Chief Rabbi Metzger visits Berlin on circumcision issue

August 21, 2012 21:42

BERLIN –  Cchief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said in Berlin that medical training for mohels, or ritual circumcisers, could resolve concerns in Germany regarding circumcision of male children.

In meetings Tuesday with government officials and Berlin's Jewish community, Metzger noted that mohels could be trained and certified by German doctors. But he emphasized that the Chief Rabbinate in Israel has to make final decision on whether a mohel is up to par.

The suggestion echoes that of the Brussels-based Conference of European Rabbis, which in July announced that Germany's mainstream Orthodox rabbinical body, the ORD, would create an association of mohels to be supervised by the Association of Jewish Doctors and Psychologists. This project already "is in the works," Israel Meller, ORD administrator, told JTA Tuesday.

At issue is a ruling in May by a Cologne district court, which said that the circumcision of male infants may be done for only medical reasons. All other circumcisions of a minor would be considered inflicting bodily harm, according to the ruling. The case involved the circumcision of a Muslim boy, but affects both Jews and Muslims.

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