CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING CIRCUMCISION
Three rabbis and three Jewish groups have recently sued NYC over a conflict with health officials regarding certain berit mila (circumcision) rituals. They are trying to block enforcement of a new regulation which demands written parental consent for the rite of messissa bipeh (oral suction). Health experts say the practice can spread infections like Herpes simplex, and has resulted in the death of two babies in the last eight years. Herpes simplex is harmless in adults but can be dangerous for newborns. The rabbis contend that the alleged danger is being overblown with no conclusive link between the ritual and the deaths, and that their religious freedom is being restricted. The plaintiffs include the international Bris Association, Agudath Israel of America, the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States & Canada; Rabbi Samuel Blum, Rabbi Aharon Leiman and Rabbi Shloime Eichenstein.