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Israel Ludwig

CJCF Manitoba Region expresses deep concern over possible exclusion of mohels to perform circumcisions in a home or synagogue

press release , July 15, 2021

The Canadian Jewish Community Forum, Manitoba Region, has voiced its concerns with the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons, which appears to prevent mohels who are physicians from performing circumcisions in a home or synagogue. In Winnipeg all the mohels are physicians.

CJCF Manitoba Spokesperson Israel  Ludwig  said that the   College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba's Draft Standard of Practice for Performing Office-Based Procedures (including cosmetic/aesthetic and minor surgical procedures, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and laser service), is now in the public domain for consultation and feedback.

Included in this Standard of Practice are male circumcisions. In section 2.1 of the draft, it is noted "members must not perform, or cause, permit, or enable another person to perform any procedure in a location other than a medical clinic." The performance of male circumcision by members (physicians) has been included in the draft, however as Mr.  Ludwig points out the performance of male circumcision as part of a brit milah, or part of a religious ceremony, was not explicitly referenced. 

"If brought into force, this draft as it is currently worded., would therefore make the performance of a Jewish brit milah by a physician outside of a medical clinic a violation of the College's Standard of Practice," Mr. Ludwig stated in a letter to  The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Manitoba. "The brit milah has deep and fundamental roots in Jewish tradition and our heritage. Abraham was commanded by God to circumcise his son Isaac on the eighth day following birth. Since then, Jewish people have faithfully and continuously followed this commandment for thousands of years. A covenant between Jews and God, the brit milah is an indelible physical symbol of our everlasting bond with God. In addition, it is the rite of passage whereby our newborn sons are welcomed into the Jewish community, surrounded by the love of their family and friends. This ceremony is often performed in a synagogue or a family home."

Mr. Ludwig said  there is overwhelming evidence in peer-reviewed medical journals of the safety of circumcision and the skill of a trained and certified mohel  -the person who performs the Jewish rite of circumcision). "I urge you to consider the implications of this standard, which would infringe on our right to religious freedom, and amend the proposed Standard of Practice to explicitly exclude Jewish ritual male circumcisions," his leteter states.

About the  Canadian Jewish Community Forum

The Canadian Jewish Community Forum was formally launched on May 27, 2021 by a  group of former Canadian Jewish Congress senior leaders from coast to coast. For 92 years, until its dissolution in 2011, CJC was  recognized as  the Parliament of Canadian Jewry and served as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally.  The CJCF will  provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national, that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.


Mike Cohen
Communications Advisor, 

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