web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 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
Amazon drone delivers to the door..
Drone Found on White House Lawn
Latest News Stories
Amazon drone delivers to the door..

Was it a toy? A test by Al Qaeda? Or maybe Amazon got the wrong address?

An orthodox travel agent helped  saved the life of a Jew by convincing him not to violate the Shabbat by boarding the Malaysian flight that went missing.

ISIS-linked cyber terrorists promoting a ‘Cyber Caliphate’ were busy early Monday hacking the website of Malaysia Airlines.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jan. 20, 2014.

Canada’s Conservative government is set to consider new anti-terror legislation by the end of this week, following some nations in Europe.

Old City of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem is made up of multiple cultures living side by side, in various degrees of conflict and cooperation.

IDF soldiers were dragged to missionary evening of ‘appreciation’ for soldiers who fought in Operation Protective Edge last summer in Gaza.

Israeli President Ruvy Rivlin met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

For the first time in five years, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror government allows Israeli imports.

The northeastern United States is gearing up for what may be one of the biggest blizzards in the past half century.

If US Jews were to make Aliyah at the rate the Jewish Agency expects from France, Israel would have 1 million more Jews.

Iran allegedly is plotting to assassinate the sons of the current and former Israeli prime ministers.

The White House is passing up the opportunity for Obama’s first meeting with the new Israeli president.

Northern Israel is on a high tension wire. The IDF temporarily closed roads Sunday because of a reported “security incident.”

Jewish journalist Damian Pachter has arrived in Israel from Argentina via Uruguay, having fled for his life.

President Abbas has been genuinely committed against violence – John Kerry, March 3, 2014 at AIPAC conference.

Prior to Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Bibi talked about the dangers of Iran, ISIS and anti-Semitism and the importance of Aliyah.

It appears the bomb was thrown or placed there yesterday but didn’t explode.

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: