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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘circumcision’

Baby Dies in Israeli Hospital following Circumcision

Friday, June 7th, 2013

A newborn baby who was hospitalized in serious condition at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, from complications following a rite of circumcision, passed away on Friday. Both Chief Rabbis and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel expressed their sorrow to the mourning family.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel stated that “immediately after the initial report of the incident, the director of the dept. of circumcisions in the Chief Rabbinate was in constant contact with the mohel (ritual circumciser) who conducted the rite, with the doctors who treated the baby at the Wolfson Medical Center, and with the senior physicians who are members of the joint circumcisions committee of the Ministry of Health and the Rabbinate.”

It was reported by the rabbinate that “since the initial diagnosis, the doctors who treated the baby were convinced that the complication in the baby’s condition was not the result of the circumcision but resulted from a previously existing medical condition. Later treatments administered to the baby confirmed this determination.”

“An investigation revealed that the mohel who performed the circumcision is a veteran, certified mohel,” said the Rabbinate’s statement. “The mohel followed procedure and performed a test on the baby after the rite. Only about half an hour after circumcision did signs of the medical complication in the child began to appear, not related to the circumcision itself. The mohel accompanied the family to the hospital.”

A week ago, at about 11 AM, MDA paramedics were called to a synagogue in Holon, after an infant who had undergone a rite of circumcision there had stopped breathing and lost consciousness, shortly after the ceremony. The rescue crew took him to Wolfson Medical Center. After resuscitation in the hospital shock room, the baby’s condition stabilized.

Hatzolah volunteer Yehuda Mizrachi, who was among the first on the scene, told Channel 2 News: “We received a call about an unconscious baby. When I arrived I found a completely blue baby, not breathing and without a pulse. We started resuscitation and massaging, until the ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital.”

After investigating the circumstances of the case, it was discovered that the circumcision had actually been performed flawlessly, and apparently baby choked during feeding.

“The bris had concluded safely and then everyone sat down to eat,” Abraham, a friend of the family, related. “He was nursing from his mother and then she put him in his cart. At some point we noticed that the child was not responding and had turned blue.”

“One of the guests called the MDA, and with their guidelines performed a cardiac massage,” added Abraham, described the event. “Then the rescue team continued the efforts, along with the MDA.”

Daily Compares Jewish Ire on Circumcision Cartoon to Muslim Riots

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Norwegian daily newspaper Dagbladet said Jewish reactions to its caricature on circumcision “are similar” to riots that erupted over cartoons mocking Mohammed eight years ago.

Referencing Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten caricatures of Mohammed in 2005, Dagbladet wrote in a statement, “We now have similar reactions to a cartoon that Dagbladet printed last week.”

Several people died in what The New York Times termed “a wave of violent protests by Muslims” in the Middle East and Europe over the caricatures mocking Mohammed.

Last week, several Jewish organizations condemned the Dagbladet caricature, which showed two people, who were widely perceived to be Jewish because of their clothing, maiming a child with a fork and bolt cutter while holding a book and professing their faith.

Dagbladet has justified itself and criticized the Jewish reaction by simply re-defining anti-Semitism as love for Jews. The caricature was not at all against Jews, said the paper, which went on to claim it actually is champion of snuffing out anti-Semitism.

Not only that. It seems to understand that the anger of Jews is a camouflage for some kind of evil intentions.

“The groups which said the circumcision caricature was anti-Semitic “leave little room for nuances and reflections,” the paper wrote in a statement published this week on its website.

“They claim that this is proof of Dagbladet’s anti-Semitic views. We come from a different angle and have a different interpretation of the cartoon,” the statement read. “It is important to distinguish between friend and foe when considering this question of values. Dagbladet has a long and consistent history of fighting anti-Semitism.”

The JTA contributed to this report.

Norwegian Daily Published Blood Libel Caricature of Circumcision

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

The leading Norwegian daily Dagbladet published a caricature of what appeared to be Jews torturing a baby during a circumcision, and the European Jewish Congress said it may sue it for committing a hate crime.

The caricature that appeared in Tuesday’s newspaper, the country’s third largest in terms of circulation – showed police officers looking on as a bearded man wearing a black hat and black coat sticks a three-tooth pitchfork into the head of a blood-soaked baby while holding a book.

