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Berlin - German Jews: Rabbi Metzgers “Interference” In Circumcision Debate Unhelpful

Published on: August 28, 2012 09:33 AM
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shkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger (C), speaks at a news conference on the debate about circumcisions in Germany, at the Federal Press Conference (Bundespressekonferenz) in Berlin, Germany, 21 August 2012.  EPABerlin - The German-Jewish community has been up in arms since Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger waded into the ongoing circumcision controversy in Germany.

Rabbi Metzger traveled to Germany to meet with top government officials and to advocate for the continuation of circumcision, while Minister Yishai wrote a letter to German Chancellor Merkel asking her to intervene.

German-Jewish leaders were apparently so incensed by their “unproductive” involvement that the Central Council of Jews in Germany sent a letter to Israel’s ambassador to Berlin saying, “The two both unnecessarily strained the debate and contributed to further uncertainty. This is an unprecedented act of interference in the religious and political affairs of an independent Jewish community outside Israel,” the Times of Israel reports (http://bit.ly/PYdckl).

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The General Rabbinical Conference of Germany was also highly critical, calling Rabbi Metzger’s concern “unhelpful,” and accusing him of asserting authority he does not have. “He’s the chief rabbi of Israel; that is worthy of respect. But he isn’t the chief rabbi of Germany,” Henry Brandt, chairman of the Rabbinical Conference said. “We have an intact rabbinate, both Orthodox and general, so we don’t need him to throw a wrench in the works.”

The debate over circumcision began in June after a Colonge district court ruled that the ritual was illegal and a mohel was subsequently arrested for performing a circumcision.



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Read Comments (26)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 28, 2012 at 09:41 AM Buchwalter Says:

The Jewish Community in Germany is absolutely right. The Israeli Rabbinate should limit themselve to straighten the mess they have with contracdictory opinion and voices . The Apostolic Roman Church has such powers not the Israeli Rabbinate.

2

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM Benny Says:

Who is Jewish Community in Germany?
Bunch of non-religious guys who could care less about anything has to do with idishkeit?

3

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM Lodzker Says:

sadly this is typical behavior of zionism. the zionists crowned themselves, unrightly so, as the leaders of klal yisroel. therefore their zionist rabbinate should be the leading rabbinate in the world.

zionists, mind your own business and do teshuva. Id say stay in israel, but you dont belong there either.

4

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM Yitzchok Says:

"Bubbe meises" The Jews of Europe particularly those in the german speaking countries never speak up when something is done wrong. This issue of bris is not limited to germany, other countries are watching, when they see that by enacting stupidity like this, we; "acheinu b'nai yisroel" won't just shut up and go away, but will start screaming from Israel to Brooklyn to Timbuktu they will really think about it. The real "chutzpah" is with the "Yiddishe g'meindeh" in Germany that they want to deal with this problem that will affect everyone, the way they always deal with garbage like this. by going quietly and dealing diplomatically, sometimes you need to use the nuclear option. Trust me the Germans are having 2nd thoughts not because of the quite way the jews in that country are conducting themselves.

5

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM Yitzchak Says:

Just like Yosef Hatzadik came all the way from Eretz Yisroel, to tell the Mitzriyim to do Milah.

6

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM Buchwalter Says:

My humble advice to Rabbi Metzger is to concern himself with more immediate issues. A man named Krauss, follower of the N.K. and residing in Mea Shearim gave a three page interview to the Chief correspondent of the Spiegel in Israel a lady named Mittelstaedt. In this interview he is lambasting Israel and declaring the State an illegality. A report also in European newspapers and in a magazine reports a steady stream of Israelis going to Cyprus for civil marriage ceremonies. The holocaust cudgel will wear out and Rabbi Metzger should restrict himself to the jurisdiction of the Israeli Rabbinate within its confines. Then Mr. Natanyahu is pressing Germany for military aid. The Weizmann Institute has an agreement with the Max Planck Institute in Germany regarding srem cell production. The irony is that in Israel holocaust survivors are clamoring that the Israeli government iskimming off their pensions. Quite a contradiction. There members in the Bundestag who say that the holcaust issue should be ended. Quite a plate full

7

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM Buchwalter Says:

According to the Neturei Karta the State of Israel is an illegal entity and this means the Israeli Rabbinate is an illegality too.

8

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM enlightened-yid Says:

Why was he counterproductive? Oh wait don't tell me he went there to ramble about Holocaust and how Germans didn't care about Jewish babies 70 years ago. You can't expect Israel's rabbis and politicians to think or say something productive when they travel abroad, since their only diplomatic strategy is giving Holocaust lessons.

