German rabbis plan emergency meeting on circumcision
The Conference of European Rabbis has called for an emergency meeting in Berlin this week in a bid to overturn last week’s ruling by a German court rendering ritual circumcision of minors a punishable offence.
“The ruling in Cologne is perhaps one of the gravest attacks on Jewish life in Europe in the post Holocaust world,” said Pinchas Goldschmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis.
“The court utterly failed to consider how fundamental Brit Milah is to the Jewish faith and identity,” he said. “We remain confident in the German legal and political system, and believe that this ruling cannot and will not stand.” About 40 Rabbis from countries across Europe are expected to attend the two-day meeting, which opens on Tuesday.
Those attending are expected to be presented with an update of the current legal situation in Germany, along with an overview of worldwide health and public policy towards circumcision.
The meeting also hopes to draw up a proposed strategy for addressing the issue in the public domain.
“The support of the Conference of European Rabbis is vital,” said Rabbi Avichai Apel, a board member of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany.
“This court ruling could have huge ramifications for the Jewish community far beyond the confines of Germany, if it is allowed to stand,” Apel said.
Already the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany and the Conference of European Rabbis have joined Rabbis from across Europe to launch a campaign seeking to bring their concerns about the court ruling to the attention of both the German public and the nation’s political leadership. This includes writing to German ambassadors.