NYC Board of Health Votes to Regulate Bris Milah

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  • #604892

    shein
    Member

    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).

    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.

    #1096199

    besalel
    Participant

    shien, i dont get your post at all. isnt the law simply stating that the parents have to be informed that MBP will take place. How can that possibly be unconstitutional? You only need to tell the parents about it so that they can make an informed decision. It is not a ban. unless i am missing something here.

    and i understand the slippery slope argument that this will lead to a ban but how can you say that this particular law is illegal? quite frankly i think parents should make an informed decision about MBP. why not?

    #1096200

    avhaben
    Participant

    This gezeira is a Shaas Shmad and we must be willing and ready to fight it with our lives or anything else, if necessary. The fact that the reshoyim behind this shmad couch their words in excuses other than anti-Judaism is meaningless, as they are obviously embarassed that stating upfront their hatred of Torah Judaism will sink their attempts to uproot the Torah r’l.

    #1096201

    shein
    Member

    besalel: No. The new regulation requires that the parent be given a form to sign with specific language stating that MBP is dangerous and recommended against as it may cause brain damage or death. It is specifically designed to scare the parents away from doing MBP. And it is a lie.

    #1096202

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    In my yeshiva, we generally don’t do metzitza bpeh. (Nor mechitza bpeh).

    However, if I have a son while this is in force, I will insist the mohel do metzitza bpeh, and I will find anther mohel or do it myself if he won’t.

    And no, I won’t sign their ox’s horn either.

    #1096203

    I am getting very tired of this. This is not sha’as sh’mad. This is not anti-semitism. This is not, as many popular Jewish media term it, an “attack on bris milah”.

    What this IS is an attempt by the city’s Dept of Health to walk a fine line between being seen as trampling on religious sensitivities and being reasonably responsible in discharging their duties as protectors of public health, regarding a practice that few can deny goes against modern medical best practices.

    This fight between Jewish groups and the DOH over DNA evidence, “incontrovertable proof”, misleading evidence, etc is irrelevant and itself misleading. I’d like to meet the person that flatly denies, in light of what modern medicine has uncovered, that putting an open mouth over a bleeding wound on a neonate is a perfectly sanitary thing to do, PERIOD. I’d like to see those people consent to surgery on their person or a loved one where none of the docs or nurses are wearing masks, gloves, gowns, etc.

    The DOH views circumcision and it’s attendant rituals as a medical procedure, albeit one currently outside their regulatory purview. That being the case, they cannot idly sit by while a practice that they see goes against the safe practice of sanitized medicine is being performed under their very noses. On the other hand, they are rather keen on the fact that there are groups that view the procedure as almost sacrosanct; they therefore mandate not the procedure itself, but that parents are aware of the risks before they perform it.

    Why is this a terrible thing?

    Bottom line is, this fight is being waged by people who are seeking some thing, anything, to fight for, “for Hashem”. Nothing more, nothing less, at least that’s my read when I read the “official” literature on the subject, in the form of Kol Korehs and Aguda letters. The people involved view themselves as “standing up to those who would trample upon and ridicule our time-honored customs”, as fighters in “milchamot Hashem”, rehashing the Ortho-Reform battles of the 19th century. This isn’t the 19th century, at least in the USA. No one is banning anything, no one is attempting to seriously ban milah in this country.

    The whole debate is being framed in the wrong way. Not once, not ONCE have I seen a detailed, reasoned, public discussion of the halachic issues on the subject. I have not seen any attempt to keep this debate private; now this is splashed over the public media for all Jews and non-Jews alike to see. All I see is hysteria and cries of anti-semitism and making mountains where molehills stand.

    A serious reflection on what the DOH’s proposal (now mandate) really meant BEFORE jerking your knees in reaction would have been better. Now it’s too late.

    #1096205

    Ðash®
    Participant

    In my yeshiva, we generally don’t do metzitza bpeh. (Nor mechitza bpeh).

