Circumcisers Who Vow to Ignore Parents' Wishes Make Religious Ritual Even Scarier

Rant 48

bootiesAfter hearing about the unnecessary and tragic deaths of two infants who contracted herpes after undergoing a circumcision ritual in New York, I couldn't help but be appalled and heartbroken for those poor parents who trusted their mohels to perform the procedure safely. The mohels used a circumcision method called metzitzah b'peh, in which the mohel uses his mouth to stop the bleeding after the baby's foreskin is removed. In addition to the two babies who died after contracting herpes from their mohel, two others were left with devastating brain damage from the disease.

And now that there are Ultra-Orthodox rabbis who say they will defy a law (if it goes into act) that requires parental consent when this particular method of circumcision is going to be used, I'm absolutely outraged. Because those parents have every right to know exactly how their baby sons are going to be circumcised before allowing the ritual to take place.

I've attended a briss before, so I know just how important the circumcision ceremony is to Jewish parents. And even though the Ultra-Orthodox sector may have used the oral-suction circumcision method safely in the past, due to the recent deaths, parents should be the ones to decide how the mohel will perform the ritual on their son.

There have already been several complaints from parents who were unaware that oral-suction was going to be used during their sons' circumcisions. And if this new law goes into effect, they will be required to sign a consent form before allowing the method to take place.

And according to Rabbi David Neiderman, "This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child." He insists that the practice is safe, and also feels that the consent form forces parents to go against their belief system. He said, "Don’t force parents to sign something that is against their religious beliefs."

Ok, I'm a little bit confused. I'm no genius, but don't you think the parents who decide to sign the consent form are probably ok with the mohel using the oral-suction method of circumcision? The proposed law isn't being suggested to force anyone to go against their beliefs -- it's an effort to protect parents who are understandably worried about the health and safety of their infant and do not under any means want oral-suction used during their baby's circumcision.

It's not like this law would make the ritual illegal, it would simply make having the parents' consent a prerequisite. Since when is having the parents' permission before performing any sort of surgery a foreign thing? If anything, having the consent form will only protect the mohels should anything go wrong during the circumcision. The law is a win-win for everyone involved, especially for parents who want to honor their religion, yet protect their babies at the same time.

Do you think there should be a law requiring parental consent for this method of circumcision?


Image via handmaidenbymaria/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Miller

I have a son and he was circumcised in the hospital he was born in. I think a decision this important should be taken into serious consideration and made by each parent, (or set of). But the oral staunching of blood is archaic and a tad molesty if you ask me and I feel it should be stopped. And I had to sign consent forms when my son was born to have the procedure done why wouldn't they ask other to do so, whether a religious ceremony or not. The child's safety is the number 1 priority in this situation. I am not Jewish, I am a Christian and I understand the reservations the Orthodox people have about signing this, but why would it matter if they were taking the precautions to ensure the boy's health and safety anyway?

Krystine Alcock

Okay! I understand that religious beliefs are different and things are done differently pertaining to each and everyone. But to put your mouth on a child's penis in the first place is disgusting and as far as I am concerned is molestation. I would never allow anyone other then a professional to perform surgery on myself or anyone that I love. These people are disgusting and to transmit sexually transmitted diseases onto children is disgusting and wrong in so many ways. If any of these children would not have died or suffered the massive brain damage that they have endured, they would have been damaged for life and would have played heck in obtaining a wife as an adult. This needs to stop. This form of circumcision needs to be outlawed period.

Zayna... Zaynabs89

I am Musims and i got my son circumcised, however we do not share this same ritual as the Jewish faith. I find this to be appalling! And if the Mohels are going to do the circumcision , Shouldn't he be checked regularly?! He should be held accountable for taking these two innocent lives! 

* I got my son circumcied at the hositpal ! 

Nicole Gay

i think that the all parents should be informed and the mohel should be std tested regularly but i think that if the parents are fully aware of their religion then they should know its a risk. however i just find it disturbing in general that the child should end up with herpes and that the mohel has herpes in the first place...

nonmember avatar Chels

This is so disturbing and unnecessary. I am sorry to offend any religion, but people need to open their minds. People especially parents need to educate themselves. Stop believing in what is prearranged in society for you! That goes for any unnecessary actions with any RELIGION they are not real. Look at history it just repeats itself through manipulation. There is a big world out their do not let your children suffer because of being narrow minded. No child should die because of idiotic belief...just let science do its job it has proof!

Nicole Gay

I also think that its child endangerment and molestation!! this is just wrong! religion or not....

Melinda Otteson Gray

Anyone who puts their mouth on a baby's penis is a child molester and belongs in prison.  Religion doesn't give the right to do that.  The ritual hould be illegal.


Amanda Ames

It seems like this mohel uses his religion to get away with sexually abusing a child. I mean they call it a suction method of sorts. basically saying after i cut your sons penis i am going to suck on it. that is effing sick. It seems like one could get away with all sorts of wrong if they claim it is done in the name of religion and that is bull. How could a parent allow a grown man to suck on their sons penis with claims of it being a method of stopping the bleeding? Come on are they trying to say that this is the only way to stop this bleeding, we know this is untrue and to say its part of the ritual is even worse, what parent would consent to this, 

Amanda Ames

I dont see the purpose of making it a must to sign some consent form for allowing something of this nature to go on. That is like saying if the parent sign a consent for some one to sexually assult their kids its okay, i dont think so. If it is legal for a Mohel to actually suck on an infant penis in the name of religion then where do we draw the line? Doing something illegal and immoral like this and saying oh its okay  for a man to put his mouth on and suck on an infants penis because its part of their religion rituals is so messed up I really truly dont get it. I do not understand how this can be legal. I am angry by this story and i could go on and on but I just think that some one shouldnt get away with sexual abuse by claiming its in the name of some god or ritual i just dont and i dont think that a parent that would be willing to sign a paper giving permission for this to happen their son is all right in the head either and are just as sick as the men who preform them... So I think what is illegal is illegal and hiding behind religion is pathetic. okay well as i said i could go on and on so i will end this now, pretty sure i got my opinion out there quite clearly.... those poor little baby boys

Kimberly Wyatt

To the author:  First of all, it's bris not briss, so you must not have gone or paid attention if you did.  Second of all you sound like those white people who don't want to be taken as racist by saying "some of my best friends are black".  

Most of the commentators are so obviously insular and surprised that there is a religion out there beyond Christianity that there will be no decent debate. Jesus was a Jew and it's almost certain he underwent this exact same ceremony, including the oral suction method.   Almost every post here will try desperately to sound like they are not bashing Judaism while doing just that.  Finally, I'm pretty sure that if you are Jewish and your baby boy is going to be circumcised, you will ask what method will be used.  If not, YOU are responsible for what happens.  Not Jewish circumcision tradition.  Since when do Americans need to sign a consent form to breathe?  Keep going like this and we will.

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