Skip to content

New York City Jewish Policy On Metzitzah B’peh Is Just Wrong!

February 25, 2015

It seems to me that sound medical science has been jettisoned in New York City for wacky political interests.  I often write of my concerns that some conservatives turn away from science and that such moves are lunacy.    The same line can be drawn from the liberal mayor of New York City to the policy regarding metzitzah b’peh.

The de Blasio administration is giving up on the controversial policy of requiring a written consent form from parents before a mohel can perform metzitzah b’peh, the circumcision ritual that involves orally suctioning blood from the wounded penis. … The deal: In exchange for abandoning the consent forms, which were really never enforceable, the coalition of rabbis negotiating with City Hall agreed that if a baby is diagnosed with H.S.V.-1, the community would identify the mohel who performed the bris, or circumcision, and ask him to undergo testing. If the mohel tests positive for H.S.V.-1, the city’s health department will test the D.N.A. of the herpes strain to see if it matches the infant’s. If it does, the mohel will be banned from performing the ritual for life.

If it doesn’t, the health department will work to find the source of the virus. If that source can’t be identified, there are no rules in place to keep that mohel from performing metzitzah b’peh, even though he has tested positive for H.S.V.-1.

Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief of the infectious diseases division at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, also filed an affidavit saying, “it is my professional opinion that suctioning of the fresh circumcision wound puts uninfected infants at risk of acquiring HSV-1 and developing serious illness.”

City health officials linked 17 cases of neonatal herpes to direct oral suction in the last 15 years. Of those, two have died and two more suffered brain damage.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: