Sweden: ‘We’ll Carry on Jewish Tradition’

October 1, 2013  

The fight against Brit mila: Following proposals of a law to the Swedish parliament that would outlaw brit mila, (Jewish ritual circumcision) Rabbi Shniur Kasselman of the Malmo community, says the Jews of the city will continue to hold fast to Torah commandments even if such a  law is passed.

“We all hope the law won’t be passed, but we will carry on practicing Jewish tradition in any event,” he said in an interview with the hassidic newspaper Hamevaser. He added that if the law was passed, it would mainly harm Sweden’s much larger Muslim community, but continued “the Jews would stand up and give up their lives to fulfill the mitzvah (command) of circumcision.”

Last week, two parliamentarians from the ultra-right wing Swedish Democratic Party presented the draft law that would see the prohibition of all circumcision under the age of 18.

The two MPs are seeking to quash legislation which currently permits circumcision to be carried out by “professional people” skilled as such, and to outlaw brit mila in any case that is not required for medical reasons.

Mohels (Jewish practitioners of circumcision) in Sweden, are currently required to hold a license from the Health Ministry, in addition, a doctor or nurse must be present when the procedure is carried out.

A date for a vote on the law in Sweden is expected to be announced soon.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a new law is set to approve ritual circumcision. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger presented the proposal to the state governments and associations throughout the country on the eve of Yom Kippur. If approved, the move would end an attempt in May by a court in Cologne that outlawed the practice by ruling that removing the foreskin constitutes a violation of bodily integrity.

Earlier this year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Sweden’s neighbor Norway to revoke its longstanding ban on kosher slaughter (shechita) which has stood since 1929.


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