Mohels Give Babies Herpes and Families Protect Them – Babies are the Collateral Damage of the Societal Norms

“FIRST DO NO HARM”

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.[1]
Non-maleficence, which is derived from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the world. Another way to state it is that, “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.” It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.[citation needed]
Non-maleficence is often contrasted with its corollary, beneficence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primum_non_nocere

Pikuach Nefesh (Hebrew: פיקוח נפש)

LM – 19.04.17

Jewish teachings demand that we travel on Shabbat and that we override nearly every other religious consideration when a person’s life is in danger. We are commanded to “lo ta’aseh” a Mitzvah when in so doing we would be putting a life in danger or failing to save one.

Is protecting a mohel who has permanently damaged and even killed babies not within this category? Are you not the putting the next child’s life in danger? Is it not a moral imperative of EVERY SINGLE JEW to make certain that mohels who are damaging children be stopped and be prosecuted for their crimes, crimes against Jewish babies, crimes against all Jews?

Whatever our beliefs are regarding the use or misuse of the word “me’tzizah,” should those very tenets of our religion not be trumped by the notion that we as Jews are religiously and morally obligated to protect our children?

To the parents who will not cooperate with the authorities, you are hypocrites. You are shameful. You do not deserve the blessings that are bestowed upon you in your ability to conceive and bring children into this world.

To the parents who will have babies harmed by these practices because your friends, family members, rabbis and communities did not warn you, did not protect you, it might be time to re-evaluate your belief system. May you and your babies not suffer the sins of your community.

To the Rabbis who are not cooperating with authorities and claiming that these rituals are complicated and holy, you are the unholiest of them all.

Protectingmohels

DNAInfo: https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170418/williamsburg/herpes-de-blasio-metzitzah-bpeh-health-department-herpes-simplex-virus-cdc

Orthodox Families Won’t Name Mohels Who Gave Their Babies Herpes: City

WILLIAMSBURG — A Health Department investigation into who infected four infant boys with herpes during Orthodox Jewish circumcision ceremonies has been thwarted because the community — including the children’s parents — refuses to cooperate, the city said.

Only two of six families whose babies contracted herpes since 2015 from metzitzah b’peha religious rite that calls for a trained devotee, or mohel, to clean circumcision wounds by oral suction, have provided the names of the practitioner, according to Health Department spokesman Christopher Miller.

“Unfortunately, some in the community are resistant to sharing the name of the mohels,” Miller said. “This is a very insular community. This is a very religious ritual.”

WILLIAMSBURG — A Health Department investigation into who infected four infant boys with herpes during Orthodox Jewish circumcision ceremonies has been thwarted because the community — including the children’s parents — refuses to cooperate, the city said.

Only two of six families whose babies contracted herpes since 2015 from metzitzah b’peha religious rite that calls for a trained devotee, or mohel, to clean circumcision wounds by oral suction, have provided the names of the practitioner, according to Health Department spokesman Christopher Miller.

“Unfortunately, some in the community are resistant to sharing the name of the mohels,” Miller said. “This is a very insular community. This is a very religious ritual.”

The city ordered the two mohels who were identified to stop performing metzitzah b’peh in mid-March and they could face civil and criminal fines and punishment if they don’t comply, under a revised city policy. They have to test negative for herpes simplex antibodies before the city will rescind the order, Miller said.

The men were asked informally by the Health Department not to perform ritual when the city found out about the infections of two babies in December of 2015 and July of 2016, Miller said.

Health Department officials said they were able to track the herpes infection to the mohels because of the timeline of when and where herpes blisters appear on the newborn. Because they appear in the genital region five to seven days after the baby’s eighth day of life, when the bris takes place, health officials pinpoint the mohel as source of the virus.

A herpes infection in an infant can cause brain damage and even death.

Orthodox leaders have said they were cooperating with authorities, but questioned how pervasive the problem is.

Rabbi David Niederman, the head of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, an umbrella organization for the area’s Orthodox community, said in an earlier interview that they were fully cooperating with the city, though he highlighted, “the sheer numbers of metzitzah b’peh which are done annually here in the city and in the Jewish community all over the world,” where no baby boys contract herpes.

“This is a religious practice that has been going on for thousands of years,” he said.

“We have been working with different authorities and we are ready…to determine who the cause is. If anybody is the cause, not only will the community actually ban him, that person himself would refrain..to ensure that anybody who infects a child is taken off the practice,” Niederman said in an earlier interview.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday because of the Passover holiday.

A source privy to discussions about the infection issue, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about it, said that the community was skeptical that the mohels had caused the infections and believed that Health Department officials just wanted to end metzitzah b’peh.

“That’s why we’re not willing to give out the mohels. We know the city is going to ban them without giving them due process,” the source said. “There is not proof that they actually infected the baby.”

“It has to be proven, not blind accusation,” the source said. “We believe there is a group of overzealous officials in the Department of Health whose goal is banning the practice entirely. It’s just a step for them.”

Health experts said they are confident that the mohels are infecting the infants, though they admit definitive proof is elusive.

“The health of infants is our primary concern, which is why [we] recommend against direct oral suction all together,” Miller said.

The agency could, theoretically, outsource the genetic sequencing of viral samples to research laboratories, according to Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

But, he added, “I think, based on location of the lesions and time, the simplest hypothesis” — in this case, transmission via metzitzah b’peh — “seems to be the most likely.”

Whether or not mohels are the definitive source of the infection, if they test positive for herpes simplex, they shouldn’t perform the ritual either way, Miller said.

“Anyone infected with [herpes] simply should not be placing his mouth on an infant’s open wound because of the risk of infection,” Miller said.

Since 2000, the controversial practice of metzitzah b’peh has been linked to two deaths and two cases of brain damage and there have been 24 laboratory-confirmed cases of herpes infection, according to Health Department alert sent out to doctors on March 8 following the most recent infection.

There are dozens of well-known mohels within Brooklyn’s Orthodox community, often doctors or rabbis, who are trained in the sacred ritual of metzitzah b’peh.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, the Williamsburg rabbi who faced retaliation and physical attacks for his advocacy on behalf of children who’d been sexually abused by rabbis, worried parents of sick babies were being silenced by community leaders, much the same as they had been in cases of sex abuse.

“The only [reason] why they’re not coming forward is because they’re being threatened, ostracized,” he said. “You don’t know what kind of intimation goes on in this community.”

To read the article in its entirety and to obtain the Commissioner’s information click here.

 

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One thought on “Mohels Give Babies Herpes and Families Protect Them – Babies are the Collateral Damage of the Societal Norms

  1. Another demonstration of how extreme religiosity fails to translate into enhanced morality and common decency. It’s all a game. Haredi rabbonim say “jump” and their adherents ask “how high”, as if ultra-super-Kashrut observance leads to anything but the acquiring of phony brownie points in the Haredi life game. These people sicken me.

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