State Senator David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) is calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to end his attempts to regulate the Orthodox Jewish tradition of metzitzah b’peh. In July, the Mayor called the traditional practice potentially dangerous to newborns, and subjected it to review by the Department of Health.
In metzitzah b’peh, the mohel performing a bris removes the blood from a newborn’s new circumcision wound by mouth. The Health Department claimed that this tradition cannot be performed safely on a newborn baby.
“Parents approve of metzitzah b’peh because they care about their children and want to pass along Jewish traditions through them,” Storobin said. “It is insulting that the Mayor would suggest Jewish parents don’t care about their own kids. The Mayor should stop worrying about other people’s children and let us raise our families in the manner we choose.”
The Department of Health, in June, “strongly urged” parents to abstain from the custom. Storobin is concerned that the Mayor may pass a law making this tradition illegal – and from there, pass future laws regulating the freedom of religion.
“This is a Jewish tradition that dates back thousands of years,” Storobin said. “First, we see a proposed regulation by the Health Department. What next? We cannot allow the government to stop people from peacefully practicing their faiths.
“My Democratic challenger was the mayor’s closest ally when he was on the City Council. Now that the mayor is treading on fundamental Jewish tenets, my opponent is eerily silent,” Storobin continued. “I will not be silent when the cultural traditions of my faith are called barbaric.”