Before the circumcision ceremony: the godfather’s chair and the infant carrier with Yair © photo: Birgit Glatzel
Naomi converted to Judaism six years ago. Shortly afterwards she became pregnant, went to live with her boyfriend Avishay in Tel Aviv, and gave birth there to a son, Yair, who was circumcised as Jewish law demands. In the meantime the couple has moved to Berlin and separated. Naomi recently showed me the photos she took at the ceremony and we talked about her thoughts on ritual circumcision, then and now.
Mirjam: What was your very first thought when you heard you were expecting a son?
Naomi: I was delighted. For Avishay and I, it was also clear from the get-go that we’d have him circumcised. But, to be honest, we neither gave the matter much thought nor prepared for it in any way. It is Jewish tradition to → continue reading
In the summer of 2012, there was an intense discussion in Germany about whether the circumcision of boys constitutes bodily harm under the law. Preceding this so-called ‘circumcision debate’ was a decision by Cologne’s district court that criminalized the ritual circumcision of boys. A high point in the debate occurred when a German doctor registered a legal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, of Hof, claiming that he was liable for “dangerous personal injury” due to the circumcisions he performed. I spoke with him about the complaint, and about his feelings as well as the reactions that he encountered during that period.
Rabbi David Goldberg © private
Dear Rabbi Goldberg, how did it happen that you were reported?
That’s easy to explain: I’m known in Germany as a circumciser and I’m easy to find through my website. Opponents of circumcision were looking for a sacrificial victim and they found it in me. Because the people who made the complaints against me…
… there were more than one?
Yes, there were a number of them. But the people behind them didn’t even know me. They were simply looking for a scapegoat.
How was it for you during that period?
→ continue reading
Daphna Westerman’s Postcards in Motion
One of Daphna Westerman’s postcards, front view. © Jewish Museum Berlin, Photo: Lisa Albrecht
Did you find a postcard like this one in your mail box as well? Or have you even pulled the entire road movie by Daphna Westerman out of our Art Vending Machine? By now the Machine is sold out completely. But no need to stop the movie! Let’s just rewind a little…
Before the work of the Israeli artist ended up in the museum’s Art Vending Machine, I received a postcard with a black and white photograph. Except for my address and the title, “U-Bahn Berlin. From In and between the cities, 2011. A film by Daphna Westerman,” there was nothing more to it. A few days later more cards were in the mail. Time to phone Daphna. → continue reading