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The German Ban on Circumcision

Echoes of Hitler reverberate.

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Visitor Comments: 36

(22) Anonymous, July 15, 2012 1:58 PM

confusion about the law

Why was a muslim boy circumsized? Could the judges not made it applicable to non-jews only? It seems to me they should not interfere with the religious practices of the Jews.

(21) Conrad T., July 9, 2012 12:53 AM

I think your take on the reason for marriage problems is correct. From my observation, I would also add that quite often one or both partners exhibit some measure of low self-esteem as well.

(20) Beverly Kurtin, July 6, 2012 2:52 AM


Good GRIEF! Has anyone bothered to READ THE DECISION? The decision prohibits DOCTORS in HOSPITALS from performing circumcision. It does not say a thing about in-hone circumcision where 99% of circumcisions are done by an expert. The law does NOT outlaw circumcision at all! This is a case where people are going off the deep end of something that was not said by the courts. Hashem said that it has to be done: He never said it had to be done in a hospital by a doctor, did he?

(19) Anonymous, July 5, 2012 7:31 AM

There are people who want to move out of that country. If you can judge someone for their place of living, what are you gonna do to help them? Its easy to talk and to judge.

(18) Rachel, July 4, 2012 10:47 PM

Sorry, Rabbi, medical facts ARE what should influence the court

A secular court in Germany has no business deciding about procedures impacting young children on any other basis than medical issues. Several European countries with large Muslim populations have banned female genital mutilation for girls under the age of 18, as well as banning travel out of the country for the purpose of having the procedure performed on an underage girl. I believe that the US states which are home to certain fundamentalist sects have bans on snake-handling, especially by children, with potential criminal prosecution of adults if a child is hurt or killed by snakebite in such a church. Countries ban many practices that may have roots in antiquity but are not in keeping with modern secular social norms. The U.S. Supreme Court originally upheld prohibition of ingestion of peyote by Native American tribes that used it in religious rituals. Prohibition law carved out an exception for sacramental wine. Polygamy is still not recognized in the U.S., although groups from western Mormons to Middle Eastern Muslims to African members of traditional tribal religions accept the practice. I don't have access to the German court opinion. I imagine it will be appealed. If the court's holding is upheld, it may then be up to the Koln-area legislature or the national parliament to fix this. In any event, I think your comparison to Nazi Germany is utterly unfair. There seems to be no indication that the Koln court is "anti-conscience", merely that they are trying to protect children from parents who would permit them to be harmed for religious reasons. The best thing that the German judiciary and/or government can do is to require that circumcisions be performed only by properly trained practitioners -- including mohels and pediatricians, not just anyone with a medical degree.

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