De Blasio and rabbis squabble over blood-sucking circumcision ritual

metzitzah b'peh ultra-orthodox jewish circumcision ritual

An anachronistic circumcision ritual practiced by ultra-orthodox Jewish rabbis in New York City has lead to a standoff between the rabbis and mayor De Blasio.

In the circumcision ritual New York's ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis use their mouths to suck blood from infant's circumcised penis. 

The practice is controversial because infected rabbis can transmit herpes to the infants.  The practice was responsible for at least 11 herpes infections and the subsequent deaths of two babies between 2003 and 2011. Six herpes cases are associated with oral suction since 2012.

And researchers warn that infants exposed to oral suction are 3.4 times more likely to get herpes than other male newborns.

Former mayor Bloomberg regulated the practice by requiring ritual circumcisers, known as mohelim, should require parents to provide written acknowledgment of the medical recommendation against oral suction.

But as a mayoral candidate, de Blasio promised ultra-Orthodox Jewish backers he would: "Change the policy to find a way to protect all the children but also respect religious tradition in an appropriate manner and come in Day 1 to City Hall with a new policy that's fair."

De Blasio has failed to  to come up with a new policy.  Now faced with rising cases of herpes de Blasio is looking to moderate his position.

Read more herehere, and here.

Tags: