boys was a “violation of the physical integrity of children.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the letter a “significant step” that he said is “particularly pleasing in light of a worrying trend across Europe where liberal extremes have taken precedence over the basic human right of religious practice.”

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/council-of-europe-executives-advise-inaction-on-male-circumcision/2014/04/10/

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