Another unseen person cuts off the baby’s foot with a bolt cutter as a woman in a long-sleeve shirt and a hat shows the officers another blood-spattered book and tells them: “Abuse? No, this tradition is central to our belief.” The police officers apologize “for interrupting.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Copper, said the cartoon was “so virulently anti-Semitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy.”

Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of anti-Semitism and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said the caricature “cannot be viewed separately from centuries of libels in Christian circles that try to establish a link between the ritual abuse of blood and the Jewish faith.”

But in an email sent to MIFF, a Norwegian pro-Israel organization, Dagbladet cartoon artist Tomas Drefvelin said he did not mean to draw Jews in his caricature, which he meant “not as criticism of either a specific religion or a nation [but] as a general criticism of religions,” Drefvelin wrote.

He added, “I gave the people in the picture hats, and the man beard, because this gives them a more religious character … Jew-hatred is reprehensible. I would never draw to create hatred of a people, or against individuals.”

Ervin Kohn, the president of Norway’s Jewish community, told JTA that in Norway, “it is not uncommon to compare brit mila with cutting off limbs and calling it mutilation. This is a form of lying, propaganda.”

European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor stated, “This cartoon has crossed all lines of decency and is dripping with hate and anti-Semitism. We are now studying the possibility that this legally constitutes incitement to hatred and even a hate-crime and will require legal action if this proves to be the case.

“This obviously falls outside the boundaries of freedom of speech as no one has the freedom to incite hatred against a particular people.

“The reason we have laws against hate is because modern society understands the connection between incitement and violence.

“This is a violent cartoon which is meant to inspire hate and contempt against one particular people. This type of hate, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda, cannot be left unanswered, and it is exactly this type of incitement which is contributing to a very troubling period for minorities in Europe at this time, especially with the rise of the far-Right.”

Israeli Rabbinate Backs Berlin Rabbi for Oral Suction at Brit

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has sent a letter of support to Berlin Chabad Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, who was charged by an anti-circumcision activist for practicing the ritual of oral suction of a small amount of blood at a circumcision.

The practice is widely accepted in Israel but caused controversy in the New York area after several reports of herpes. At least two boys died and two others suffered brain damage in the 11 cases of herpes reported by New York City health officials after the practice was carried out at circumsions in the years 2004-2011.

Last September, the board of health voted 9-0 to require mohels to obtain signed consent forms from parents before performing the rite.

Rabbi Moshe Morsiano, director of the division for circumcisions in the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, emphasized in his letter that that the ritual of oral suction should not be carried out when the mohel is ill or has a sore in his mouth.

Rabbi Morsiano listed a number of opinions written by rabbis of the past several generations, all whom concluded that the ritual, known in Hebrew as Metzitza B’Pe, is integral part of ritual circumcision.

The Rabbinical Center of Europe, which represents m ore than 700 rabbis, also has supported Rabbi Teichtal.

The controversy in Germany is particularly important because of last year’s ruling by a judge in a German province that circumcision is illegal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped in and backed legislation to make sure that religious circumcision remained legal.

“The Jews of Europe must have religious freedom,
said the Rabbinical Center. “All Jewish leaders have the responsibility and obligation to stop any interference with any detail of Jewish practice”.

European Rabbis to Grant Merkel Top Honor

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive a top award from Europe’s mainstream Orthodox rabbinic body, the Conference of European Rabbis.

It announced Monday that Merkel will be awarded the 2013 Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry for her dedication to the German Jewish community and “outspoken denunciation of anti-Semitism throughout Europe.”

The award will be presented in May at the Great Synagogue of Europe in Brussels; for security reasons the exact date has not been released.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, or CER, and a chief rabbi of Moscow, called Merkel “a worthy recipient, in recognition of her continuing efforts of intercommunal harmony across Europe, her friendship towards the Jewish community and outstanding contributions to the promotion of tolerance and understanding.”

The CER thanked Merkel in particular for standing up for the rights of Jews and Muslims to practice ritual circumcision on boys. Last December, after months of debate following attempts to ban the practice, Germany’s Bundestag passed a law that permits such circumcisions, with minor restrictions that were acceptable to Jewish leaders. Merkel had forcefully stated her support for such a law and reassured both minority communities that she would stand up for them.

Last year’s winner of the award was former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, who served as president of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2012.

Another Baby (Almost) Bites the Dust

Friday, April 5th, 2013

There has been yet another case of neonatal herpes reported in the media. From the Forward:

Another Jewish newborn — the second in three months — has contracted neonatal herpes due to a controversial oral suctioning technique employed during ritual circumcision, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has reported.

I frankly do not completely understand why anyone continues using the procedure of metzitza b’peh (suctioning with the mouth – MbP). Even more perplexing is opposition to a New York City Health Department requirement to sign a consent form before allowing that procedure to be performed on their newborn immediately after the milah (circumcision).

I am not going to go through the reasoning as to why this procedure is not Halachicly mandated. Been there and done that more than once. Suffice it to say that suctioning blood from the circumcision wound was understood by Hazal to be a requirement for medical purposes.

That it is mandated in the Gemarah makes it a Halachic requirement. But it does not make it part of the actual milah. The Talmud also does not say how that suctioning should be done. Nowhere does it say that it must be done directly by mouth.

But for reasons not completely clear to me, many Hassidim say suctioning the blood by mouth is an essential part of the circumcision itself – without which the circumcision would be invalid. I suppose they base it on a mimetic tradition. This is how they saw their ‘fathers’ do it. And this is how it’s always been done. It therefore must be a requirement.

What about babies that have contracted herpes? They reject completely any evidence that is has been transmitted by a Herpes infected mohel. How, they ask, could it be that a Torah requirement would cause a danger to a child? The truth is not what we see but what ‘God says it is’ (or as I prefer to characterize it – what they THINK God says).The babies who have contracted it post circumcision could not have possibly gotten it from an infected mohel no matter what the evidence shows.

What is even more perplexing is how common MbP is even among non-Hasidim. And the fact that Agudah wastes political capital fighting even the requirement that a consent form be signed. Their response has been that this is a church/state issue. And that tampering in any way with any part of milah is an attack against milah itself.

What’s worse is that in their zeal to protect this procedure they have compared government concerns about the health of the baby to anti-bris campaigns of ancient Greece – where a bris milah was outlawed so as to Helenize their Jewish subjects taking them completely out of the Torah’s orbit.

There are many mohalim here in Chicago. Some do MbP and some do not – using a sterile pipette for suction instead. Those who do MbP are the most popular mohalim among Haredim. Even those who are not Hasidim. It’s almost as if they did not know that MbP is an issue. Or don’t care.

How can a father not care what happens to his baby? How can he say that it’s probably going to be OK? True – it probably will since the incidence is of an infected mohel transmitting the disease is very low. But why do they insist on these moahlim? And why do these mohalim insist on using MbP anyway? They are not Chasidic. And yet MbP is automatic with them. (Although my understanding is that some of them will not use if if asked not to… still – MbP is their default.)

Most people know that R’ Moshe Tendler is vehemently opposed to MbP. He has been publicly called a Hellenizer for his efforts by some members of the right. But according to the Forward so too is R’ Hershel Shachter. From the Forward:

In a public lecture last February in London, Schachter, who is a rosh yeshiva, or senior chief rabbinic authority, at Y.U.’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, claimed that his daughter’s hospital treated three cases per year of Hasidic babies infected with herpes. The infections were “obvously because of metzitzah b’peh,” Schachter told his audience, citing his daughter r.

Schachter also cited his daughter as claiming that there are, in fact, about 15 such cases per year in the city, including the three cases or so she claimed per year at her own hospital. Schachter said his daughter explained that the hospitals do not report these cases because Hasidic clients would not return if they were made public. Schachter’s remarks were first posted March 14 on the website Failed Messiah and authenticated by the Forward.

Mother Blames Mohel for Baby’s Herpes after Circumcision

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

This year’s second case of herpes resulting from the “metzitzah b’peh” custom immediately after circumcision was reported in New York, and the mother of the baby has blamed the mohel for performing to rite without her consent.

The baby survived after contacting the disease following the ritual of the mohel sucking a bit of blood after the circumcision, a custom that is practiced mainly by the Haredi orthodox community in the United States but which is common throughout Israel.

Controversy over the procedure and numerous reports of Herpes prompted the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to require parents to sign a consent form before the procedure can be performed.

The mother of the baby said she the mohel did not ask her for permission.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/113901/2013/04/03/

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