‘Oldest man since Abraham’: 96-year-old circumcised in Canada

Ukrainian-born Armin Konn finally fulfilled a religious ritual that was denied to him due to the anti-Jewish ideology of the ruling communists.

By World Israel News Staff

In a historic event that has garnered attention from the Jewish community around the world, a 96-year-old man was recently circumcised in Canada, with the Chabad organization describing him as the “oldest man since Abraham” to undergo the age-old Jewish ritual of the brit milah.

The elderly man, Armin Konn, who grew up in Ukraine in a Jewish family, finally fulfilled a religious tradition that was denied to him due to the anti-Jewish ideology of the ruling communists at the time.

Armin Konn was born in Zhvil, Ukraine, in 1926 during a period when the communist rulers were actively suppressing the Jewish religion. According to the Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario in Toronto, Konn’s parents, out of fear for their son’s safety, decided not to have him circumcised. This decision was driven by the oppressive atmosphere that made it unsafe for Jewish families to openly practice their faith.

During World War II, Konn enlisted in the Red Army’s Air Force. His aircraft was shot down over Lithuania, leading to his capture and subsequent imprisonment in a German POW camp. But he survived the remainder of the war and eventually made his way to Canada after the conflict ended.

In recent years, Konn developed a stronger connection to the Toronto Jewish community and began engaging in conversations with rabbis and doctors about the significance of circumcision.

On Thursday, at Chabad’s Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario, Armin Konn underwent the circumcision ceremony alongside the newborn son of a local rabbi, Yisrael Zaltzman. The 96-year-old man and the eight-day-old baby were both given their Jewish names during the ceremony, as per tradition.

The Chabad organization expressed their admiration for Armin Konn’s bravery and commitment to reconnecting with his Jewish heritage. They acknowledged that he now holds a unique position in history as the “oldest man since Abraham” to undergo circumcision, a practice that traces its roots back approximately 3,700 years to the biblical figure commanded by God to be circumcised at the age of 99.