Europe Council Vows No Ban on Circumcision

Assure Rabbis Rite Is Key 'Part of Judaism'

By JTA

Published November 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Council of Europe will not ban Jewish ritual circumcision of boys, Council Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland assured members of the Conference of European Rabbis.

Jagland said Monday in Berlin that he wanted to make it “absolutely clear… that in no way does the Council of Europe want to ban the circumcision of boys. It is a very important part of Judaism and of Jewish life.” He spoke during a news conference with rabbinical leaders as part of the conference’s annual convention.

Referring to a non-binding, anti-circumcision resolution passed last month by the council’s Parliamentary Assembly, Jagland said no European Union member country had actually banned the practice. “We have an obligation to protect it” on behalf of freedom of religion, he added.

In recent years, ritual circumcision of boys and ritual slaughter of animals have come under attack in Europe, particularly by right-wing populist political movements.

It is Muslims, not Jews, who are the main target of these attacks, noted Conference of European Rabbis head Pinchas Goldschmidt, chief rabbi of Moscow, in an address to nearly 250 member rabbis at a gala dinner at the Jewish Museum Monday.

But “European Jewry is… the ‘collateral damage’ in this anti-Muslim offensive,” he said.

Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told JTA he would like to know “what [Jagland] is doing, tacheles,” to protect religious freedom in Europe – and he offered to help.

Meanwhile, the Conference of European Rabbis is moving forward with its program to help European Jews find a mohel, or ritual circumciser, online.

Vienna Rabbi Shlomo Hofmeister told JTA that the Conference of European Rabbis’ Union of Mohelim in Europe will go online within days. Orthodox mohels who meet stringent medical requirements will be listed there and parents will be able to contact them through the site. Mohels may not charge a fee for performing a brit milah, but may ask parents for compensation for travel and lodging, Hofmeister said. The website, whose address has not yet been announced, will also provide legal advice to mohelim.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/11/12/news-opinion/world/council-of-europe-head-reassures-rabbi-on-ritual-circumcision#ixzz2kRWJ7Dpg


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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.