Israel’s Ashkenazic chief rabbi has ruled that circumcisions should not be forcibly performed on anyone — whether they are alive or dead.
Commenting on post-mortem circumcisions that are performed without the permission of the family, Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau said, “The Chief Rabbinate sees circumcision as a privilege and not something that should be forced on anyone.”
His statement came in response to recent disclosures that some Orthodox-controlled burial societies were performing ritual circumcisions on the uncircumcised bodies of immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The circumcisions were performed, often without family permission, as a prerequisite for burial in a Jewish cemetery.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.