Berlin Jews reject Germany restrictions on brit mila

Jewish community unanimously objects to order outlining stringent new conditions for medical circumcision.

September 7, 2012 03:17
1 minute read.
German Sen. Thomas Heilmann

German Sen. Thomas Heilmann 370 (R). (photo credit: Thomas Peter / Reuters)


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BERLIN – The representative assembly of Berlin’s Jewish community objected on Thursday to an administrative order issued by the Berlin senator for justice and consumer protection outlining stringent new conditions for circumcision.

Sen. Thomas Heilmann from the Christian Democratic Union party posted his directive on the city’s website, including the specification that Jewish ritual be performed by a doctor rather than a mohel.

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The Jewish assembly of the 10,500-strong community wrote in a statement that it “took notice” of Heilmann’s decree and slammed the decision as a “flagrant intervention in the over-3,000-year tradition of Judaism.”

The assembly said it “unanimously rejected the statement of the Senate for justice and consumer protection administration.”

Berlin, which is both the capital city of Germany and a federal state, will continue to criminalize circumcision unless it is performed by a doctor and the state advises the parents of the risk associated with male circumcision.

According to Berlin’s government, the local authorities are waiting for national legislation to remedy the uncertain legal situation.

The Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti- Semitism announced a September 9 rally with a broad-based coalition of groups to protest for “religious freedom and the decriminalization of circumcision.”

The JFDA said Muslims, Christians and Jews are slated to attend, including Kenan Kolat, the national head of the Turkish community in Germany. Berlin’s Orthodox rabbi, Yitzchak Ehrenberg will also be present.

The prosecutor’s office recently dismissed a complaint against Ehrenberg based on his advocacy of circumcision.

The rally is planned to take place in Bebelplatz in the district of Mitte in east Berlin.

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