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July 15, 2021 3:51 pm

Top Canadian Jewish Group Sounds Alarm Over Proposed Limits on Circumcisions Outside Medical Facilities

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A brit milah ceremony in which an eight-day-old Jewish male is circumcised. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A top Canadian Jewish group spoke out on Thursday against new restrictions on circumcision by medical professionals being weighed in the Manitoba province.

The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM), the medical regulatory body for the province, is considering the adoption of a new standard of practice that would ban circumcisions performed outside a medical facility.

B’nai Brith Canada protested the proposed standard, noting that traditional Jewish circumcisions are performed in homes or synagogues as part of the brit milah ceremony.

Although Manitoba law allows non-physicians to perform circumcisions, the primary mohel in Manitoba is a CPSM member, and the standard would also prevent any future mohel from simultaneously working as a medical professional — a common practice in Canada.

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Moreover, B’nai Brith noted, the standard has been proposed without any consultation with the Jewish community.

Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, said, “The CPSM does not appear to have considered the serious impact upon the Jewish community of this proposed change.”

“The time is now for Canadian Jews to speak up against attempts to restrict this fundamental Jewish religious and cultural practice,” he asserted.

“While this may appear to be a minor change to some, it would threaten to fundamentally change the lives of many Manitoba residents,” Mostyn noted. “We are also concerned about a potential slippery slope toward more critical blows to Jewish life that we have seen in other Western countries.”

Although rare in North America, circumcision bans have made some headway in Europe, including in Iceland and Denmark, although none have thus far been enacted.

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