    However, if I have a son while this is in force, I will insist the mohel do metzitza bpeh, and I will find anther mohel or do it myself if he won’t.

    And no, I won’t sign their ox’s horn either.

    If you follow a halachic ruling not to do metzitza bpeh, than the DOH ruling cannot be considured a Gezaras Shmad.

    #1096206

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Dash: I’m not convinced of that.

    enlightened jew: You should reconsider that. If the DOH was in earnest, they would not be falsifying information in an attempt to win public approval. They would simply say it as it is.

    And if you care, it isn’t very sanitary when a baby nurses from its mother either. Nor when they kiss their baby.

    This is absolutely a milchemes Hashem, and I would be proud to be part of it, and would be thrilled to go to jail for it.

    #1096207

    takahmamash
    Participant

    This gezeira is a Shaas Shmad and we must be willing and ready to fight it with our lives or anything else, if necessary.

    You are wrong – it is not.

    You do know that if you dislike the way of life there, it is certainly possible to move somewhere else – right?

    #1096208

    truthsharer
    Member

    PBA,

    The DOH is not the one falsifying information.

    #1096210

    shein
    Member

    I too would be thrilled to go to jail for this; standing up for the Torah HaKedosha. Nevertheless, failure to comply with this new NYC DOH regulation is only similar to parking in a No Parking zone or a restaurant violating how hot the NYC DOH requires meat be cooked at. (The latter example is, too, a NYC DOH regulatory violation.) All those violations, as well as violating this new NYC DOH rule on MBP, merely result in — at most — a fine.

    Except violating the Bris Milah regulation isn’t enforceable, as even in the unlikley event that the DOH can determine who the Mohel was (since neither the parents nor the mohelim will be answering the DOH’s questions), they still won’t be able to determine or prove whether metzitza was done b’peh or with a tube. (The latter remains unregulated and requires no consent form.)

    Aside from the fact they won’t even know which Bris Milahs to investigate (to issue a fine for not signing a form) in the first place. This is despite the fact that every Mohel performing MBP will now routinely be flouting this new regulation.

    #1096212

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Perhaps this will spur a revival of metzitza bpeh if lots of people think like me.

    #1096213

    enlightendjew:

    I’d like to see those people consent to surgery on their person or a loved one where none of the docs or nurses are wearing masks, gloves, gowns, etc.

    You can meet these people yourself. Just walk into any shul that’s having a bris that morning. There you will see a man performing a minor surgery on an infant without masks, gloves, gowns, etc. In fact, the surgeon often has elongated thumb nails to assist in the surgery.

    Now what I would like to see, is the neonatal surgery that was performed as many times as the bris milah has in the past few thousand years with the same rate of complications arising from the surgery.

    #1096214

    WIY
    Member

    Tell the DOH to keep their nosy noses out of our business. Jews have been doing Metzizah Bpeh for over 100 years in America NOW they think theres a problem with it? They care soooo muuuuch about Jewish babies Im mamish touched by these faker anti Semites. This can be the beginning of much worse problems. They get a finger they want a hand then 2 hands…They need to know in the most final way possible that tampering with our religion will not be tolerated!

    #1096215

    Health
    Participant

    WIY -And what are you going to do about it? Join the Agudah’s lawsuit? The lawsuit doesn’t stand a chance. If e/o would just ignore them, maybe they would go away. Fighting them is just going to add fuel to their fire and make them want to illegalize MBP & Milah itself!

    #1096216

    2bshvat
    Participant

    Regarding the freedom of speech issue, not only can the government not restrict you from saying what you want, the government cannot compel you say what THEY want. I am free to say whatever _I_ want. Therefore, they cannot force me to tell parents that MBP includes the risk of death. I certainly wouldn’t lie or distort the truth if asked, but I cannot be compelled to scare people away from a minhag to which they are supposed to adhere. A responsible Mohel (i.e. Halachically responsible Mohel) who knows that he carries the virus & is a threat to the child’s health will not (should not) perform MBP, but that’s my business & not the government’s.

