Outrage in the Frum Community Over NYC Board of Health Ruling On Metzitzah B’peh


bloomberg1The New York City Department of Health’s is officially interfering with the practice of bris milah. Pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the DOH ruled today to require parents to give their “informed consent” for any bris involving metzitzah b’peh.

The ruling has left the Orthodox community stunned and hurt.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) and NYS Senate candidate Simcha Felder are outraged. Hikind and Felder, in a joint statement, said, “This attack isn’t just on metzitzah b’peh-a tradition practiced by most Orthodox Jews; it is an attack on Judaism as practiced for 3300 years. Telling parents that you require written consent from them before performing religious rites that the mayor finds objectionable thrusts the city deeper into a nanny-ocracy that has dubious implications. This is a deliberate insult to the intelligence and dignity of Orthodox Jews who live in this city. It is degrading. It is an attack upon the covenant that lies at the heart of our history and culture. Orthodox Jews have historically made it clear that they will practice their religion as they always have, regardless of any government’s attempt to interfere or degrade them.

“The sad implication is that this will dissuade some Jews altogether from performing ritual circumcisions. They will not enter the covenant. The mayor has allowed his personal agenda to impact the lives of these Jewish children forever. This is how he enters the New Jewish Year.”

Councilman David G. Greenfield is also outraged.

“Today’s vote is a shocking case of this administration overstepping its authority and violating the constitutionally-protected rights of Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers. Every New Yorker who values religious freedom, regardless of their personal beliefs, should join the Orthodox Jewish community in opposing this outrageous case of government intervention into the most fundamental of Jewish religious practices,” said Councilman Greenfield.

Greenfield is working with community leaders to file a lawsuit against the unconstitutional regulation. “It is sad and unfortunate that New York, where personal freedoms and beliefs are held dearly, has become the first local government in the United States to regulate the mitzvah of bris milah. My message to the administration is clear – the Orthodox Jewish community will not rest until this affront on our religious freedom is reversed,” added Greenfield.

Click here for a video of the vote.

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}



  2. The New York City Board of Health voted today to regulate Bris Milah and specifically Metzitza B’Peh. And like the Jewish community has been warning (and the apologist were until now denying), this is only a first step in the government attempting to outright ban this vital part of Bris Milah. Joel A. Forman, professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, one of the nine members of the NYC BOH who voted to regulate Bris Milah specifically said after the vote today that he wants the government to outright ban MBP. He is quoted in the N.Y. Times (currently on their website) as saying “It’s crazy that we allow this to go on.”

    The new NYC DOH regulation will be widely ignored, in any event. As the N.Y. Times reported today, more than 200 Orthodox Rabbis have ordered their adherents not to comply with the regulation because they believe it is a mandatory part of the practice of the Jewish religion.

    And it is utterly uneforceable, as the BOH doesn’t have the legal ability to station inspectors in shuls to witness Bris Milahs. And no one from the Chareidi and Chasidic community will maaser anyone. So the BOH won’t even know 1) who the mohel was and 2) whether or not MBP was performed.

    1. The DOH regulation isn’t even a law. It is just a regulation passed by the local directors of the city health board. Even if it is violated, it is not breaking the law. It will result in getting a “ticket” with a monetary fine. It is similar to getting a parking ticket or a restaurant getting a health violation fine. Except the city can tow the car or take away a restaurant’s license if it doesn’t pay the fine. Here the city cannot stop a Mohel from continuing to perform his religious function even if he doesn’t pay the fine(s).

    As the N.Y. Times is reporting today, “failure to comply merely may result in warning letters or fines to the mohelim. Enforcement, though, will be based on investigation of specific complaints and herpes cases, not spot checks or raids, and there are no mandatory punishments, said Dr. Jay K. Varma, the city’s deputy commissioner for disease control.”

    2. It is illegal as it is unconstitutional. The government is constitutionally prohibited from regulating a religious ritual. And the Agudas Yisroel is preparing a lawsuit to overturn the regulation.

    3. It is unenforceable. The government cannot place department of health inspectors in synagogues to observe if the mohel performs MBP or not. At most, they need to ask the parents or mohel. And they generally won’t even know who the mohel was. And even if they ask, neither the parent nor the mohel have to answer or even talk to the DOH or any government officials (it is called the Fifth Amendment) unless the city bothers to get a court subpoena every time they want to investigate. And they need to demonstrate to a judge they have good reason; they cannot simply subpoena hundreds of mohelim.

  3. This an outrage and reminder that even though NYC is a throughly Jewish city it is still in the Exile and not our homeland Galut is Galut do not kid yourself

  4. we will have to start being like the marranos or in russia during the kgb where all brissen were done in the basement/cellars – IS THIS CALLED FREEDOM OF RELIGION – where is our forefathers constitution

  5. We Yidden will do what we were always doing. We will continue to follow the riguals we have followed for thousands of years and ignoree this whole stupdity.To Mayor Bloomberg I say, I feel sorry for your parents. They are probably turning over from shame.
    This and the big sodas. Do what you want in your family but bud out of our personal lives.

  6. be prepared for all your rights & freedoms to be taken away slowly but surely-not in one shot-& soon WE will not be able to live in the USA as frum yidden. all our rights & freedoms are being taken from us one at a time & the USA is about to become what used to be communist russia

    pack your bags NOW & head for Eretz Yisroel, while the pressure is not so hard & before america is attacked by iran. for then it will be too late & everyone will be leaving in poverty, wishing they had left-now-when they were told.

    BOTTOM LINE:this is all the work of Hashem & the choice is yours if you wish to leave now or wait & suffer ahead C”V

    i wish everyone a ksiva v’chasima tova ahead

  7. why wasn’t my blog posted? its the truth & people should know it before its too late & say they wish they knew. (how many people before WWII fled europe to save themselves? perhaps this time we should face reality & listen before WWIII hits the world R”L)

  8. B’H the mayor made a safe decision and it’s better for the people this way. He’s a great man and does alot for the Jewish people. Just like in everything else they recommend safeguards, so to they should use a siringe instead of one’s mouth on the baby.