Audio Lectures

The Controversy of 1864

Posted February 21, 2013

In 1864, Rabbi Bernard Illowy of New Orleans write a letter to Der Israelit asking for assistance on the following issue. A Jewish man married a non-Jewish woman and they had a son. The boy was not Jewish but the parents wanted to have the son circumcised in infancy to facilitate a possible conversion when he reaches maturity. Rabbi Illowy forbade this practice. The rabbinic community in Germany disagreed whether to circumcize the boy. This issue reflected both a halakhic disagreement and two view son the best way to preserve the vitality of Orthodoxy in Germany at the time.
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