As Bris Policy Nears, Mayor Seen In Bind

With new infant herpes cases emerging, clash of politics, religious freedom and public health.

Staff Writer
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As the de Blasio administration grapples with the church-state implications of its push for full-day, government-funded prekindergarten, another such thorny issue — this one with potential life-and-death consequences — looms: How, and whether, to regulate the controversial ritual circumcision practice known as “metzitzah b’peh.”

Mayor de Blasio: Vowed during campaign to regulate metzitzah b’peh ritual. Getty Images

Israel’s Supreme Court Voids Rabbinical Court Ruling Requiring Bris

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court nullified a rabbinical court ruling that required a mother to circumcise her son.

First Amendment Group Joins Bris Fight

Becket Fund sees pattern of anti-Orthodox hostility in city’s actions. Is it right?

Associate Editor

There’s something “sinister” about City Hall’s “regulatory excess” and “bureaucratic targeting” of Orthodox Jews, says a prominent lawyer at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Pols Add Weight To Orthodox Opposition On Metzitzah

Pushback ratchets up against health department consent proposal on controversial bris rite.

Special To The Jewish Week

With a little more than two weeks left until the New York City Board of Health votes on a proposal requiring parents to give their informed consent for any bris involving metzitzah b’peh (direct oral suction), the leadership of the fervently Orthodox community is mounting an aggressive campaign against the proposed rule.

And some local politicians who represent parts of Orthodox Brooklyn are now throwing their weight behind the community’s leaders.

State Sen. David Storobin, with Orthodox Jews during fall campaign, weighs in on bris ritual.

Haredi Rift Opens Over Bris Ritual

High-ranking officials split on risk from metzitzah b’peh and whether practice should be continued.

Special To The Jewish Week

A renewed focus on a controversial circumcision technique, which recently has been implicated in one infant’s death and five non-fatal cases of neonatal herpes since 2007, has exposed a rift in the haredi community over the ritual practice.

Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Communities of Williamsburg.

Suspected New Neonatal Herpes Case Being Investigated

Controversial bris rite may be involved.

Special To The Jewish Week

The New York City Department of Health received a report within the last week of an infant with symptoms of neonatal herpes and the case is currently under investigation, The Jewish Week has learned. (By law, such reports must be made within 24 hours of a diagnosis).

Banned Mohel: ‘Metzitzah’ ‘Not A Problem’

Yitzchok Fischer apparently still engaging in controversial practice; ‘it’s perfectly OK,’ he says.

xSpecial To The Jewish Week

A mohel who was ordered to stop the circumcision practice of metzitzah b’peh in 2007 by the New York State Department of Health is apparently still engaging in the controversial ritual of “oral suction,” The Jewish Week has learned.

Exclusive: Banned Mohel Still Apparently Performing ‘Metzitzah’

Special To The Jewish Week

A mohel who was ordered to stop the circumcision practice of metzitzah b’peh in 2007 by the New York State Department of Health is apparently still engaging in the controversial practice of “oral suction,” The Jewish Week has learned.

A Moral Case For Brit Milah

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Brit milah (Jewish ritual circumcision) may be uncomfortable to watch, and naturally makes many of us ambivalent in a time of celebration. But is it cruel? Living in California, where calls for the outlawing of circumcision have recently proliferated, I have not heard anyone make the moral case for circumcision. The Shulkhan Arukh says that “this commandment (milah) is greater than (all the) other positive commandments,” (Yoreh De’ah 260).

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.
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