on Tue Jul 3 07:02:33 2012, in response to (EUEUEUEUEU) German court declares religious circumcision to be *criminal*, posted by Olog-hai on Thu Jun 28 21:05:34 2012.
San Diego Jewish World
Germany’s circumcision decision smacks of Nazism
By Rabbi Michael Leo SamuelCHULA VISTA, California — Since the end of the Second World War, Germany has come a long way in rehabilitating its past legacy of Nazism. Germany has proven itself as a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Germany has emerged as one of the most successful democratic countries of Europe. Jews have rebuilt their communities in many of Germany’s cities. I personally know many Holocaust survivors who have returned to Germany to receive keys to their cities and other honors. These are all meaningful steps; and most Jews do not believe that the children should have to suffer for the sins of the parents. However, our tradition warns us that children must never consciously or unconsciously follow their sinful parents’ poor example. George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I would paraphrase the citation a little differently: Those who fail to redeem the past, are condemned to relive it.
However, one thoughtless legal decision has threatened the wellbeing of Germany’s fledgling Jewish communities. On June 26th, 2012, the District Court of the Federal State of Cologne ruled that ritual circumcision for children as required by the parents, constitutes an infliction of bodily harm to the child, and is therefore—a criminal offense.
In bad economic times like we are witnessing in Europe today, it is easy for a country like Germany or other former Axis allies to revert to their history of xenophobic attitudes. One can be sure that the anti-Semites and Neo-Nazis will cheer this legal decision. The physicians at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin have already stopped performing circumcisions for fear of legal action.
For the German government, they need to ask themselves an important question: At what cost? Are they prepared to undo nearly sixty-five years of mending fences and good will? The German courts are entitled to past whatever legislation they want—so long as it does not affect the Jewish community. However, if this court’s decision is upheld by the higher courts, Germany will have taken one gigantic step backwards toward the realization of Hitler’s macabre dream—a Judenrein Germany (a Jew-free Germany).
The Jewish people have been practicing circumcision for nearly 4000 years, and the ritual has not prevented the Jew from being a progressive force for social change and democracy. In addition, circumcision has also helped prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa—no small achievement! A significant number of the Nobel Prize winners have been Jews; the Jewish people aim to make a positive difference to the world. Whenever there is a crisis in the world, the State of Israel is always there to lend its medical and scientific expertise—no matter who the afflicted country happens to be. Israel has produced numerous new medical technologies that have improved the quality of people’s lives.
The ritual of circumcision has never turned us into bloodthirsty monsters. We are not barbarians bereft of a moral conscience. It behooves the German government to act compassionately and justly toward its Jewish minority population.
The world will always have evil people capable of making other nations’ lives along with their fellow countrymen’s lives miserable. However, thoughtless people pose a far greater problem because the forces of tyranny subsist upon the thoughtlessness of their followers to obey their orders.
We need to let the German government know that their country still owes a moral debt to the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants. The best and simplest way to fulfill payment of this moral debt is to make sure the Jewish community remains a protected and respected minority in their country. When considering the great losses that our people have endured, this is a moral obligation the German people should feel proud to fulfill.