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New York, NY - Report: Agudath Israel Plans To Sue NYC Over Metzitzah B’peh

Published on: September 11, 2012 12:46 PM
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New York, NY - Agudath Israel is making plans to sue the City of New York in the event that the Department of Health approves the measure requiring parents to sign an informed consent document prior to the performance of metzitzah b’peh, according to an e-mail obtained by The Jewish Week (http://bit.ly/UHwTxM). DOH is set to vote on the proposal this Thursday.

In the e-mail, Agudath Israel’s general counsel, Mordechai Biser writes that the organization is seeking a New York-based law firm to work pro-bono or on “a reduced rate basis” to bring “a lawsuit against the City of New York to prevent the City from issuing a regulation that would require written parental consent for an aspect of bris milah (‘metzitzah b’peh’).”

The legal premise for the lawsuit is “that this regulation is unconstitutional on the grounds that it interferes with both freedom of religion and speech (the latter, because it requires the mohel to distribute certain information to parents).” The e-mail continues, “We are concerned that if this regulation goes into effect, the next step will be further regulation of bris milah.”

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Mr. Biser did not respond to requests for comment.


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1

 Sep 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM Pro-Lifer Says:

Agudah is suing for the right to continue inserting saliva into a baby's open wound, an act that has caused death, permanent brain damage, and disease. Many years ago I bought a lifetime membership in the Agudah. I now wish to leave.

2

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM FredE Says:

They have reached true insanity. Is anyone here thinking of something objective, like reducing infection risks? What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
Not to mention the fact that they will lose.

3

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM YGeller Says:

can someone explain to me how this any different than signing consent for any medical procedure?

4

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM bubii Says:

They are bringing anti-semitism on the jewish population,the nerve they have to sue is beyond comprehention they know they are 100 per cent wrong and they have the audacity to open their mouth ,they are beyond the pale.

5

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM shalomke Says:

If Mohalim would agree to an annual medical exam registered with the city none of this would be neccesary.

6

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:29 PM Aryeh Says:

The government shall make no law interfering with the free practice of religion. There are no documented medical risks to MBP, not a single study, not one confirmed case of infection subject to peer review. There are however, great risks, well documented, that show a far greater chance of complications resulting from physician performed circumcisions.

7

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:31 PM Avi Says:

I am no Constitutional lawyer, but I fail to see how this would be an abridgement of free speech. I think Mr. (Rabbi?) Biser does not understand that the first amendment prohibits censure. Requiring speech is not illegal. In fact, it's required all the time. Check just about any product in the store or your house and you will find warning labels. On food packaging you will find nutritional information.

It also does not interfere with religion in the sense that it prohibits the practice thereof. And even if it did, there's legal precedent for that too.

And on top of all that, he has the Chutzpah to be looking for a lawyer to work for (almost) nothing! If this is a real issue, pony up the money yourself!

8

 Sep 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
YGeller Says:

can someone explain to me how this any different than signing consent for any medical procedure?

Politics, my friend. The Agudah and the Chassidishe mohalim do not want to submit their DNA or other evidence in case something c"v does go wrong. It might open up a can of litigation worms and possibly hard evidence that M"PB might be a conduit to infection.

9

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM abeytt03 Says:

This is a chillul hashem and I am uneasy about the Agudah being a voice for our community. Nobody is threatening bris milah, rather they are simply asking for our community to conform to recognized safety measures which ensure the safety of children.

This is a losing issue for the Agudah, and will further marginalize the Agudah as a representative body for klal yisroel. I hope they cut their losses and stop this lunacy now.

10

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM its a statement Says:

First of all mbp has been around longer than any of us so don't claim health issues. Second I don't trust mohalim these days as much as my parents did when I was 8 days old so I think we should always practice safety and have them checked out or with a current Dr. Note. Third is lawsuit is just for awareness, we don't want awareness we want privacy so agudath Israel is being counter productive

11

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM Buchwalter Says:

Reply to #2  
FredE Says:

They have reached true insanity. Is anyone here thinking of something objective, like reducing infection risks? What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
Not to mention the fact that they will lose.

