After New York reported six new cases of herpes contracted by Hasidic infants who underwent a controversial circumcision rite, the city admitted that no action has been taken against any of the mohels involved.
In fact, the rabbis have been identified in only two cases — and they were simply warned to avoid carrying out the potentially dangerous metzizah b’peh rite, the New York Post reported.
Mayor Bill De Blasio insisted the apparent lack of cooperation from the Hasidic community does not reflect a failure in his policy, which took a much softer approach than ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“We’ve made it very clear what we expect from the community,” he told the paper. “We’re evaluating the situation, when we get through with that evaluation we’ll have an update.”
Health officials say the rite, in which rabbis suck blood directly from the infant’s genitals, is dangerous.
Under Bloomberg, parents were required to sign parental consent forms. But De Blasio, who enjoyed support from Hasidic powerbrokers in his election campaign, rolled back the rules in favor of a plan that called for mohels to be voluntarily tested if infants contract diseases.
Do New Hasidic Circumcision Illnesses Show New York’s Rules Are Toothless?
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner