The Rabbinical Council of America, representing more than 1,000 rabbis worldwide, calls upon German Bundestag to expedite the passage of legislation that assures the right of Jews to practice ritual circumcision. Furthermore, we call upon the courts of Bavaria to immediately drop all criminal charges filed against Rabbi David Goldberg, the Chief Rabbi of the Bavarian city of Hof, for performing a circumcision.
We applaud the strong support voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for such legislation. However, we note that until legislative action occurs, a single maverick German citizen can use a decision by the Cologne court to press charges against those who follow Jewish tradition. Such actions have fanned the the flames for contempt of Judaism and of religious freedom.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America has noted that “history has taught us that the use of bans against circumcision are a way of disparaging Jewish tradition. That such action can occur in a democratic Germany of today is shameful.”
As rabbis, we pray that this most regretful episode in modern history will soon end and will, through true moral leadership, lead to greater understanding and the full protection of religious rights for all Jews and other minorities.