I said before and I say it again in Vienna MBP was not allowed not by the govrnment but a cherem by Rabbonim. Funny the Observer once published a story that Jews baked shmura matzes in Buchenwald lo hoyo and v'lo nivru. I was in Buchenwald

12

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Pro-Lifer Says:

Agudah is suing for the right to continue inserting saliva into a baby's open wound, an act that has caused death, permanent brain damage, and disease. Many years ago I bought a lifetime membership in the Agudah. I now wish to leave.

So sad!!! MINHAG YISROEL TORAH!!! Hashem watches over all the babys they shouldn't get sick from this!! Just like hashem made kids, the same god can watch over them! And it was never proven that this causes sicknesses. Just like after a person goes on a plane can he get sick, even though one has nothing to do with the other, the same happened with these babys that officialy got sick from metzitza, they were sick from other reasons!!!

13

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:29 PM joeynathan Says:

Reply to #2  
FredE Says:

They have reached true insanity. Is anyone here thinking of something objective, like reducing infection risks? What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
Not to mention the fact that they will lose.

What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
lest you forget , we do live in america were anyone is allowed to go to court last i herd , so please tell us all what is the tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.

14

 Sep 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM My2Cents Says:

It's not like they banned it. Whats wrong with signing a consent that you're aware of the possible risks as low percentage that they might be, just that you're aware. Stupid Lawsuit, Agudah is doing more harm than good lately.

15

 Sep 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #3  
YGeller Says:

can someone explain to me how this any different than signing consent for any medical procedure?

Mila is NOT a medical procedure! Can you think of any other what goyim call "religious rite" for which a participant should sign a consent form? For crying out loud, savage indians in our country are allowed to smoke peyote, a hallucinogenic substance causing short term brain damage every time it is used and permanent brain damage if used regularly, with no minimum age and without any consent forms because they insist it is a religious experience.

16

 Sep 11, 2012 at 03:50 PM Pro-Lifer Says:

Reply to #6  
Aryeh Says:

The government shall make no law interfering with the free practice of religion. There are no documented medical risks to MBP, not a single study, not one confirmed case of infection subject to peer review. There are however, great risks, well documented, that show a far greater chance of complications resulting from physician performed circumcisions.

Everything you wrote is either untrue or irrelevant.

1. “ The government shall make no law interfering with the free practice of religion."

Irrelevant. Freedom of religion does not go so far as to allow parents to physically harm their children.

2. "There are no documented medical risks to MBP, not a single study, not one confirmed case of infection subject to peer review"

Untrue. You are regurgitating the old nonsense that's become popular in our community but has no bearing on reality.

3. "There are however, great risks, well documented, that show a far greater chance of complications resulting from physician performed circumcisions.”

Another untruth. But at least this one is original.


I haven't yet come across anyone from the pro-mbp side who can make his case without resorting to untruths and irrelevant arguments, not to mention the paranoid consipiracy theories.

17

 Sep 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM FredE Says:

Actually, IMHO mbp should be totally illegal. End of story. Its not m'akeiv
in the brit and it costs at least some lives. As far as studies, there have been a few. They show infection rates for herpes from this at 1 in 4000. But if your baby is that 1, he is toast.

This is avoidable. Now that we know the science, what heter do you
have to endanger even that 1 in 4000 for a ...minhag? Whats wrong
with you people?

18

 Sep 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM Pro-Lifer Says:

Reply to #13  
joeynathan Says:

What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
lest you forget , we do live in america were anyone is allowed to go to court last i herd , so please tell us all what is the tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.

The chillul Hashem is that the Agudah is publicly fighting for the right to practice a ritual that causes death and disease.

19

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM YGeller Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

Mila is NOT a medical procedure! Can you think of any other what goyim call "religious rite" for which a participant should sign a consent form? For crying out loud, savage indians in our country are allowed to smoke peyote, a hallucinogenic substance causing short term brain damage every time it is used and permanent brain damage if used regularly, with no minimum age and without any consent forms because they insist it is a religious experience.