9

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM Justleftkolel Says:

This is an issue that can affect Jews worldwide, every Jew, especially the Cheif Rabbinate and the Israeli government should speak up and get involved.

10

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM shredready Says:

I do not know it this is true or not that it was unhelpful but maybe the German Jews knows Germany best

11

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM A Says:

Reply to #4  
Yitzchok Says:

"Bubbe meises" The Jews of Europe particularly those in the german speaking countries never speak up when something is done wrong. This issue of bris is not limited to germany, other countries are watching, when they see that by enacting stupidity like this, we; "acheinu b'nai yisroel" won't just shut up and go away, but will start screaming from Israel to Brooklyn to Timbuktu they will really think about it. The real "chutzpah" is with the "Yiddishe g'meindeh" in Germany that they want to deal with this problem that will affect everyone, the way they always deal with garbage like this. by going quietly and dealing diplomatically, sometimes you need to use the nuclear option. Trust me the Germans are having 2nd thoughts not because of the quite way the jews in that country are conducting themselves.

Let these Israeli rabbis "scream" all they want, but do it from Israel, don't travel to a different country and mix in. We yidden in the USA can scream about it too but I would hope we aren't stupid enough to travel to Germany and tell their government what they should do. No country wants to be dictated to by foreigners.

12

 Aug 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM Buchwalter Says:

Reply to #4  
Yitzchok Says:

"Bubbe meises" The Jews of Europe particularly those in the german speaking countries never speak up when something is done wrong. This issue of bris is not limited to germany, other countries are watching, when they see that by enacting stupidity like this, we; "acheinu b'nai yisroel" won't just shut up and go away, but will start screaming from Israel to Brooklyn to Timbuktu they will really think about it. The real "chutzpah" is with the "Yiddishe g'meindeh" in Germany that they want to deal with this problem that will affect everyone, the way they always deal with garbage like this. by going quietly and dealing diplomatically, sometimes you need to use the nuclear option. Trust me the Germans are having 2nd thoughts not because of the quite way the jews in that country are conducting themselves.

THE real chutzpah and stupidity is your posting American Jewish doctors have vehemently clamored for ending bris mila. The Juedische Gemeinde in Germany can deal with it and everyone would keep its nose out of it. Maybe Yiitzhok you check on the Neturei Karta how they blast Israel

13

 Aug 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM ShimonHaNasi Says:

Being quite is not an option for all jews including chief rabbis. Maybe they should have coordinated better with the local rabboim but their emotions got the best of them. Certainly understandable because of Germany's past.

14

 Aug 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM ysgib Says:

Looking at the "General Rabbinical Conference of Germany" website (http://a-r-k.de/rabbiner/) and seeing female "rabbis", it all makes sense now.

15

 Aug 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM {Ploni Says:

"The General Rabbinical Conference of Germany was also highly critical, calling Rabbi Metzger’s concern “unhelpful,” and accusing him of asserting authority he does not have."

That's not the entire truth. What has happened are two things:

1. The German Jewish committee was caught napping by the original judgment from the Cologne court, and

2. The members of the committee think that it is an affront to their kavod to have two Israeli "knights in shining armor" galloping in to save the day.

16

 Aug 28, 2012 at 02:42 PM Justleftkolel Says:

This is an issue that can affect Jews worldwide, every Jew, especially the Cheif Rabbinate and the Israeli government should speak up and get involved.

17

 Aug 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM Motty Says:

The "General Rabbinical Conference in Germany" (Allgemeine Rabbinerkonferenz - ARK) surely is no rabbinic authority any frum Jew in the whole world should listen to. Apart from consisting mainly of Reform rabbis - like Henry Brandt who is quoted in the article - they also have female "rabbis" in their ranks who even haven't been born Jewish but "converted" through Reform - like Gesa Ederberg. The only Torah-oriented rabbinic authority in Germany is the "Orthodox Rabbinical Conference in Germany" (Orthodoxe Rabbinerkonferenz Deutschlands - ORD).

18

 Aug 28, 2012 at 03:58 PM A Says:

Reply to #16  
Justleftkolel Says:

This is an issue that can affect Jews worldwide, every Jew, especially the Cheif Rabbinate and the Israeli government should speak up and get involved.

You're right, it can, so why wouldn't the Israeli Rabbis do the very least and ask the German Chief Rabbi (or whatever the position is called) if he wanted them to help? Their actions were mamesh a slap in the face to every rabbi in Germany.

