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Jewish ultra-Orthodox Circumcision Ceremony. Legit or Sick?

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During circumcision ceremony the priest uses his mouth to suck blood off the baby's penis.

Why on earth would a parent do this to their child? After mutilating the sex organ of baby, priest sucks on infant's penis, in many cases causing Herpes and even death. In my view this practice should be banned and criminalised. IMHO there is no place for this type of ritual in a modern educated society. Respect for religious freedom is one thing but this is just nonsense. Where should society draw the line.

New York (CNN) -- New York City's Board of Health voted Thursday to require parents to sign a consent form before having their child undergo a controversial ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual after two children died from the herpes virus contracted during the procedure, authorities said.

The parental consent form must include information regarding the possible fatal risks of the ritual, according to Chanel Caraway, a spokeswoman from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It's not clear if the form will absolve clergy from potential lawsuits.

The ritual, known as the metzitzah b'peh, is a type of circumcision in which the person performing the procedure, or mohel, directly places his mouth on and sucks the blood from the baby's newly circumcised penis.

The controversial ritual came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after health officials reported 11 babies had contracted herpes infections between 2000 and 2011.

Why I didn't circumcise my sons

The health department reported that an estimated 20,493 infants in New York City were exposed to direct oral suction in that period.

"There is no safe way to perform oral suction on any open wound in a newborn," said the health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley.

Baby boys who were reportedly circumcised "with confirmed or probable orogenital suction" between April 2006 and December 2011 had an estimated risk of contracting neonatal herpes (HSV-1) infection of 24.4 per 100,000 cases, 3.4 times greater than other infants, the health department said.

"The ethical duty to protect the interests of vulnerable infants and to support parents in making informed and responsible choices cannot be overridden," a group of doctors and bioethicists from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics said in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Yoram Unguru, a Jewish pediatrician, hailed the decision, saying authorities should protect children "from the consequences of unwise decisions."

"In my mind, the amendment doesn't go far enough -- getting parental consent for circumcision in general, that's appropriate and sufficient, but consent for the metzitzah b'peh should not be allowed," he said. It "should not be performed, period."

Members of the orthodox community blasted the decision, calling it an infringement of constitutional rights.

"By telling a mohel he is prohibited from performing a religious ritual unless he tells the parents that, by the way, the child might die in the process, you are forcing us to say something which we are convinced is wrong," said Rabbi David Niederman of the Brooklyn-based United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg.

Niederman and other community members say they plan to contest the regulation.

"We want to work, we have tried, and we are committed to work with the Department of Health to address their concerns in any way, shape or form that does not conflict with our religious and constitutional rights," he said. "The practice will continue."

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That's because there are only two places with significant amounts of Haredi Jews: NYC and Israel, and they have a lot of kids as they don't believe in birth control. There's 30,000 or so in London, but those are the only major population centres. Also most Haredi who do the procedure use a glass tube to separate the Rabbi and the baby (I agree still weird).

There is a huge difference between Orthodox and Haredi. Orthodox would be the equivalent of Catholic. Haredi is something else entirely.

I'm not in favor of this procedure in any way. However, you seem to be making the case that it's taking over the Jewish world, which it isn't. In fact, quite the opposite is happening as more and more Haredi are banning it. The Haredi movement itself only came to being in the 1800s. They do not reflect traditional Jewish customs in any way.

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In Israel 10% of the population is Heredi. That is not a "very small" number as you claimed. 10% is a significant part of the population and it's increasing at a very high rate. The Heredi jewish population is doubling every 12 to 20 years according to Wiki.

As the article from Haaretz states 40% of NY jews are orthodox and MOST of these are ultra - orthodox. It also says "the future of NYC jewish community will be increasingly religious if not, Heredi."

According to your claim this ritual only started in the 1800's. 200 Rabbis protesting the regulation of this ritual claim this is an ancient and holy custom. I believe the rabbis.


Some 200 rabbis have signed a statement alleging that the department “printed and spread lies … in order to justify their evil decree.It is clear to us that there is not even an iota of blame or danger in this ancient and holy custom,” the New York Post reported.

I understand the sensitivities around religion but sometimes we just have to call it like it is. No matter what the religion of the community practising this type of ritual. If its not right its not right.

IMHO sweeping it under the rug is pbbly not the best thing to do. We should face it not minimise it.

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