Threat to Ban Milah in Finland Averted

LONDON -
(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A threat to ban bris milah in Finland has been averted for now, b’chasdei Shamayim, following intervention from Milah UK, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Finnish Jewish community.

The Finnish Jewish community were extremely concerned when a proposal was tabled in a key parliamentary committee which could have led to bris milah being criminalized.

The community approached Milah UK – the U.K. Jewish community’s organization for advocating for the legal retention of milah – for support. Milah UK and the Board of Deputies arranged talks to the highest levels of government in Finland through the Finnish Ambassador in London, Marku Keinanan.

Following this intervention the parliamentary committee jettisoned the proposal. Talks will now take place between the community and government in Finland aimed at recognizing the legal status of bris milah.

Jonathan Arkush, Co-chair of Milah UK, said, “Larger Jewish communities have a responsibility to smaller ones to help them in a time of need. But more than that, we know that if a self-described liberal democracy like Finland bans milah, the threat to us here in the U.K. becomes greater. We want to thank the Finnish Jewish community, his excellency the ambassador, and all those who worked to ensure a common sense way forward on this core religious freedom.”

Yaron Nadbornik, president of the Central Council of Finnish Jewish Communities, said, “We thank Milah UK and the Board of Deputies for their support during this anxious episode for the Finnish Jewish community. The support of international partners has helped ensure a way forward for us to work towards securing our religious freedom for now.”

There continues to be a small campaign in Finland to ban milah and Milah UK and the Board of Deputies will continue to be in contact with the Finnish Jewish Community to ensure all appropriate support is available.