19

 Aug 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

It wasn't supposed to be productive. It was supposed to get him attention and bump up his approval ratings with some of his constituents.

20

 Aug 28, 2012 at 08:32 PM Buchwalter Says:

Reply to #17  
Motty Says:

The "General Rabbinical Conference in Germany" (Allgemeine Rabbinerkonferenz - ARK) surely is no rabbinic authority any frum Jew in the whole world should listen to. Apart from consisting mainly of Reform rabbis - like Henry Brandt who is quoted in the article - they also have female "rabbis" in their ranks who even haven't been born Jewish but "converted" through Reform - like Gesa Ederberg. The only Torah-oriented rabbinic authority in Germany is the "Orthodox Rabbinical Conference in Germany" (Orthodoxe Rabbinerkonferenz Deutschlands - ORD).

Don Abarbanel issued a cheirim in Spain unfortunately after WWII for various reason a new community was established. They have female Rabbis in the U.S. and they virulent spokes-people [Jewish] against bris mila in the U.S. .We also have orthodox teachers who are branded as child molesters. Israel has far greater problems than worrying about wha is goingin Germany and world Jewish community has more pressing problems. NO JEW SHOULD BE RESIDING IN GERMANY. When I was liberated from Buchenwald I was unsure should I come directly come to this country or take advantage of returning to school and finishing my education in Austria and I chose the first option even though it involved more hardship. Nobody forced Jews to return to Germany and we are not the shomrim ruchmius of the German kehillaa

21

 Aug 28, 2012 at 08:40 PM esther Says:

Reply to #11  
A Says:

Let these Israeli rabbis "scream" all they want, but do it from Israel, don't travel to a different country and mix in. We yidden in the USA can scream about it too but I would hope we aren't stupid enough to travel to Germany and tell their government what they should do. No country wants to be dictated to by foreigners.

rabbi metzger is in a very high profile leadership position.a true leader is proactive and speaks up when needed even though it isn't always popular.bris milah is a much larger issue then any one group of jews. it effects klal yisroel.

22

 Aug 28, 2012 at 09:07 PM Buchwalter Says:

Reply to #21  
esther Says:

rabbi metzger is in a very high profile leadership position.a true leader is proactive and speaks up when needed even though it isn't always popular.bris milah is a much larger issue then any one group of jews. it effects klal yisroel.

Bris mila in Germany is an oxymoron

23

 Aug 28, 2012 at 09:34 PM lakewooder Says:

I think, next time the Israelis do something against Judaism, it should be the responsibility of the German Rabbis to come down and make a ruckus.

24

 Aug 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM FrummerJid Says:

Reply to #7  
Buchwalter Says:

According to the Neturei Karta the State of Israel is an illegal entity and this means the Israeli Rabbinate is an illegality too.

Who cares what NK says-a bunch of self haters and antisemites. Rabbi Schwab Z"l used to teach the creation of the State of Israel was a disaster but now we are confranted with its existence so we should learn how to benefit from it. And not in the monetary way.

25

 Aug 29, 2012 at 01:43 AM A Says:

Reply to #21  
esther Says:

rabbi metzger is in a very high profile leadership position.a true leader is proactive and speaks up when needed even though it isn't always popular.bris milah is a much larger issue then any one group of jews. it effects klal yisroel.

Rabbi Metzger is a leader in Israel, period. Not in Germany, not in the US, not in Canada, not in Australia, etc. If anybody in anyJewish community want to ask for his help they are welcome to do that but he does not have the right to butt in against the desires of the Rabbinical heads of any community except for his own.

I wonder how either of the Satmar Rabbis would like it if a Rosh Yeshiva from Lakewood mixed in and went to their communities and told them what the proper derech is. Mind you, that could effect klal also.

26

 Aug 29, 2012 at 09:07 AM Kzler Says:

Reply to #24  
FrummerJid Says:

Who cares what NK says-a bunch of self haters and antisemites. Rabbi Schwab Z"l used to teach the creation of the State of Israel was a disaster but now we are confranted with its existence so we should learn how to benefit from it. And not in the monetary way.

Rabbi Schwab z'l was lucky to escape from Frankfurt and come to Baltimore. Others were not and wound up in the gas chambers of treblinka and birkenau. The Youth Aliya , Henrietta Szold was responsible of saving children from the gas chambers. Not every Jew wanted or was allowed to come the U.S. and the Arabs were ready to overun and massacre Jews. Yes Rabbi Schwab was an erlicher Yid but his view on history is not the ultimate psak.

27

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