web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Home » News & Views » US »

Orthodox Leaders Fear Precedent Of Gov’t Intervention On Bris Rite

Ceremonial Pillow Used At A Bris Milah

Ceremonial Pillow Used At A Bris Milah

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.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Orthodox Leaders Fear Precedent Of Gov’t Intervention On Bris Rite”

  1. These Rabbis believe they are the best experts not only on Torah but also science.

    They have come out several times in conflict with the public interest, as when they.
    counsel to break the law and not immediately report child molesters even though impartial studies show most children do not fabricate these stories.

    Here there is not even a conflict with any law, only a custom, and different rabbis differ about this, yet one faction is exerting political pressure so parents don't give their written approval?

    Let's give parents notice that they need to pause and think for a minute. could my baby get sick this way?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers patrol near the Lebanon border in Rosh Hanikra on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
UPDATED: Two Soldiers Killed in Hezbollah Attack
Latest News Stories
IDF on high alert in response to rocket attacks in northern Israel.

The Spanish Ministry of Defense has confirmed that rockets were fired first at Israel from Lebanon, provoking IDF into retaliation.

The IDF announced that two Israeli soldiers were killed as a result of the Hezbollah terror attack earlier today.

The Gazans are protesting the freeze in the money transfer from the UN for rehabilitating Gaza.

IDF soldiers patrol near the Lebanon border in Rosh Hanikra on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Hezbollah launched a multi-site attack against Israel’s northern region Wednesday morning, wounding soldiers.

4:28 pm Released for publications: 2 IDF soldiers were killed in the attack on Har Dov today. 3:15pm Channel 10 reports that 7 IDF soldiers were wounded in today’s Hizbollah cross border attack. 2:28pm Reports of IDF tanks and APCs on carriers…going North. 2:16pm Despite Lebanese News reports, the IDF has reiterated that no IDF […]

One UNIFIL soldier is dead in the wake of an attack on Israel by Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

Jordan has caved to ISIS and agreed to swap a terrorist prisoner for its hostage pilot.

PM Netanyahu warned Hezbollah attackers bluntly from Sderot on Wednesday, “look at what happened in Gaza.”

IDF posts on Mount Hermon and Har-Dov have sustained mortar shell bombings fired from Lebanon at 1:00 PM Wednesday afternoon.

An Israeli artillery field encampment on high alert after they responded to several rockets hitting the Mount Hermon Resort, in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, January 27, 2105

Israeli soldiers were wounded on the Israeli-Lebanese border, by an Anti-Tank Missile shot at an IDF convoy.

French President Francois Hollande tells Jews Monday at Holocaust memorial, “France is your homeland.” Not Israel…

One American, a former Marine, dead in ISIS-affiliate’s terrorist attack on Libyan luxury hotel.

Israel says air strikes Tuesday night on Syrian bases in Quneitra, Damascus and surrounds were a warning to Beirut.

Chicago-style campaigning lands in Israel. Who and what is running this “non-partisan” campaign? Paging Lois Lerner!

1:05 AM Syrian Media reports sites Israeli forces targeted belonged to Assad regime forces, including “Brigade 90.” Multiple sites targeted, including base near Khan Arnabah, and west Damascus. 12:54 AM No rockets were found on the Golan. It is believed that the rocket siren went off on the Golan in response to the IAF attack […]

More Articles from Sandy Eller
Eller-010215-Bed

As always, when it comes to electronics, you get what you pay for.

Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

“We had been in our first-period class for less than three minutes, and the website was already in-motion,” Rabbi Young told The Jewish Press.

It may be sweater weather now, but sooner or later summer will be here, bringing abundant sunshine, swimming, barbeques and mosquitoes.

Demetrious’ insistence on handmaking his chocolaty treasures with only the highest quality ingredients paid off in customer loyalty…

It seems ironic to use the words “Ronald McDonald” and “kosher” in the same sentence, but venture out to New Hyde Park and the two go hand in hand.

Just a single word can sum up one of the most disturbing trends that continues to sweep our supermarkets: downsizing.

Until that point, everything we had eaten at Butterfish had excelled in its simplicity, but our desserts offered a much greater level of complexity and both were truly outstanding.

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: