[ Ed. note – The city of New York recently adopted a new policy on the circumcision of babies. Jewish rabbis who perform circumcision rites are referred to as “mohels.” Often they will apply the technique of sucking on the baby’s penis after the circumcision has been performed–a practice which has the potential of transmitting diseases such as herpes into newborn infants. Under the new city policy, mohels linked to the spread of herpes will become subject to a fine of $2,000.
The fine apparently will not apply to all mohels, only those who have tested positive for herpes. Moreover, in what would appear to be defiance of logic, the city is refusing to make public the names of those mohels who do test positive. And you can also go here to read about how mohels make on average $1,500 per circumcision, with many performing as many as 10 circumcisions per week–a state of affairs that has led some to criticize the $2000 fine as little more than a “slap on the wrist,” as it were.
Imposing a mere $2000 fine for carrying out a practice that obviously should be outlawed altogether–and not even imposing the fine on all those engaged in the practice, only those implicated in the spread of disease–obviously leaves much to be desired. One rabbi, however, is quite irate that even this much has been imposed, referring to the city’s new policy as the equivalent of a “modern-day blood libel.”
Below is an article on this rabbi’s comments. You’ll note that the article, in the last paragraph, makes the claim that “most mohels use a sterilized pipette to remove blood from the circumcision wound.” However, immediately beneath the article I am posting a video showing a rabbi explaining why, in his view, sucking the baby’s penis is preferable. One can only wonder if the city of New York is doing an adequate job of protecting the health of newborn babies. It would not appear that they are. ]
Brooklyn Rabbi Slams New Circumcision Rules as ‘Modern Blood Libel’
(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.