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November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rev. Erick Salgado’

JPress Forum: Metzitzah B’peh, Vouchers, Weiner Charms the Crowd

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Appearing for the first time with all of his Democratic rivals on stage, Anthony Weiner sought to stand out, for the second time in a row, ahead of his competitors. At a Jewish Press mayoral forum in Manhattan Beach, Mr. Weiner claimed to be the first to oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s regulation on the traditional practice of Metzitzah B’peh.

“I first spoke about Metzitzah B’peh when I ran in 2005,” Mr. Weiner said at the first forum on issues relating to the Orthodox Jewish community. “I was trying to get anyone possible to talk about it in the context of that campaign because, you know, this didn’t start last week,” he said. ”This has been going on for years now, that this battle has been going on, and for me it comes down to my values as someone who believes in the ethos of New York.”

Adding, “Part of that ethos of New York is we all come from different places, we bring different cultures, we bring different ideas, and we are never too far from our mother country. We try to bring those traditions here and that’s very, very important and part of the fundamental structure of the frum community.”

Mr. Weiner was quoted in the Jewish Forward during his first run for mayor, in 2005: “It is not the place of the Department of Health to be deciding on a religious practice. I am troubled, based on the facts of this case, about whether or not the city has overreached here.”

In comparison to Mr. Weiner walking around the issue, the remaining candidates directly addressed the issue at great concern to the frum community. Sal Albanese and Bill de Blasio promised to review the issue and discuss the matter with the rabbis and community leaders in order to find common ground. Speaker Christine Quinn defended the consent form requirement as a balance between religious freedom and public health concerns. John Liu and Rev. Erick Salgado were the only candidates to pledge to discontinue the city’s anti-Metztitzah B’peh regulations.

There are not many issues the Democratic mayoral hopefuls agree on, especially when they are seated at one table. However, on the one issue that is of great concern to the Jewish community, amid the high cost of tuition and transportation, all of the candidates held hands together in opposing school choice vouchers or tax credit relief.

At The Jewish Press forum in Manhattan Beach Wednesday evening, none of the viable candidates seeking to succeed Mayor Bloomberg expressed their support for some kind of relief to struggling parents who are not willing to enroll in the public school system.

In a previous conversation with this reporter, Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota promised to fight hard for school choice vouchers if elected. “The mayor can use the bully pulpit to advocate in Albany for private schools,” he said. “It’s important that our children are properly educated. The role of the government and the role of the state is making sure they have the proper textbooks, making sure they are secure and making sure that they have transportation. The children that go to parochial schools and yeshivas are residents and the children of taxpayers in the city of New York, and they are not getting their fair share,” he asserted.

“On the issue of tax credits, I have been in favor of that. I have yet to find a way that it would cover the full tuition, but some form of a tax credit, to give relief to parents who pay for property tax as well and all the other taxes in New York, and are also paying tuition,” Mr. Lhota proclaimed.




Few Mayoral Candidates Stand Up to Chassidim on ‘Metzitzah B’peh’

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

When it comes to the mayoral candidates’ stances on the controversial Jewish circumcision practice known as metzitzah b’peh, Rev. Erick Salgado and City Comptroller John Liu pledged to outright abolish the city’s regulation of the practice, The Forward reported.

“For thousands of years, this has been a practice that has been observed by people,” Liu said. “As with most procedures, some risk is inherent. But I would certainly defer to the rabbis on this, as opposed to thinking that, well, we know better after thousands of years of this practice.”

The metzitzah, translated as suction, is one of the steps involved in the circumcision rite, and is intended to renew blood flaw in the traumatized organ. But in recent years several babies became sick and at least two died, and it has been strongly suggested that the culprits in those cases were ritual circumcisers suffering from herpes simplex – and the NY City Dept. of Health is seeking to curb the practice, if not through legislation then through education.

In a meeting with an Orthodox Jewish crowd in Brooklyn that was posted online in March, Democratic candidate Bill Thompson was told by one of the attendees that any mayoral candidate who didn’t take a stand against regulation of MBP would be a candidate for whom people wouldn’t feel comfortable voting. In response, Thompson said, “The government needs to respect the religious beliefs of people.”

Thompson added that he had heard there was no discussion between members of the Orthodox Jewish community and the city, and that he would be “absolutely willing to sit down and talk” about balancing safety and religious practice.

Another Democratic candidate, Erick Salgado, in a speech to the Rabbinical Alliance of America, called MBP “a practice that was commanded by God,” one that had been practiced “since God told Abraham to do so.”

Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota, was reportedly quoted by The Forward as a supporter of the regulation. Based on a video taken by Photo Journalist Shimon Gifter, the Forward concluded that Mr. Lhota’s assessment that the signed consent forms was “a reasonable approach” to tell parents what the risks are, was an expression of supporting the regulation.

However, in a phone conversation with this reporter, Mr. Lhota claimed The Forward took his words out of context. Pointing to the video, in which he says he is opposed to the government regulation or banning religious practices or tradition. Mr. Lhota also said it was the first time he was asked about the issue, and that he intended to study it, and meet with religious leaders in order to solve the issue.

“Look, it requires education,” Mr. Lhota told Jewish students in April, according to the video posted. “Originally the mayor wanted to outright ban it. Now he wants you to sign a piece of paper that acknowledges that you understand it. That’s a reasonable approach. Banning it, no. It’s a reasonable approach to tell you what the risks are. If you understand the risk, and you sign that you understand the risk, then the burden is on you. That a good thing to do. Government shouldn’t tell people what to do, but direct you,” he said. Adding, “I Follow the issue. I have an enormous respect to religion, tradition and culture and all of that.”

Mr. Lhota’s Republican challenger, John Catsimatidis, apparently supports the regulation. A representative for the campaign told the Forward that Catsimatidis “believes a mohel’s work should be regulated by the health department, just like a variety of other procedures are,” and that “we understand the religious implications, but there also has to be a balance with the health implications.”

When this reporter called the Catsimatidis campaign for a response, we were told that Mr. Catsimatidis himself didn’t come clear on the issue yet.

In a statement to the Forward, Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn said the use of signed consent forms to perform MBP “protects religious freedoms” and is the “right policy,” but that the city’s health department “must do a better job in the future with its outreach on sensitive issues in which public health and religious practices intersect.”

Democrat Bill de Blasio said that while the city “has a solemn duty to protect the public health, and we will never compromise on that.” He added that Mayor Michael Bloomberg “was wrong to simply dictate to a community on a matter of religious tradition.” De Blasio added that he would find a solution “that protects the health of newborns and allows freedom of religious practice.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/few-mayoral-candidates-stands-up-to-hasidim-on-metzitzah-bpeh/2013/05/05/

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