David Goldberg has been the rabbi of the Bavarian city of Hof since the last 1990s. He is a mohel (ritual circumciser) who has performed approximately 3,000 circumcisions since being trained to do so. However, there is a new curve in the road: less than two months ago a German court “banned religious circumcisions” and Goldberg now faces a criminal complaint over the most recent circumcisions he performed.
Jewish leaders throughout the world have taken the news of the complaint against Goldberg with stunned disbelief. And Moseh Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said: “It has been many decades since a Jew was charged for practicing Judaism openly and is reminiscent of far darker times. We hope that in Germany, of all places, the authorities would remain far more sensitive to this issue.”
There is no word on what possible punishment Goldberg might face over the circumcisions. But officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center are scheduled to met with the German Justice Minister on Goldberg’s behalf on August 29. For now, they’ve made clear their belief that “this criminal complaint [against Goldberg] is not an attack only on one rabbi but against the entire Jewish people.”