It actually is a medical procedure. It is performed daily in hospitals, and on muslim babies as well (they don't have a mohl) and yes the Muslim parents do sign consent.

20

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
FredE Says:

They have reached true insanity. Is anyone here thinking of something objective, like reducing infection risks? What a tremendous Chillul Hashem on Agudah's part.
Not to mention the fact that they will lose.

A Chilul Hashem is when going against the torah and not keeping h'shems mitzvos, the battle will be won iy"h

21

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:06 PM Avi Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

Mila is NOT a medical procedure! Can you think of any other what goyim call "religious rite" for which a participant should sign a consent form? For crying out loud, savage indians in our country are allowed to smoke peyote, a hallucinogenic substance causing short term brain damage every time it is used and permanent brain damage if used regularly, with no minimum age and without any consent forms because they insist it is a religious experience.

You are very ignorant.

1) Mila is 100% a medical procedure. I would question the credentials of any Mohel to state otherwise.

2) There are no savage Indians on the North American continent.

3) American law has a limited application on Indian Reservations, due to treaties that go back to the founding of the country. Also, I doubt Indians are forcing 8 day old babies to smoke it.

22

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:07 PM ShmuelG Says:

What bothers me slightly is that the Agudah "is seeking a New York-based law firm to work pro-bono or on “a reduced rate basis”." I hope that such firm will prove to be effective but have my own thoughts about pro-bono or sliding scale services. If the Agudah is serious about pursuing the lawsuit, I will approach my friends of means about contributing towards Agudah's retaining the best possible representation. Any reader here wishing to contribute knows how to contact the Agudah. Thank you.

23

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:19 PM Yossel Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

Mila is NOT a medical procedure! Can you think of any other what goyim call "religious rite" for which a participant should sign a consent form? For crying out loud, savage indians in our country are allowed to smoke peyote, a hallucinogenic substance causing short term brain damage every time it is used and permanent brain damage if used regularly, with no minimum age and without any consent forms because they insist it is a religious experience.

Milah is most definitely a surgical procedure. The lay term is circumcision and I highly doubt a gentile circumcises their baby for religious purposes. Anyone performing a surgical procedure of any kind should be licensed and regulated. A barber needs a license to cut hair! Hair grows back an doesn't bleed!

24

 Sep 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM kehati Says:

I come from a segment from K'lal Yisrael that does not practice mbp and there are probably some health risks involved ;however, I find it to be the height of hypocrisy that the NYC administration not only allows but actually glorifies toeivah and allows anyone, to participate in it without "consents" despite the inevitable horrendous public health (as well as financial ) costs resulting from it.

25

 Sep 11, 2012 at 06:02 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #7  
Avi Says:

I am no Constitutional lawyer, but I fail to see how this would be an abridgement of free speech. I think Mr. (Rabbi?) Biser does not understand that the first amendment prohibits censure. Requiring speech is not illegal. In fact, it's required all the time. Check just about any product in the store or your house and you will find warning labels. On food packaging you will find nutritional information.

It also does not interfere with religion in the sense that it prohibits the practice thereof. And even if it did, there's legal precedent for that too.

And on top of all that, he has the Chutzpah to be looking for a lawyer to work for (almost) nothing! If this is a real issue, pony up the money yourself!

How kind of you to clarify the law for Mr. Biser. They must have overlooked the constitution when he was at Yale Law School (the top rated in the country)

26

 Sep 11, 2012 at 06:34 PM RachelJD Says:

I wish people would stop spewing words without understanding them. Neither the federal government nor a state may limit or demand, or punish a religious belief. However, religious PRACTICE may be regulated or limited Since freedom of relligion is a fundamental right, the government must have a compelling interest for the regulation. However, the regulation of the practice must be done in the least restrictive manner possible. NYC is NOT trying to stop Brit Milah. It is seeking to protect infants' health, which is a compelling state interest. Handing a piece of paper with some information does not prohibit them from proceeding with the brit.
If Agudah believes this to be such a serious issue, then pay the legal fees required instead of looking for freebies.

Bacteria is normally present on the surface of our skins and in our mouths. It usually causes no problems unless there is a cut and the bacteria enters the blood stream. So what if people claim the risk is minimal to the baby from the mohel using his mouth to suction the blood of the cut. If it were my child, I would not want to take the risk. Use a pipette

27

 Sep 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

So sad!!! MINHAG YISROEL TORAH!!! Hashem watches over all the babys they shouldn't get sick from this!! Just like hashem made kids, the same god can watch over them! And it was never proven that this causes sicknesses. Just like after a person goes on a plane can he get sick, even though one has nothing to do with the other, the same happened with these babys that officialy got sick from metzitza, they were sick from other reasons!!!

I know i feel what your saying. Hashem gives and takes and hashem doesn't protect our foolishness either. the universe has certain rules and in this case, sorry to tell you but introducing foreign contaminants into a open wound will lead to infections. The problem is everyone is concentrating on the herpes transmission but no one thought for a second of gonorrheal clamydial, syphillitic or even HIV transmission. The mouth is the dirtiest place in/on the body.

28

 Sep 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM DavidCohen Says:

What baffles me is that we do already have a precedent whereby medical advances are used in brisim. If that were not the case, we'd not be using sharp metal blades, but stones as Tziporah did. Evidently it is indeed permissible to learn from and leverage medical knowledge and advances. And now that we know how dangerous oral bacteria is to an open wound on a newborn, we should have the brains to leverage that knowledge, too.

It is worth noting that the Rambam (a greater baal halacha than anyone in the Agudah, and a physician) states that blood should be removed from the wound so as to not introduce danger (obviously referring to the chance of infection). He makes no mention of oral suction whatsoever. Rambam provides the specific reason for removal of the blood, it is nothing to do with kaballah or hiddur mitzvah or anything spiritual, it is simple to prevent infection. Before we had plastics and pipettes, and before we knew about how infection spreads, many realized that removing excess blood was a priority that demanded even oral suction. But now that we know better, we can still adhere to the Rambam's ruling, without having to endanger even one child.

29

 Sep 11, 2012 at 07:57 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

Mila is NOT a medical procedure! Can you think of any other what goyim call "religious rite" for which a participant should sign a consent form? For crying out loud, savage indians in our country are allowed to smoke peyote, a hallucinogenic substance causing short term brain damage every time it is used and permanent brain damage if used regularly, with no minimum age and without any consent forms because they insist it is a religious experience.

Pure rubbish. It is illegal and the courts have repeatedly ruled against the Native Americans.

30

 Sep 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM Facts1 Says:

Reply to #3  
YGeller Says:

can someone explain to me how this any different than signing consent for any medical procedure?

They dont have to give you the consent form, they do it for their own protection.

31

 Sep 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM Avi Says:

Reply to #30  
Facts1 Says:

They dont have to give you the consent form, they do it for their own protection.

In that case, the State should regulate Mohelim, and the Mohelim should be criminally and civilly responsible if the baby comes to harm due to the Bris. Mohelim should be subject to malpractice suits.

Or we could require a simple piece of paper with a few dozen words on it be presented to the parents to sign. If you were a Mohel, which would you rather have?

You may be right that hospitals present consent forms for their own protection, but hospitals are responsible for the consequences. Its time that Mohelim are held responsible too.

32

 Sep 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM Avi Says:

Reply to #24  
kehati Says:

I come from a segment from K'lal Yisrael that does not practice mbp and there are probably some health risks involved ;however, I find it to be the height of hypocrisy that the NYC administration not only allows but actually glorifies toeivah and allows anyone, to participate in it without "consents" despite the inevitable horrendous public health (as well as financial ) costs resulting from it.

You don't know what hypocrisy is. Alternatively, you aren't able to critically analyze the differences between consensual relationships and the Bris of a 8 day old baby.

And the State of NY, nor the city of NY allows "anyone" to engage in such relationships. Specifically, adults cannot engage in such relationships with minors (unless they are Charedim), even with a consent form.

33

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