Hershel Goldman

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Dr. Hershel Goldman, BSc[a 1], MBBS[a 2], FRACGP[a 3], is a circumcised doctor, general practitioner, and Jewish mohel who practises medicine in Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Dr. Goldman claims to have ritually circumcised more than 5,000 boys since he qualified as a mohel in the mid-1980s.[1]

Penis amputation

The Daily Mail reports that the Medical Board of Australia has banned him from performing circumcision after he amputated the penises of two boys while performing ritual circumcisions in homes, although he may continue to practise medicine.[2] Dr. Goldman's websites where he promoted unnecessary non-therapeutic circumcision have suspended operation.

Dr. Goldman has filed an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), where a hearing was held on Thursday, 23 May 2024.[2] The VCAT, however, has rejected his request to overturn the decision of the Medical Board of Australia that prohibits him from performing circumcision.[3] [4]

Dr. Goldman had previously been charged with Medicare fraud regarding non-therapeutic circumcision of boys.

Male circumcision

Many Jews believe that the ritual of Brit Milah is required by the so-called Abrahamic covenant, which has been the most sacred ritual of Judaism, although it is increasingly being questioned.[5] Reports from Israel indicate that many Jewish parents are not having their sons circumcised.[6] [7]

Non-therapeutic "cosmetic" circumcision has long been banned at public hospitals in Australia.[8]

Dr Mark Duncan-Smith, the president of the AMA (WA), issued a warning to parents on 10 December 2021 regarding non-therapeutic child circumcision. Dr. Duncan-Smith said parents should only "follow through with the procedure if there is a valid medical reason." According to Dr Duncan-Smith, only about ten percent of boys in Western Australia are now being circumcised.[9]

Potential civil and criminal liability

It is not clear what additional civil and/or criminal penalties Dr. Goldman may face.

Potential criminal liability

Davis Richards (1996) quoted Marion's case, which said:

"[W]here there is a doubt about the therapeutic character of a proposed procedure, those who would be involved in the procedure may be at risk if they act merely upon a purported authorisation given by the parent or other guardian."[10]

Richards concluded:

Ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic and is not warranted or justified by medical evidence. This form of mutilation should not be legally distinguished from female circumcision which is a form of female genital mutilation presently in the process of being prohibited throughout Australia and the Western world. As ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic, may be against public policy, and clearly is not in the best interests of the child, a parent's consent may be vitiated, leaving persons involved in the procedure liable in negligence, notwithstanding parental religious beliefs. Alternatively, if a medical practitioner fails to give the parent reasonable information on the risks of and alternatives to ritual circumcision, the practitioner may also be liable in negligence.[11]

J. Neville Turner, Professor of Law at Melbourne's Monash University and president of Oz Child, has argued that "circumcised boys may sue."[12] Professor Turner cited Marion's case, the 1992 High Court of Australia case regarding parental consent.[13]

Boyle et al. (2000) suggested that circumcision of incompetent minors may constitute criminal assault. They also suggested that civil liability may apply and cited cases in which damages were obtained for circumcision.[14]

Potential civil liability

The guardians of the mutilated boys are likely to seek compensation for their son's injuries.

In a previous case, a Perth man received $360,000 in money damages from a doctor who mutilated his penis.[15]

In an American case in 2010, a court awarded $10.8 million in damages after an infant lost the head of his penis.[16]

See also


  1. REFweb Bachelor of Science, Wikipedia. Retrieved 28 April 2022. (Also abbreviated as BS, B.Sc., SB, or ScB)
  2. REFweb Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Wikipedia. Retrieved 16 June 2021. ( (Latin: Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus Chirurgiae, abbreviated in many ways, most commonly MBBS, but also MB ChB, BMBS, MB BCh, MB BChir, and BM BCh.))
  3. REFweb Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Wikipedia. Retrieved 27 May 2024.


  1. REFnews O'Rourke, Geir (29 October 2020)."Why this GP trained to become a ritual circumciser", Australian Doctor. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
    Quote: There has been a long and heated debate over whether infant ritual circumcision has any place in modern society — let alone government funding through Medicare. There is the issue of consent, for one.
  2. a b REFnews Lackey, Brett (24 May 2024)."Top circumcision doctor is banned from performing the operations after amputating two little boys' penises, tribunal hears", Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  3. REFnews Saxena, Heather (13 June 2014)."GP accused of amputating baby’s penis in ritual circumcision fails to overturn emergency ban", Australian Doctor. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  4. REFnews (13 December 2024)."Circumcision doctor banned after ‘full amputation’ of boy’s penis", Sydney Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2024.
  5. http://www.amazon.com/Questioning-Circumcision-Perspective-Ronald-Goldman/dp/0964489562/
  6. REFweb Ahutuv, Netta (14 June 2012). Even in Israel, more and more parents choose not to circumcise their sons, Haaretz. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  7. REFnews Lubell, Maayan (28 November 2012)."In Israel, some rebel against circumcision", Reuters. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
    Quote: "It's such a taboo in Israel and in Judaism,"
  8. REFjournal Anonymous. Protection offered by circumcision does not warrant lifting ban, say doctors. The Guardian. 8 February 2017; Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  9. REFnews Wondracz, Aidan (9 December 2021)."Parents are warned against circumcising their children after a toddler, 2, died 'of a reaction to anaesthetic' and his baby brother almost bled out", Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  10. Secretary, Department of Health and Community Services v JWB and SMB (1992) 175 CLR 218 at 275.
  11. David Richards. Male Circumcision: Medical or Ritual? 3 J Law Medicine 371 (1996).
  12. REFjournal Turner N. Circumcised boys may sue. The Health Law Update (Australia). 23 February 1996; 1(4): 1-2. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  13. Department of Health & Community Services v JWB & SMB (“Marion’s Case”) (1992) 175 CLR 218; [1992] HCA 15
  14. REFjournal Boyle GJ, Svoboda JS, Price CP, Turner JN. Circumcision of Healthy Boys: Criminal Assault?. J Law Med. February 2000; 7: 301-310. Retrieved 29 May 2024.
  15. REFnews Huggins, Allan (1 January 2000)."Press Release Regarding Shane Peterson’s Victory in Australian Circumcision Case", https://www.arclaw.org. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  16. REFnews Tagami, Ty (10 July 2010)."Atlanta lawyer wins $11 million lawsuit for family in botched circumcision", https://www.ajc.com/, Atlanta Journl-Constitution. Retrieved 28 May 2024.