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.