Should we Circumcise the Children of Non-Members?

November 11, 2013

English255px-Nimrod_ST_07Sridim, the scholarly journal of the Conference of European Rabbis, just published my article on the question, whether Jewish Communities may abstain from helping non-members circumcise their sons.

Jewish communities provide many services and play a crucial role in furthering Jewish identity and adherence. All those programs and activities cost money, however. Different countries use different models to raise funds. In some European countries, first and foremost in Germany, funds are raised through a system of registration with and taxation by the state in favor of the designated faith community. Thus, Jews (and Catholics, Protestants and Muslims, etc.) in Germany are expected to register as Jews (or as belonging in their respective faith community) with the government, which will then proceed to add 8 or 9% on top of income taxes and pass that addition on to the designated community. The act of not joining or leaving the community, often for financial reasons, hurts the community and forces its remaining members to unfairly bear the burden of services. May such a community, in addition to denying non members reduced or free entry to concerts, lectures and sundry other events, also deny basic Jewish services, like the circumcision of newborn boys of non-members?

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