German courts and circumcision: challenging the time honored Jewish tradition

German courts and circumcision: challenging the time honored Jewish tradition

According to Jewish law a newborn boy  is to be circumcised on the eighth day of  life. My three brothers and I, eight days after birth had this procedure. My nephews, son, and grandsons were all circumcised.

The ritual act of circumcision according to Jewish law has been in effect for than two thousand years. Is is a time honored tradition according to the covenant between God and Abraham who circumcised himself. That being said the Jewish law and tradition are being challenged by a German court that has ruled circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounst to bodily harm. This is even if parents consent to the procedure.

The Cologne, Germany state court said the child's right to physical integrity TRUMPS FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND PARENTS RIGHTS. The immediate reaction by the President of Germany's Central Council of Jews called the ruling "insensitive and outrageous". He urged the country's Parliament to clarify the legal situation "to protect religious freedom against attacks". Furthermore, the President of the Jewish Council in the world respects this religious right. Muslims also circumcise young boys, while many parents request the procedure for health reasons.

In Nazi Germany during the Holocaust the circumcision of Jewish new born boys was under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. If caught performing it, the parents and child were put to death. Today the assault on freedom of religion is under attack in Germany.  The reasons are bizarre and contrary to a Democracy that respects the separation of Church and State.

We learned one valuable legal lesson during the Holocaust, that man can create any law it wants and couches under the wishes of the State. After reading this ruling I called many of the friends who did not know of this insidious decision by the German Court and thought I was "pulling their leg". After reassurance this was the news of the day and not to be taken lightly they were all outraged. Many of them had suffered losses during the Holocaust and are sensitive to any new attacks against Jewish Law.

As they said "today it is circumcision and tomorrow it could be something else the German courts will declare the will of the State".  It is with great hope that the world will be outraged against this new assault on freedom of religion. The various Jewish agencies around the world are working on this problem and more announcements will be made in the near future.

If my immigrant neighbors in Lawndale on Chicago's west side knew of this they would rise from their graves to demand the abolition of this new German law.

Note: As of the publishing of this blog, it was announced within the last few minutes that the courts have ruled to "delay the procedure, not ban it". Delay until the male is old enough to decide on his own. This continues to ignore the time honored Jewish tradition of circumcision on the eighth day of life and does not recognize the religious importance.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • How is cutting off penis parts of another human a right. Where did you ever get the idea that baby boy penis parts removal is time honored?

    How does any one disagree with the point that amputating nerves, blood vessels, protective covering and pleasure zones is bodily HARM?

    Finally a country is standing up for the basic human right of a human to keep all of his sensory system, all of his nerves, all of his blood vessels, protective covering and pleasure zones.

    Other countries should follow this lead. Baby boy penis parts removal should be considered illegal NOW in the United States under the 1996 federal law banning genital cutting -- 14th Amendment equal protection clause.

    Those saying that preventing the cutting off of penis parts of a baby boy violates the cutter's freedom of religion, are way out there in irrational land. One's religion ends where their knife touches another human's body. The idea that another human's ritual (rite) trumps ones right to body parts is insane and creepy. Baby boy penis parts removal cuts off thousands of fine touch and stretch nerves. This is like disconnecting the fingertips, nipples or lips from the brain. No human should be subjected to sensory system harm as well as a forced decrease of sexual function and PLEASURE for life!

  • This makes me question the expression "time honored". How does the passage of time honor anything? Slavery, child labor, footbinding, the subjugation of women and many other commonplace evils were time honored, until we saw they were evils and stopped doing them.

    "In Nazi Germany during the Holocaust the circumcision of Jewish new born boys was under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. If caught performing it, the parents and child were put to death." Can you give a reference for that? My understanding was that the Nazis found circumcision useful for identifying Jews and didn't restrict it. But even if they did, the Nazis were certainly not concerned about the human rights of Jewish babies. Another blogger has compared this age-restriction with the yellow star, which we agree was wrong because it identified people as Jews without their consent - just like infant circumcision.

  • This makes me question the expression "time honored". How does the passage of time honor anything? Slavery, child labor, footbinding, the subjugation of women and many other commonplace evils were time honored, until we saw they were evils and stopped doing them.

    "In Nazi Germany during the Holocaust the circumcision of Jewish new born boys was under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. If caught performing it, the parents and child were put to death." Can you give a reference for that? My understanding was that the Nazis found circumcision useful for identifying Jews and didn't restrict it. But even if they did, the Nazis were certainly not concerned about the human rights of Jewish babies. Another blogger has compared this age-restriction with the yellow star, which we agree was wrong because it identified people as Jews without their consent - just like infant circumcision.

  • Let me give you all a tip...it is no skin off the backs of the Germans...pun intended. They have always navigated policy outside of respect for ancient customs and rituals especially when Judaism is the subject. This issue is a complicated matter no matter what your religious views are. Whatever your position is on this the fact remains that millions of people hold this tradition to be part of their religious and cultural heritage. That neither makes it right nor wrong. When considering the rights of the baby one must give credence to the issue of individuality. The decision to circumcise a male infant is often a medical choice rather than a religious one. This too remains a controversial matter in the medical field. The German court has advised a delay rather than a ban. This is a half-witted attempt to avoid taking a side...somewhat reminiscent of Judge Roberts' position on the Health Care Affordability Act. Nevertheless, a family has a right to raise their child within a religious tradition as long as there is no harm done to the child. Medically, circumcision has never been proven to be mutilation or has it been demonstrated to result in decreased sexual sensitivity or functioning. However, there is no way to establish a truly scientific study in this matter. We may never know for sure what effects, if any, circumcision has on a male undergoing the procedure. Spiritually speaking, it makes more sense for a person to choose their own conviction to a religious system when they are mature enough to understand what it truly means. Jewish and Christian traditions differ widely in this regard. Circumcision has always been deemed as a physical demonstration of faith rather than as a true spiritual commitment to faith--from the point of view of the male being circumcised by his parent's will--not his own. A true believer in a faith generally rises to this level as a full adult. To circumcise an infant is an act demonstrated by the parents...not the baby...do parents really have this right? ...even if God say so? My own point of view led me to circumcise my own son. I have no regrets, but the question still remains...did I have the right to?

Leave a comment