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SWC: Criminal Complaint Against Rabbi in Germany for the 'Crime' of Ritual Circumcision is an Assault on all Jews

August 21, 2012

Leading Jewish NGO will Offer all Necessary Political and Legal Backing to Defend a Core Jewish Rite

Officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed their shock and anger over a criminal complaint based on a German court ruling banning circumcision, against Rabbi David Goldberg (pictured), the spiritual leader in the Bavarian city of Hof. Rabbi Goldberg, a qualified mohel (ritual circumciser), who has performed the brit milah ritual for more than 3,000 Jewish infant males, was informed of the criminal complaint by journalists.

Hof's chief prosecutor confirmed that charges had been filed by a doctor from Hesse based on a Cologne judge's ruling that declared that ritual circumcision for religious reasons (brit milah) constitutes illegal bodily harm to newborn babies.

"Historically, attempts to stop the Jewish people from performing this core Jewish rite, dating back to our patriarch Abraham, were associated with ancient Greek and Roman rulers and modern day tyrants like Stalin and Hitler--not democracies," charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO.

"This criminal complaint is attack not only on one rabbi but against the entire Jewish people. The Simon Wiesenthal Center will marshal all necessary political and legal expertise to thwart this outrage,” they added.

Rabbi Cooper and the Center’s Director for International relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, are currently scheduled to meet with the German Justice Minister in Berlin on August 29th to press German leaders to move rapidly to create legislation guaranteeing full legal protection of religious rights for Jews and other minorities.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.