First German Rabbi faces criminal charges over anti-circumcision ruling

Rabbi David Goldberg accused of committing ‘bodily harm’ in first case since German court ruling banning religious circumcisions in May

By Ynet


A German rabbi has been criminally charged for performing a circumcision, committing what the indictment calls “bodily harm,” media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Archives Photo: AP

Archives Photo: AP

The lawsuit against David Goldberg, who is a mohel and the Rabbi of the city of Hof Saale in Bavaria, is the first known case following the anti-circumcision ruling issued by a German court in May.

According to media reports, the charges were filed by a physician from the city of Hessen, and was based on the court ruling which stated that performing a religious circumcision ritual can be considered a crime.

A Bavarian radio station reported that the doctor was among the signatories of a letter sent to Angela Merkel, which claimed that “religion should not be allowed to permit harming of the helpless.”

Rabbi Goldberg was born in Israel and has lived in Germany since the early 90s. He has served as the chief rabbi of Hof Saale since 1997 and has circumcised some 3,000 babies.

In May, a German court in the city of Cologne ruled that non-medical circumcision is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body.”

The ruling came after a Muslim doctor performed a circumcision on a four-year-old boy. Two days later the boy’s mother brought the child to the emergency room because he was bleeding.

The ruling stirred a storm among Jewish leaders, who urged the German government to draw up a new law stating clearly that circumcising boys for religious reasons is legal.

View original Ynet publication at:,7340,L-4271607,00.html