'Oldest man since Abraham' circumcised by Chabad in Canada

96-year-old Armin Konn was born in Ukraine in a Jewish home, but never underwent the procedure


Proving there is no cut-off for a brit milah, a 96-year-old man in Canada underwent the ancient practice this week, with Chabad claiming him as the 'oldest man since Abraham' to be circumcised.

Armin Konn is thought to be the oldest Jewish man to be circumcised since God allegedly commanded the 99-year-old patriarch Abraham to have it done over 3,700 years ago, the Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario, Canada, said on Thursday.

Armin was born in Zhvil, Ukraine in 1926 and while living under a Communist regime, suppressed his Jewish identity throughout his early life.

According to Chabad, his parents were unwilling to circumcise him over concerns for his safety.

As a teenager, Armin fought with partisans in the Ukrainian SSR against the Nazis, and later enlisted in the Red Army’s air force.

After his plane was shot down over Lithuania, Armin spent the rest of the war in a German prisoner-of-war camp and after the war emigrated to Canada.

In Canada, Armin has donated his time to the Alzheimer Department at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Seniors Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children, and the Agincourt Community Services Association.

He is also said to have volunteered countless hours in the past two decades to the Air Cadet League of Canada, where he raised funds to support training, chaired local squadron committees, and organised field trips, competitions, and social events for the squadron.

In recent years, Armin became involved with the Toronto Jewish community and, after talking to his rabbis and consulting with doctors, decided that he wanted to follow in his ancestor Abraham’s footsteps.

He went under the knife alongside the newborn son of Rabbi Yisrael Zaltzman of Chabad-Lubavitch’s Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario.

Both the 96-year-old and the 8-day-old were given their Jewish names in the Thursday ceremony as they entered into the Convenant of Abraham, surrounded by friends and family.

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