First German Jew Charged With Practicing Judaism (UPDATED)
As mentioned in this space back in June, a German court recently ruled that circumcision of infant boys violates the “fundamental right” of children to “bodily integrity.” We now have the first fallout from this assault on religious freedom, according to the Times of Israel:
For the first time, criminal charges have been pressed against a German rabbi for performing circumcisions, a Jewish weekly reported on Tuesday.
A doctor from Hesse filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, who serves in the community of Hof, in Upper Franconia (northern Bavaria), according to the Juedische Allgemeine weekly newspaper. The chief prosecutor of Hof confirmed that charges had been filed against the rabbi. The charges are based on the controversial decision of a Cologne district court, which ruled in June that circumcisions for religious reasons constitute illegal bodily harm to newborn babies.
“I am shocked,” said Cologne Rabbi Yaron Engelmayer, co-chairman of the national umbrella group of Orthodox rabbis in Germany, in a first reaction to the report. This marks the first time that a court in the Federal Republic of Germany is investigating a rabbi for performing a religious ritual, Engelmayer told the paper.
Goldberg, a qualified mohel (ritual circumciser) who says he has performed more than 3,000 circumcisions, was informed about the criminal charges against him by journalists, the paper said.
“This latest development in Hof is yet another grave affront to religious freedom and underlines the urgent need for the German government to expedite the process of ensuring that the fundamental rights of minority communities are protected. We call upon the Minister of the Interior to take immediate action to secure those rights in the short term,” Conference of European Rabbis, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said.
Behold the future of the enlightened West.
UPDATE: Next up on the anti-religious freedom front is Scandinavia:
Although Scandinavian societies and governments have led opposition to circumcision long before June’s ruling in Cologne, the debate has taken “a nasty turn” since the German court’s ruling, [Finn] Schwarz[, president of the Jewish Congregation of Copenhagen,] says.
Several politicians in Denmark, Norway and Finland said this summer that they were in favor of banning circumcision. Yet no party has submitted a bill to restrict the ritual.
UPDATE: Jill Woodliff asked the American embassy in Germany for addresses if you’d like to write to the Germans and tell them to keep their hands off religious freedom:
Dear Ms. Woodliff, Thank you for your e-mail. Here are the addresses of the court in the city Hof, of the German parliament and of the German chancellor.
Platz der Republik
Chancellor Angela Merkel
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