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First report against rabbi for circumcision

The Local · 22 Aug 2012, 17:00

Published: 22 Aug 2012 17:00 GMT+02:00

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“Until now there is no law which bans circumcision,” said David Goldberg on Wednesday after he was reported to the state prosecutor by a doctor.

“We received an official report against a rabbi in Hof, from a doctor in the state of Hesse,” state prosecutor Gerhard Schmitt told The Local.

“It was in connection with the circumcision of infant boys, and was cited as bodily harm, with reference to the verdict of a Cologne court.”

He said the report would be examined by a colleague who would decide whether there was reason enough to charge the rabbi.

He would take into consideration not only the Cologne court verdict, which said non-medical circumcision should be seen as bodily harm, but also parliamentary efforts towards a law legalising religious circumcision – and the discussion in the media.

This would certainly take a few weeks, said Schmitt.

Goldberg said he conducts around 30 circumcisions a year, sometimes in the presence of a doctor, sometimes not. He said he would never use anaesthetic, as that would be more dangerous for the baby. “The children always peacefully fall asleep just a few minutes after the procedure,” he said.

He said the report against him was motivated by anti-Semitism.

The doctor who reported him was named on Wednesday as Sebastian Guevara Kamm from Gießen, Hesse.

“I see myself bound by a duty to protect children, and that is not only concerning ritual circumcisers but also medical colleagues,” he said.

He accused Goldberg of carrying out the circumcisions in places not suitable for medical procedures, and said that the rabbi was not qualified as a doctor.

The Cologne district court ruled in June that a doctor who circumcised a boy for non-medical reasons was guilty of bodily harm, although it did not punish the man concerned. This set off a global debate, as Muslims and Jews have circumcised their boys for millennia and there is legal uncertainty about the issue in Germany.

Parliament passed a resolution last month saying it wanted to legalise religious circumcision – a medically expert circumcision of boys without unnecessary pain should be allowed, MPs agreed.

Story continues below…

The Justice Ministry is expected to put together a draft law along these lines. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said on Wednesday her officials were working intensely on the job and would present a draft law to parliament in the autumn.

Family Minister Kristina Schröder has called for the use of “appropriate anaesthetic” during circumcisions.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:37 August 22, 2012 by JackieNO
It's about time someone stood up to these wackos who still believe that the genital mutilation of baby boys is an acceptable practice in the 21st century. If they want to chop their own let them. Baby boy genital 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! Doing it to a defenseless baby is, or should be, a crime.
19:42 August 22, 2012 by steel jaws
Every justified criticism of Jews is automatically placed behind a shield bearing the words anti-Semitism. It is quite understandable when such reminders of German history tend to create nervousness amongst German politicians, but one should not treat religious emotion with the same importance as physical fact.

Since the founding of the FRD, the new smaller Germany has proved itself to be quite different to all predecessors bearing that name. Perhaps the most important change is the basis law which clearly demands the equality of rights.

Unfortunately, few German governments take their own written Constitution seriously. Repeatedly various groups of persons whose religious, cultural, ethnic or sexual identity, is not compatible to modern everyday life, as it is understood by the majority of the population, are given extra rights and privileges which completely contradict the values intended by the basis law.

While understanding that some religions, for the sake of tradition, still perform this rather disgusting mutilation on the human body, it is a scandal that this operation is carried out before the victim can choose for himself. Where is there the equality of rights? The child cannot defend itself and the damage done is irreversible.

Real anti- Semitism is certainly deplorable, but to mishandle a helpless baby is far more condemnable!
20:24 August 22, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Ouch, I get a pain in the dick even looking at those instruments. This is barbaric and has no place in the developed world. He is not qualified as a medical practicioner and does so without anestetic for the children. The law is obliged to protect these children even if he tries to hide behind the anti-semitism shield.
20:42 August 22, 2012 by Djuna
Maybe all of you calling this practice 'disgusting' can favor us with a list of other religious and cultural traditions you find objectionable. Then we can begin to outlaw those as well.
20:49 August 22, 2012 by intensive_care
@All... Are you all qualified enough to say about merits and demerits of circumcision? If not then let this issue be discussed through research in a proper intellectual manner.

And please stop talking about rights of babies when abortion, smoking and drinking during pregnancy is common trait among most Germans. We like to enforce our ideology on other when ourselves are corrupt.
20:51 August 22, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
OK so we can start stoning to death adulturers then? Just because there are still wrongs being done does not mean the courts should not condemn one until they are all condemned in unison.
20:53 August 22, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
here is my two cents !

parents always had (and should continue to have) special rights, sending young boys and girls to religious schools will do them more harm but I wouldn't support banning them.

now, does male circumcision rises to the threshold of the state stepping in and protecting the child? in my opinion NO. for a simple reason : if circumcision had really that much effect on the sexual pleasure , men would have stopped the practice long ago ..... if we were talking about female circumcision that would've been different !

unlike the female circumcision, where the suppression of sexual pleasure was the purpose, in male case it was for hygiene reasons. of course one can argue that its not needed nowadays but in hot and poor countries with limited access to water I would say it could be a solution (the World health Organisation agrees) to infections and therefore STDs

I my self is circumcised and I am not complaining ;-) I also had a conversation with someone how had a circumcision very late (in his mid 20s) because of medical reasons, he says he would not describe the feeling as "better" but its not that "different" either !
20:58 August 22, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Nobody is talking about the health benefits. This case has to do with unauthorisied medical treatment. If there is a medical need it should be carried out by qualified medical practitioners under anestetic. Nothing to do with poor countries needing it. Some poor countries stone to death adulterers. This may have the benefit of hindering the spread of SMDs but that does not make it right.
21:10 August 22, 2012 by catjones
I like tangential justifications. That way, instead of arguing a point's pros and cons, I can relieve the stress on my logical thinking and resort to easy red herrings.

If they're going to circumcise boys, then what about what happened to the American Indians? And speaking of Indians, where's the weapons of mass destruction?
21:15 August 22, 2012 by wxman
I guess some Germans still cannot resist puhing the Jews around, eh?
21:16 August 22, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@catjones: good one ! LOL
21:36 August 22, 2012 by marimay
Germans sure are a funny lot.
22:50 August 22, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
Is it not rather strange, how so often by claiming traditional rights, the rights of others are denied?

Does the child have a choice of its own, or is it forced to be a member of a religion for which it may, later as an adult have no respect?

Christians are baptised at an age in which nobody can tell what religion, if any, they will choose at a later date. This is the choice of the parents, but it does no damage to the body of the child.

It is doubtful if anybody wishes to deny Jews to follow the religion of their own will, but does this give them the right to force this belief on to the next generation? The reason given is, through this act the child moves nearer to God.This is at the least most suspect. Jacob ­ who according to the scriptures - introduced this ritual, was himself an old man before going under the knife. Was he not, according to the Jewish presentation, even before this act, a man with direct contact to the creator of this world?

There are hundreds of religious traditions, many of which are based on reasons long since forgotten, which make no sense in the world of the 21st century but which are performed out of habit. When this makes people happy, there no reason to ban them, but bodily harm is quite another question. During my time in a military hospital in Egypt, I saw many body parts removed in the operating theatre, this was however not meant to improve on the work of God, but to save lives. If God did not want us to have a complete body, he would not have given us one.
23:24 August 22, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
lots of people seems to start from the premise that circumcision is a bodily harm which is until proven otherwise is just not the case (otherwise the WHO wouldn't recommend it and again men would've stopped the practice long ago).

and spare me the crap about imposing a religion on the child .... last I checked anyone can leave or change his religion regardless of their foreskin status..we are talking foreskin not brain removal
23:45 August 22, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
That is not quite right Golf alpha! We who live in free countries can change our religions. To change a religion in some Middle East countries is a crime, possibly the worst thing you can do in some places! A Moslem in Egypt who wants to be a Christian plays with his life.
23:47 August 22, 2012 by BillyBardie
Let me just say this: I am Jewish, and I think that circumcision should be banned when it comes to children. I resent my parents for allowing it to be done to me. It's my penis, my foreskin, and should have been my choice. My sons are Jewish, but not circumcised. They should be able to decide for themselves if they want it done when they get older, since it's THEIR bodies we're talking about. This talk of antisemitism makes me roll my eyes. It would be antisemitism if we said grown men couldn't make the decision, but when it comes to children, it's protecting their human rights against body modification against their will.

