Chabad Leader Blasts Rabbis Group Over Circumcision Rite

Claims Opponents of Metzitza 'Against Jewish Interests'

getty images

By JTA

Published April 21, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Chabad-affiliated rabbi criticized a rival group for its public disapproval of a circumcision-related ritual currently under investigation in Germany.

Some Jewish leaders “decided to align themselves with those who are working against Jewish interests,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, wrote in an editorial Thursday in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

The editorial by Margolin, who is personally affiliated with the Chabad movement, followed a statement by the Conference of European Rabbis that said the practice of metzizah b’peh – oral suction of blood from the circumcision wound – carried risk of disease.

The statement was made in connection with complaints filed by an anti-circumcision activist against Yehudah Teichtal, the Chabad rabbi in Berlin, for allegedly allowing metzizah b’peh at the brit milah of his son last month.

Margolin wrote that Jews critical of metzizah b’peh may have been acting out of hope “to restore peace to the Jewish community. This is a miscalculation to the extreme,” he said, adding: “It won’t be long at all before governments will once again accuse Europe’s Jews of inhumane and uncultured practices.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the Moscow-based president of the Conference of European Rabbis, told JTA he had wanted to be “supportive of [Teichtal] without endangering the whole issue of brit milah,” and to make clear that “Orthodoxy is on the side of medicine in this issue.”

Teichtal said his son’s brit met the highest medical standards. Germany’s circumcision law, passed in December, requires that medical standards be upheld.

The head of the Central Council of Jews In Germany, Dieter Graumann, issued a statement supporting the Conference of European Rabbis’ criticism of metzizah b’peh.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.