In a tough break for the children of Orthodox Jewish families, a former grand rabbi of Israel has urged parents to amputate their dolls to avoid the perils of idolatry.
Basing the move on a Biblical ban on the possession of idols, Mordechai Eliyahu, a Sephardic rabbi, broadcast his edict on a religious radio station calling for an arm or a leg to be dismembered.
In the case of a teddy bear or other stuffed animals, the children will see their beloved toys lose an ear or an eye instead.
“It is very important that these toys do not remain intact so as to remove the element of idolatry,” said Eliyahu.
His son, Shmuel Eliyahu, himself a rabbi in the northern town of Safed, said that it was inappropriate to own statues or dolls, even to play with or for artistic purposes.
“They need to be amputated or at least altered,” he said.
Shmuel revealed that his father had forced one of his followers to snap off the ear of a replica of a statue of Moses by Michelangelo that he had bought at an exorbitant price.
Religious edicts are not legally obliging in Israel.