A German rabbi faces criminal charges for performing a ritual circumcision after a doctor claimed the rabbi inflicted physical harm during a ritual brit milah.
Rabbi David Goldberg, 64, is a qualified mohel who has performed more than 3,000 circumcisions. Goldberg now becomes the first person to face criminal charges in relation to the anti-circumcision ruling in May, in which a court in Cologne ruled that non-medical circumcision of a minor is a criminal act.
The charges are brought in spite of the stance of the German government. The BBC reported the government said, after the Cologne ruling, Jewish and Muslim communities should be able to continue the practice of circumcision. Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "Circumcision carried out in a responsible manner must be possible without punishment." The legislation has not yet been introduced to protect the right for religious groups to practice ritual circumcision.
Haaretz reports the charges have been brought against Goldberg while the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, is visiting Berlin. Metzger is in Berlin to raise support for the continuation of Jewish circumcisions. He said "Whoever insists we change this ritual is asking us to change our religion, just like it is impossible to demand from a Catholic priest to stop celebrating Christmas."
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt also condemned the charges, saying "This latest development in Hof, Germany, is yet another grave affront to religious freedom and underlines the urgent need for the German government to expedite the process of ensuring that the fundamental rights of minority communities are protected."
Rabbi Goldberg meanwhile is confused regarding the charges as he says he has not performed any circumcisions in Germany recently, but "only abroad: in Budapest, in the Czech Republic, in Italy."