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German Jewish group to begin training mohels

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BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s main Jewish body has announced its intention to institutionalize the training of mohels, or ritual circumcisers. 

Amid concerns among Jews and Muslims that their religious practice of circumcision may be outlawed, the Central Council of Jews in Germany is organizing meetings with Rabbi Josh Spinner of the Orthodox rabbinical seminary of Berlin and Rabbi Walter Homolka of the Reform Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, both of which train rabbis. 

The intention is to "institutionalize the training of mohels in Germany as part of their rabbinical training programs," Josef Schuster, vice president and head of religious affairs for the Council, announced today.

In a separate, and bizarrely coincidental development, Germany’s postal service has announced it will release a special stamp dedicated to the brit milah of Jesus. 

According to a report in the German daily Tagespiegel, the 85-cent stamp marks the 200th anniversary of the German Bible Society and features a line from the Christian Bible: "And as eight days had passed, the child was circumcised, and he was called Jesus" (Luke 2:21).

Ralf Thomas Muller, chairman of the Bible Society, told the Tagesspiegel that the design was done prior to the current controversy, triggered by a court ruling in Cologne last May that non-medical circumcisions of minors were criminal. 

The stamp is to be presented to the public in Stuttgart on Sept. 11.

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