Facing Charges, German Mohel Defends Circumcision

Rabbi David Goldberg, spiritual leader of the Jewish community in the small Bavarian town of Hof, spent the weekend far from the media circus that erupted last week after a German psychologist filed a criminal complaint against him for performing a circumcision. After having given dozens of interviews to media outlets in Israel, Germany and other countries, Goldberg spent the weekend at a seminar for Hebrew teachers in Bad Sobernheim, 400 kilometers from his home, and will travel today to Innsbruck, Austria, to circumcise another Jewish child.

The criminal complaint was based on a ruling by a German court in May that declared all circumcisions illegal on the grounds that they cause unwarranted physical harm to a child. Since then, the legal situation has been unclear. The German parliament has announced plans to pass legislation permitting circumcision, but hasn’t done so yet.

Goldberg, 64, said he has performed some 4,000 circumcisions in his life, including about 40 a year since moving from Israel to Germany in 1993 - a decision prompted, he said, by the thought that “there are enough rabbis and mohels [ritual circumcisers] in Israel, and here there’s a shortage.”

At first, he said, he was a little worried by the court’s decision, but “I believe the Holy One, blessed be He, will help.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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