(JTA) — A top Brooklyn rabbi denounced as “blood libel” a new city policy to bar mohels from carrying out a controversial circumcision rite if babies they treat become infected with herpes.
Rabbi Levi Y. Heber said the new policy “is what some would call a witch hunt or a modern-day blood libel,” The Jewish Week of New York reported
New York City’s health department said it will ban mohels automatically from performing the metzitzah b’peh rite, which involves sucking blood from the infant’s penis, in case of a herpes infection in any infant they treated.
The adoption of the new rule came one day after the city’s health commissioner confirmed that two mohels have been banned from practicing metzitzah b’peh
Under both the previous policy and the new one, the city is relying on the mohels to self-enforce.
A city spokeswoman told the Jewish Week that privacy rules prevent health officials from releasing the names of banned mohels. Banned mohels will be hit with a $2,000 fine if they break the rules.
Most mohels use a sterilized pipette to remove blood from the circumcision wound.