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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Robyn White-Sansom

It's amazing what people will put their children through in the name of "religion". 

nonmember avatar Confidential

I personally feel the government is doing this as a way to help protect our children and I also feel that I don't care what religious reason it is to do that type of surgery process makes it ok it's uncalled for and I would not want anyone doing that to my child nor do I want anyone of that religion near my son they are very rude and don't care if they are hurting the child even when taking the temperature I have had a bad history with these people as doctors and outside of the medical field and I have no sympathy for them they act as if they own this country and they Dont pay taxes nothing they have own everything it's crazy and the things they put there kids through is crazy and My heart goes out to the kids

crick... cricketgirl767

You would think after the tragedy's f the other babies the rabbis would want some sort of a legal form to protect them as well. But either way this ”ritual” freaks me out. I don't want anyone putting their mouth on my babies genital area.

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GabiL... GabiLanesMommy

I'm not one to rant and rave about religion. I've never even known or been friends/acquaintances with anyone who is Jewish. But this disturbs me. First of all, religious propose or not, no man should be putting their mouth on a babys penis. That just sickens me. Second of all, I don't understand why parents would allow it. I understand that this is a religious ritual, but you can write this backwards, forward or upside down and no matter which way you turn it, a grown man still stuck his mouth on a childs penis. That's disgusting nnv

GabiL... GabiLanesMommy

And violating* I'm sure if that baby could speak he would be asking you to not do that

Keegan Murray

Good to know I'm not the only one who thought "pedophile!!" when I read this.

nonmember avatar Janell

I'm not jewish, and that being said, I find myself in agreement with all who say that its just gross to have some persons mouth on a new born baby boy! But me and my husband did decide to have our boy circumised. And having had a all natural home birth, It was hard to find a doctor wiling to do it on the 8th day with out haveing shots and stuff. But that is no reason to let some one use their mouth to stop the bleeding!!!

nonmember avatar Ash

These are extreme cases though. Its not like it happens all the time. You wouldn't want something from your religion to get you charged with neglect, and the Jewish don't deserve that either. The consent forms are a good idea, but the mohels should provide a clean bill of health (STD testing or something) to help minimize the risk. It's unfair to punish one religion for a practice that's been in effect for nearly 2000 years (and there are plenty of Jews alive to prove that it's not as deadly as it is apparently coming across as). If we are going to do that, we need to, I dunno, stop the Catholics from having altar boys, or punish the parents that let their children get molested by their priests. For that matter, you can argue the Baptists neglect for not changing the water after every baptism they perform, or the ones that do it in lakes or other natural bodies of water. You have no idea what germs or viruses may be transmitted through that water (Mono being a main water-transmitted disease). Again, you can't attack one religion's practices without attacking them all.

Amanda Scott

There is a big different between changing water and letting another adult put his mouth on babies' genitals. If baptisms required priests to put their mouths INSIDE our babies' diapers, I'd have a HUGE problem with that too.
I'm sorry, there is no other way to describe this act except as molestation. There are other ways to stop bleeding. The Torah, Old Testament and Qu'ran do not explicitly dictate that blood must be ebbed orally. This is molestation and it is wrong!
If it's not ok for our daughters, why would it be ok for our sons?

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