Peres appeals to German counterpart for solution to circumcision quandary
search

Peres appeals to German counterpart for solution to circumcision quandary

‘The custom of brit milah has been a fundamental aspect of our Jewish identity for millennia,’ president says, two days after criminal charges filed against Bavarian mohel

President Shimon Peres and German President Joachim Gauck at the President's Residence in Jerusalem in May (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/Flash90)
President Shimon Peres and German President Joachim Gauck at the President's Residence in Jerusalem in May (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/Flash90)

President Shimon Peres on Thursday appealed to his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, to make every effort to resolve the question of the legality of circumcision in Germany, following the filing of criminal charges against a rabbi for performing brit milah ceremonies.

In the letter, Peres emphasized the importance of safeguarding the German Jewish community’s freedom of religion and worship, the President’s Residence said in a statement.

“The custom of brit mila has been a fundamental aspect of our Jewish identity for millennia, characterizing the Jewish people since the first time God spoke to Abraham,” Peres wrote.

On Wednesday, the Juedische Allgemeine weekly newspaper reported that a doctor had filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, who serves in the community of Hof, in Upper Franconia (northern Bavaria), for allegedly performing circumcisions in contravention of a ruling issued in June by a Cologne court.

Peres emphasized that he regarded favorably the efforts of the German government to find a solution to the circumcision quandary.

“Dear Mr. President,” he wrote, “I’m confident that, by adhering to its values, Germany can remain committed to safeguarding the rights of its Jewish community to practice its religious customs freely.”

Earlier on Thursday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called for an urgent solution to the dispute.

“We must ensure the possibility to keep Jewish and Muslim traditions without legal non-certainty,” Westerwelle said. “We must not jeopardize Germany’s image as a country with religious tolerance.”

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments