Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!
The New York City Board of Health was scheduled to vote this Thursday (two days after this issue went to press) on a measure requiring parents to sign a consent waiver before allowing a mohel to perform metzitzah b’peh, or oral suctioning, on their infants.
The proposal has created a firestorm in the Orthodox community. While some see the proposal as the first step toward an outright ban on metzitzah b’peh, others are simply leery of attempts by City Hall to legislate religious practices.
The proposed waiver reportedly is the result of a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that since 2000, eleven newborns contracted the herpes simplex virus after the metzitzah b’peh was performed on them. Two of the infants cited in the report suffered brain damage while two others died.
In a statement released on June 6, the City of New York urged that the practice be discontinued entirely and city-owned hospitals began distributing a booklet advising parents about the potential health risks of metzitzah b’peh.
The booklet, titled “Before the Bris, How to Protect Your Baby Against Infection,” details a direct link between oral suctioning by a mohel infected with herpes and both infection and death associated with herpes simplex type one virus (HSV-1); it warns parents that there is no proof that any precautions taken by a mohel to prevent transmission of the disease can reduce the risk of infection and counsels parents to ask their mohel if he performs metzitzah b’peh.
Under the proposed regulations, mohels would be required to distribute consent forms to parents and to keep those waivers for a minimum of one year. The precise wording of the form, which would warn of the potential risks, would be drafted by health officials, not rabbis.
An earlier challenge to metzitzah b’peh on the state level was resolved in 2006 when the New York State Department of Health issued an official protocol for the practice of oral suctioning, developed in conjunction by a team of doctors and rabbis. New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Antonia C. Novella praised the rabbis involved in the process for their cooperation, saying the meetings gave her a better understanding of the importance of metzitzah b’peh and that she was confident the newly developed protocols would respect tradition while still protecting the health of the public.
It is precisely the lack of rabbinical involvement in the proposed regulations that Rabbi Moshe Chaim Friedman of NYmohel.com finds unsettling.
“The problem with the way this is being done is that the city is not engaging in a dialogue with the people that this affects: the rabbonim, those involved in bris milah,” said Rabbi Friedman.
“What was done in 2006 was negotiated with a proper dialogue and was done in a mutually beneficial fashion. This isn’t being discussed with anyone. They are just ramming it down the collective throats of the Orthodox community. Our common goal is the safety of our children, so why mandate this instead of working with us?”
He said another concern was that “the controversy has scared away irreligious people from having a bris altogether, no question about it. They have been led to believe that the rabbi performing the ritual harms babies.”
“This isn’t about defending metzitzah b’peh,” he added. “This is about defending our right to freedom of religion.”
Rabbi Friedman said that regulating any part of bris milah is a dangerous precedent.
“I see this as the beginning of the end. Once they insert themselves into religious practices there is no limit to what they can mandate.”
“We need to protest this vociferously,” added one prominent Brooklyn posek, who asked that his name not be used.
“It is dangerous for the Jewish community to let this go by unchallenged. The moment they have a foot in the door to say anything about religious practice, we face the risk of serious problems.”
Rabbi Romi Cohn, a member of the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, a rabbinic board that has been regulating the practice of bris milah for over 50 years, called the proposed regulations a blood libel.
“Two children died in a twelve-year period,” said Rabbi Cohn. “Mayor Bloomberg says he wants to protect Jewish children from getting hurt? If he is really concerned about the welfare of children, perhaps he should look at New York City hospitals that are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health. Significantly more children have died of staph infections they contracted at New York hospitals than have ever died as a result of a bris milah.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
We are experiencing technical difficulties, and won’t be able to fix the site before Shabbat in Israel…
The IDF has confirmed 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23 of Kfar Saba is the soldier suspected kidnapped by Hamas on Friday.
Netanyahu called Kerry onto the carpet and Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon gave their assurances.
Hamas has learned the art of kidnapping from Hezbollah. Israel neeeds to figure out quickly how to deal with that.
3:31pm IDF Spox notifications: Hamas terrorists killed two IDF soldiers during the suspected kidnapping of 2nd Lt. Goldin this morning. We suspect that a group of Hamas terrorists, including a suicide attacker, kidnapped 2nd. Lt. Goldin at 9:30AM & dragged him into a tunnel. If our suspicions about today’s events are accurate, Hamas took advantage […]
This time Hamas may have succeeded in kidnapping a soldier.
Report: Hamas took advantage of the cease fire to attack IDF soldiers…
The IDF has released names of the soldier killed on Thursday night.
12:30pm Be’er Sheva Region, Ofakim… x2 10:50am Sirens at Eshkol. 10:03am – – Cease fire broken by Hamas – – Hamas fires rocket at Eshkol region. All winners, please collect your bets. No injuries were reported in the rocket strike. 9:30am Hamas hasn’t fired any rockets at Israel yet since the 8:00am cease fire went […]
If Israel finds a terror tunnel during the cease fire, do the terms of the cease fire allow it to be blown up?
Curious as to how long Israel has been rocket free? This site will tell you…
Hamas wants the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to join in…
As the 8:00am deadline for the cease fire approaches, Hamas has shot a lot rockets into Israel to get their last licks: 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 Ashdod, Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 […]
The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.
Glob on the sunscreen, break out the darkest chocolate you can find and let the sun shine in!
Both mains were clearly prepared with an expert hand and could only be described as heavenly.
If you are spending the time in the kitchen, make it worth the effort. Make it taste good. Make it look nice.
For those of us who have no choice but to drive, we need to find ways to make that overpriced tank of gas last as long as possible.
No dairy cookbook would be complete without an array of sinfully decadent treats and there are plenty of those here as well, including three cheesecakes, one of which weighs in at a very slimming 180 calories or less.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/orthodox-leaders-fear-precedent-of-govt-intervention-on-bris-rite/2012/09/12/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: