New York - Metzizah B’Peh Consent Form May Be A Thing Of The Past Following Department Of Health Meeting
New York - In a meeting held yesterday, the New York City Department of Health convened to determine how to best work with the Orthodox Jewish community to educate them about the potential dangers of metzizah b’peh. It is a welcome change from the previous Mayoral administration which required parents to sign a consent form at the time of their son’s bris acknowledging the risks of performing the ancient ritual, and only served to infuriate the community.
The New York Times reports (http://nyti.ms/1GhaMGZ) that the de Blasio administration has produced a glossy brochure to warn parents about the risk of spreading herpes. “Some babies can get sick with herpes, which can lead to death,” the text states in bold type. “There is no way to avoid the risk.”
Rabbi David Neiderman, a well-known leader from Williamsburg’s Orthodox community was dismayed upon seeing the brochure for the first time. “Serious misstatements,” he said, but added he was only looking to praise the City for its collaborative attitude and did not want to openly criticize the brochure at this time.
De Blasio has promised to work with the Orthodox community to rewrite the City’s policies surrounding the controversial practice. Following yesterday’s meeting, the Department of Health voted to consider waiving the consent form requirement and work with hospitals to ensure the educational brochure is distributed in English and Yiddish to Orthodox families at the time of birth. “What we’re doing, so well-intended, isn’t working, so we’ve got to find some new approach,” said Pamela Brier, CEO of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, which delivers many Orthodox Jewish babies.
A public hearing will be held in July and the board will make a final decision in September.
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