A two-week old baby boy died in a Brooklyn hospital, his official cause of death pronounced as "disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction."
The Jewish tradition of circumcision, particularly an obscure tradition practiced by only the most ultra-orthodox Jews, is to blame. The tradition in question, known in Hebrew as "metzitzah b'peh", involves the ritual circumciser putting his mouth on the wounded genitals of a newly circumcised Jewish baby boy to suck blood from it.
Mohel Performing Metzitzah B'Peh on Baby
The cause of death clearly indicts the tradition in question, but this finding has made rabbis and mohels that perform it, according to KTLA, "upset."
According to one mohel Philip Sherman (who also happens to toot his own horn in New York, and LOUDLY), "Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent." Where does he get these figures? Who is taking count?
"This is part of the anti-religious, anti-circumcision trend," Sherman blasts.
This could be it.
Or maybe, just MAYBE it might have just a tiny, teensy-weensy bit to do with the rights of the children involved?
You know, some of whom actually lose more than just their foreskin, if not DIE???
Mohels in Denial
In my encounters on the internet, I often hear people boast about how mishaps never happen with Jewish mohels. Jewish mohels, some advocates argue, are the most qualified people to be performing circumcisions, because they "do this for a living."
Strangely enough, when mishaps like glans ablations (in recent years there have been a few law suits involving glans ablations at the hands of mohels) or even DEATHS happen, the mohel, nor the circumcision are EVER to blame. There's always something wrong with the child, or some outside influence was to blame. There was something wrong with the clamp. The child had a bad heart. He was struck by lighting. Whatever it takes to draw attention away from the fact that the child was doing perfectly well prior to the circumcision.
Defends circumciser Sherman: "The baby could have gotten herpes from a relative or someone in the Hospital, or many other people... You can't say for sure it was the circumcision."
Or the baby might have gotten it directly from the mohel who may have carried the virus?
But sources won't say. At least two sources say that the mohel in question cannot be identified. (Here and here.)
Why not find the mohel and test him for herpes?
We've Seen This Before
This wouldn't be the first time that a child has died as a result of contracting herpes from the mohel through the oral suction ritual. In 2005, Yitzchok Fischer of New York was found to have infected three newborns with herpes via metzitzah b'peh, one of whom died. As in this current case, rabbis and mohels raised a ruckus, and Fischer was basically pardoned by Health Commissioner of the day, Thomas R. Frieden. No further action was to be done regarding getting Orthodox leaders to abandon metzitzah b'peh. Frieden's open letter to the Jewish community can be read here.
Who is this mystery mohel? Could it be the self-same Yitzchok Fischer and his name is shamelessly being withheld to protect his identity?
Why is it that parents go to jail if they try to circumcise their own children, but when a mohel kills a child, rabbis and mohels get "upset" and they automatically get a get-out-of-jail-free card? Is it because doing something about stopping further child endangerment is considered "anti-Semitic" when the perpetrators are Jewish?
"Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent," argues Philip Sherman. But is this any real justification?
There is a risk for infection, period. There are other risks too, such as partial or full ablation, and even death, as we see here. Because the child is healthy and not in need of any surgical intervention, how is anything above ZERO conscionable?
This is absolutely revolting. If the sex of the baby were female, the most devout imam would be arrested and jailed, and it wouldn't matter if it made other imams or Muslim leaders "upset."
It is absolutely despicable, absolutely disgusting that anybody would ever seek to justify this "tradition." This so-called "tradition" has already produced two reported deaths (and possibly more that have gone unreported), and religious leaders get "upset" that anyone dare call it out?
Can't we just call this "tradition" what it is?
Glorified sado-masochistic child fellatio?
Let It Be Clear
Circumcision carries risks, including infection, partial or full ablation, and even death. The risks are present whether it be carried out by a secular non-Jewish doctor or a mohel. Because it is performed on children who are healthy and not in need of any surgical intervention, the risks are unconscionable.
How many deaths and circumcision botches will it take for people to wake up?
What I've expressed in this blog is my own individual opinion, and it does not necessarily reflect the view of all intactivists. Please do not confuse my disdain for the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors with a hate for Jews. The overwhelming majority of circumcisions in this country are secular, non-Jewish circumcisions that happen at hospitals. I oppose the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors whether it be carried out by mohels or by secular doctors. Genital mutilation, whither it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is, in the end, still genital mutilation. ~Joseph4GI