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Mohel Investigated After Death of Baby

New York City health officials are investigating whether a baby died after contracting herpes during a ritual circumcision. The city officials believe that at least three babies might have contracted herpes, and one died, after Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer performed a process known as “metzizah b’peh,” in which the mohel puts his lips to the wound on the penis and then sucks blood into his mouth to stop the bleeding. Fischer is a well-known mohel in suburban Rockland County, N.Y., and city officials filed a legal complaint against him after he refused to stop the practice. According to a recent report in the journal Pediatrics, the process has led to herpes cases in Israel and Canada during the past few years.

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