Religion: Japanese Jew

Rabbis and Israeli government officials crowded around the open doorway as an elderly man was wheeled into the second-floor operating room of Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox Shaare Zedek Hospital, where Mosaic law is observed so strictly that nurses are forbidden to write on patients' charts on the Sabbath. The sheet-draped patient: Abram Setsuzau Kotsuji, 60, a descendant of Shinto priests. The surgery: circumcision, as part of his conversion to Judaism. As the mohel (circumciser) lifted the knife, he repeated the ancient formula: "Blessed be the Lord our God who has sanctified us and commanded us to circumcise the convert."

After a rigorous examination in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!