Not So Fast: New York Deal on Metzitzah Plan Delayed Till June



New York – A proposed deal to do away with a requirement for signed parental consent for metzitzah b’peh has been postponed.

The metzitzah b’peh proposal won’t be presented to the Board of Health for over 3 months, until June.

In February, a coalition of rabbonim and city officials reached an agreement on metzitzah b’peh.

The proposal, it was believed, was going to be presented to the board this month.

The agreement would have the de Blasio administration cancel the policy that required a mohel to obtain a written consent form from parents before performing metzitzah b’peh.

The city’s health department has for years erroneously linked the age-old minhag to neonatal herpes, citing four cases in 2014.

The consent forms, which were put in place in 2012, offended members of the frum community, who rejected the link as being fallacious and found the forms to be an impingement on their religious freedom.

During his mayoral campaign, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to address the consent form and find a new way that respected religious freedom.

In exchange for abandoning the consent forms, the coalition of rabbis negotiating with City Hall agreed that if a baby is diagnosed with HSV-1, the community would identify the mohel in question and ask him to undergo testing. If the mohel tests positive for HSV-1, the city’s health department will test the DNA of the strain to see if it matches the infant’s. If it does, the mohel will be banned from performing metzitzah b’peh for life.

But the agreement will not be implemented as soon as many would like.

“The administration and the coalition of religious leaders are formalizing specific terms of the agreement around metzitzah b’peh,” the city said in a statement from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released Monday.

The delay, it seems, is partially due to the city working out the specifics of how public health investigations will be conducted.

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. Hopefully this delay is to insure that the State doesn’t extend their reach to the point of making the leniency moot. It’s far too easy for agencies to go well beyond the necessary.