A pastor that is fighting to protect Jewish ritual circumcision was awarded the Central Council of Jews in Germany’s highest honor.
Nikolaus Schneider, 66, received the Leo Baeck Prize Thursday in Berlin. Schneider is the president of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, the nation’s main Protestant body.
Schneider has been vocal in his disparagement of German efforts to block brit milah, the Jewish rite of circumcision. Last year, the pastor criticized a Cologne ruling that made non-medical circumcision a criminal offense.
The matter has seen much back and forth between legislators and Jewish leaders, but finally settled after a law affirmed the legal right to religious circumcision.
Schneider called it an “attack on Jewish identity,” especially egregious in light of “our German history with Jewry.”
The Leo Baeck Prize ceremony, which has taken place since 1957 and comes with a $14,000 prize, kicked off a weekend of activities as part of Community Day, bringing together some 600 Jewish leaders and members across Germany.