New York Fails To Enforce Consent Forms for Metzitzah B'Peh Circumcision Rite

2 More Infants Contract Herpes But No Sign of City Action

getty images

By Paul Berger

Published February 05, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

For centuries, metzitzah b’peh was a common practice for cleaning the circumcision wound, until some rabbis ruled that a sponge, and later a sterile pipette, could be used instead. Zwiebel said that only some ultra-Orthodox groups use a pipette, while others insist on direct oral suction.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis do not believe that MBP poses a health risk to infants. Instead, they believe that other caregivers may have been responsible for the infections recorded in New York.

In court papers, the ultra-Orthodox groups rely, in part, on the affidavit of Daniel S. Berman, chief of infectious diseases at the New York Westchester Square Hospital, who states that “the evidence does not show that MBP has ever resulted in transmission” of neonatal herpes.

An array of groups represented by Shapiro contradicted Berman’s testimony, among them the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

“On one hand, the plaintiffs say the department of health hasn’t collected blood samples or gotten proof of contraction,” Shapiro said. “On the other hand, people are refusing to identify the mohel, and mohels are refusing to be tested. The community’s intransigence makes it impossible to obtain the proof they say is necessary” to show that MBP causes neonatal herpes.

During last year’s mayoral race, some ultra-Orthodox groups hoped that de Blasio would get rid of the consent forms. During the campaign, de Blasio said that Bloomberg had been “wrong to simply dictate to a community on a matter of religious tradition.”

At a January press conference after taking office, de Blasio said he would keep the forms in place “while searching for a solution that we think is more effective.”

De Blasio added: “I think it’s evident that because there hasn’t been the kind of dialogue necessary to get to common ground on this issue, [that DEL] we can do a better job of coming up with an approach that I think is much more effective at protecting the lives of our children.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.