Sydney Shul Circumcision Row
A row over an Australian bar mitzvah boy’s circumcision forced a mother to move her son’s simcha from an Orthodox shul to a Progressive synagogue at the 11th hour last week.
The boy had been scheduled to read from the Torah at Chabad Double Bay, Sydney, but rabbis from the Sydney Beth Din ruled on the Monday before that his circumcision was not kosher.
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“We immediately called one of the mohelim to check, and he confirmed a further circumcision needed to be done,” Rabbi Gutnick said.
But the boy’s mother told the Australian Jewish News: “I didn’t want my son to have that trauma. It’s not true he wasn’t circumcised; it’s a question of degree.”
The single mother, who had an adult bat mitzvah following her Progressive conversion, said she had to inform guests of the change of venue “due to a technical problem” just days before the simcha. Temple Emanuel Woollahra accommodated the barmitzvah.
But Rabbi Gutnick told the AJN the temple was “fooling the child” into believing he is Jewish.
“Unless the child goes to the mikvah and is circumcised according to Jewish law, pretending the child is Jewish is ultimately doing a disservice to the child,” he said.
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