Berlin prosecutor nixes circumcision complaint

Exclusive: Prosecutors dismiss criminal complaint against Rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg for performing ritual circumcision.

August 30, 2012 16:43
1 minute read.
Rabbi listens to debate on circumcision in Germany

Germany Circumcision (R370). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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BERLIN – Prosecutors dismissed a criminal complaint lodged against popular Berlin Rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg for causing bodily harm while performing circumcision, according to a prosecution document obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

A complaint was filed against the Jerusalem-born Ehrenberg on July 12 – for performing circumcision and for his statement on a German talk show supporting the continuation of brit mila – and dismissed as unfounded in an August 15 letter.

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The prosecution’s dismissal document concluded that there is no proof to establish that the rabbi’s conduct met the “condition of a criminal” violation.

The Post learned on Wednesday that the city of Berlin, which is one of 16 Federal German States, is considering not implementing the June Cologne court decision outlawing Jewish and Muslim circumcisions.

The Berlin prosecutor office’s document suggests that the Berlin government rejects the Cologne decision.

According to the prosecutor’s letter, “even if a non-medical circumcision were to take place it would not meet the elements of severe bodily harm.”

A German doctor filed a criminal charge in August against Rabbi David Goldberg for performing circumcision.

Dr. Sebastian Guevara Kamm from Giessen, in the German state of Hesse, lodged the complaint on the basis of the June Cologne ruling, in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, that non-medical circumcision is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body.”

The local prosecutor’s office is still investigating the complaint against Goldberg. The rabbi and mohel, or person trained in the practice of Jewish circumcision, sees the complaint as part of an anti-Semitic campaign spreading throughout the Federal Republic.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post via email on Thursday that “the SWC hopes this important decision will lead all local German governments to commit not to respond to frivolous, hateful criminal complaints against German rabbis and mohels.”

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