Circumcisers’ ‘kiss’ of death

Circumcisers’ ‘kiss’ of death

Cebu : Philippines | Sep 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM PDT
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Skooter reporting 09/03/12

A group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis declared that they plan to defy a health order in spite of two children dead and more injured in the name of religious freedom.

A Brooklyn boy died less than a year after due to an ancient circumcision ritual, but the rabbis say they will pay no attention to a proposed law that would authorize parental-consent forms before performing the dangerous procedure.

A newborn died that was over ten years ago because the infant contracted herpes from the rite, in which the rabbi sucks blood from the penis using his mouth. But ultra-Orthodox honchos are pouring out at the city’s “evil schemes” ahead of the Board of Health’s vote next week. Today’s modern “mohels,” that is men trained to perform religious circumcisions, who are usually rabbis or doctors, draw blood from the baby’s wound using a sterile pipette.

A proclamation was signed by at least 200 rabbis asserting the Health Department “printed and spread lies…in order to justify their evil decree.” The letter was quoted as saying, “It is clear to us, that there is not even an iota of blame or danger in this ancient and holy custom.”

However, there are some Orthodox Jewish parents doggedly insist on an ancient “suction by mouth” ritual called metzitzah b’peh. Mohels are required by the city’s law to distribute consent waivers, informing the herpes risk, before the ritual.

The law is totally unacceptable, said Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg. He said no one will comply with the law, even if it’s passed.

Since 2000 there were 11 babies in the city have suffered the herpes simplex virus, and two developed brain damage and two died, according to a Health Department investigation. An Orange County infant was brought to a hospital after acquiring a fatal strain of the virus in July.


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Rabbi David Niederman
skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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