This Jew is for banning infant circumcision worldwide. His body, his choice.
23:52 August 22, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@Kennneth Ingle: that true, I should know ! I was raised a Muslim but the point is circumcision is neither a a pre-requirement nor a disqualifier to inter or leave any religion it certainly did not prevent me from becoming Agnostic.
23:56 August 22, 2012 by ebbelwoiguy
@GolfAlphaYankee: To remove any body part without an immediate medical reason is bodily harm. The onus is on the proponent of surgery, no one else.

If the WHO case is so exalted then why aren't men in the developed and educated world lining up to be cut?

The crap in question comes in the form of both religion and junk science. Curious you mention brain removal. Male circumcision in the US became popular around the same time lobotomies on mental patients were all the rage.

One more thing. If a non Jewish man is already cut and he wants to convert to Judaism, it doesn't count since it wasn't done by a mohel.
00:19 August 23, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee

"To remove any body part without an immediate medical reason is bodily harm"

not sure to agree ! I would define it as something that would cause permanent damage or incapacity. circumcision don't rise to that standard.

"If the WHO case is so exalted then why aren't men in the developed and educated world lining up to be cut?"

evidently the benefits in an advanced country with access to water and modern medicine is less obvious but my point is its the parent's decision not the state.

I think people with the strongest opinion about the matter are the non circumcised because it plays into their phallic fears ... on the other hand circumcised men would look around and wonder what's all the fuzz about ( BillyBardie #16) seems to be an exception here ;-)
01:00 August 23, 2012 by marimay
I'm glad circumcision is common practice in the US and has nothing to do with religion.
01:12 August 23, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@ GolfAlphaYankee I am circumcised on medical grounds and I am glad I did it but I still do not agree with children being circumcised on religious grounds when it is not necessary. Same as getting your appendix out. It is fine once it is done but it shouldn't be done unless necessary and with consent.
08:08 August 23, 2012 by Herr Ed
I think we need to stop Catholics from baptizing their children as infants. It could be considered tantamount to waterboarding, and who knows what kind of damge it's been doing all these centuries (said with tongue firmly in cheek for those who can't recognize sarcasm) ;-)
08:53 August 23, 2012 by Aasvogel
I was circumcised; my son was not.

Times change: in our case, for the better.
09:55 August 23, 2012 by wood artist
Setting aside the two obvious issues...namely religion and "health benefits" there seems to me to be another question that deserves an answer.

In the US this would be considered a "medical procedure" and those performing it would be required to have a license to practice medicine, based upon the appropriate training, schooling, etc. I have no idea what "training" a rabbi receives, but I'm doubtful it's from a certified medical school with all the related training hours and such. How does German law handle this? I know about the ruling in Köln, but this is a more specific question.

Anybody have any info about this issue?

10:27 August 23, 2012 by furtfranker
It's no skin off my nose!
11:19 August 23, 2012 by Mr_BBQ
Wood Artist:

There is no requirement in the US for a mohel to have medical training. Anyone who is "competent" can circumcise.

Personally I think this is a bad strategy. The only important thing right now is to encourage other countries to also ban circumcision. This will validate Germany's actions, and relieve the pressure on them. Currently they are being accused of anti-semitism, etc.

We should not be prosecuting mohels (this early). Doing so risks having the Koln ruling overturned in the Federal Court. It's better to allow the law to remain unresolved as long as possible, Hopefully by keeping the law in existence for those years, it will allow other countries to ban circumcision, too. (All of Scandinavia, Holland, France, ... ?)

Also, Merkel is planning to introduce a law allowing circumcision. The best thing to do is let her do this foolish maneuver, and then challenge her law in court.
13:28 August 23, 2012 by ebbelwoiguy
@Herr Ed: Who would equate a touch of water with the permanent removal of a healthy body part?

It seems it's the circumcised who are the ones always hunting for the justifications. "If it was done to me, it'll be done to him."
20:56 August 23, 2012 by BierKerl
GolfAlphaYankee said: "I think people with the strongest opinion about the matter are the non circumcised because it plays into their phallic fears ... on the other hand circumcised men would look around and wonder what's all the fuzz about"

WRONG!! I was cut as an infant and wish I wouldn't have been. Why do you want so strongly to have infant's genitals altered routinely? If there was such a higher risk or HIV or whatever you're thinking on uncut men, why isn't europe plagued by it and the U.S. not?

It's a permanent procedure and the only person who should decide whether or not to have it is the penis owner himself, end of story! Do what you want with your's, leave other's to choose for themselves.
21:20 August 23, 2012 by alexshannon
Circumcision is not mutilation at all: it is good for hiv and other ailments and therefore should be obligatory.

Piercing children should be forbidden, having no use at all.

If I were a small boy today in Germany, I would sue the goverment when I grow up, because they are causing me great pain, by forcing me to circumcise myself as a grown man, which is very painful compared to a baby's pain.

So, German lawmakers, please expect to be sued in the future: no excuses will be accepted and every one of your lawmakers will be sued. I will encourage from today Moslems and Jews in Germany to do this and it will be a big campaign.
08:33 August 24, 2012 by Mango77
So now we have decided to care about the health and well-being of children... Following, my personal contribution and a list of things we should deal with. As regards circumcision, from a strictly medical point of view, there are very good reasons to adopt it (see Wikipedia). From a religious/tradition point of view, I think it is up to the parents to decide whether or not they want to have it. After all, the happiness and health of a child will be much more dependent on other choices which are also parents responsibility, than on the presence of a foreskin...

1. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs during and after pregnancy

2. TV

3. Pseudo-science (e.g. Homoeopathy, Bach flowers, Astrology, etc.)

4. Sects

5. Religious education

6. Bullism

7. Family violence

8. Air pollution and other environemental threats (i.e. emission from Diesel engines has been shown to cause cancer)

9. The use of pesticides and hormones in food

10. Fast-food and very sweet drinks (see Mc Donalds)

11. Poorly motivated/educated/paid teachers

12. Pedophily

13. War and violence

14. Poverty
09:29 August 24, 2012 by ITAMAR
I have nothing to say to the Germans, law is law and as such must be respected by all citizens.

Just one word for Rabbi Goldberg.

if you wish to live your Jewish life without getting disturbe you are invited to live in our country. another possibility is living in USA.

I do not think that getting,in "fights" with the German law authorities is a good idea,

00:18 August 25, 2012 by Supermog
To all who claim circumcision is not child abuse. It is, no other parts of a child's body may be removed on a whim, no matter if that whim is thousands of years old, or invented last week. Disregard what Wikipedia says about the "benefits", it is moderated by Jake Waskett, a well-known circumfetishist, he derives pleasure from convincing parents to mutilate their babies. Circumcision is designed to reduce sexual pleasure for both him and his partner, it does, and probably always was intended to do so. I now derive no pleasure from intercourse, not surprising as the sensory nerves were all taken away. My son is intact, as are almost all British boys and men, and very few elect, or need, to be otherwise.

The German government must stand firm on the banning of genital cutting of boys, as they did with girls. Germany is a modern democratic republic, and the law must apply to all, regardless of whether they believe an ancient book should dictate their every action, or they live in the 21st century.
08:55 August 25, 2012 by ITAMAR

I can understand your point of view but I do not agree with it.

saying that I repeat my words:-law is a law and must be respected by all!

"Circumcision is designed to reduce sexual pleasure for both him and his partner, it does, and probably always was intended to do so. I now derive no pleasure..."

That is not the reason to circumcision in Judaism.

In contrast with your declaration I am married got a child and have a wonderfull sexual life with my wife, recearch demontrated that many cases of unsatisfaction in sexual life has to do with psycological conflicts of the couple more than any neurological disturbe.
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