    #1096217

    WIY
    Member

    Health

    We have to fight this in any way we can because they wont go away thats the point. They had no business meddling in the first place theres plenty of unfinished business in other areas for the DOH to be occupied with. It is a chutzpah to interfere with a religious observance that has been carried out for thousands of years and is safe and has yet to be proven unsafe. They have malicious intentions and are not doing this for our good believe me. These guys are on an ego trip and must be shut down.

    #1096219

    truthsharer
    Member

    If you want people to take your arguments seriously, you first have to stop claiming “a few thousand years.”

    #1096220

    WIY
    Member

    truthsharer

    Bris Mila is a religious observance that has been going on for thousands of years.

    #1096221

    Sam2
    Participant

    WIY: Yes, but the earliest reference of MBP is much more recent. So, no matter how long we believe we’ve been doing it, for the sake of honest discourse that both sides will agree to the premises of you can’t claim that long.

    #1096222

    iced
    Member

    We’ve been performing MBP at least since prior to Chazal’s time. So measuring the timeframe in thousands of years is indeed correct.

    #1096223

    lesschumras
    Participant

    2bshvat, The First Amendment is not absolute. The classic example is that you cannot scream Fire in a theater when there is no fire.

    The Government compels hospitals to obtain a signed informed consent from the patient after all possible complications are explained.

    The Government compels drug manafacturer’s to disclose all possible side effects, np matter how rare.

    The government already regulates our marraige ceremonies. All clergy, including rabbanim, in NY are forbidden to perform a religious ceremony without also making sure that it includes a civil ceremony.

    #1096224

    Sam2
    Participant

    Iced: Can you prove that we’ve been doing MBP since Chazal (I’m not saying that we haven’t, just asking for a source)? It’s certainly not mentioned in the Gemara (not directly, at least). Aren’t the Rishonim the earliest source?

    #1096225

    Englishman
    Member

    The primary objection to this consent form is that it is not merely just a consent form, but rather it contains specific objectionable language attempting to frighten parents away from doing MBP with language that falsely claims MBP is dangerous and causes brain damage and death.

    Aside from the above required language on the form being false, it illegally forces the mohel to share the government’s opinion on the issue that he doesn’t agree with. That is a violation of the free speech provision in the Constitution.

    (As an aside, there are absolutely no legal restrictions on clergy in NY performing a religious marriage ceremony without the couple obtaining a civil marriage.)

    #1096226

    Health
    Participant

    WIY -“Health -We have to fight this in any way we can because they wont go away thats the point.”

    You don’t know that since you’re not a Novi. I say stop fighting them and it will go away.

    “They had no business meddling in the first place theres plenty of unfinished business in other areas for the DOH to be occupied with. It is a chutzpah to interfere with a religious observance that has been carried out for thousands of years and is safe and has yet to be proven unsafe. They have malicious intentions and are not doing this for our good believe me. These guys are on an ego trip and must be shut down.”

    This is fine and dandy, but fighting them at this point will cause more harm than good. I have an idea. Let this order to sign some paper alone and instead Daven hard over the Yomim Norayim that they shouldn’t go further.

    #1096228

    iced
    Member

    Sam: Mishna Shabbos 19:2, Gemora Shabbos 133b.

    #1096229

    Sam2
    Participant

    Iced: Those sources do not say anything about Metzitzah B’peh.

    #1096230

    truthsharer
    Member

    Englishman, To go even more OT, there is indeed a legal requirement to obtain a civil license before a clergy can marry a couple, at least in NYC, not sure of the rest of NYS.

    #1096231

    Englishman
    Member

    truthsharer: That is for a civil marriage. But no clergyman requires any license to perform a religious marriage without a civil marriage (which is both possible and entirely legal.)

    #1096232

    iced
    Member

    Sam: How do you suppose Chazal performed metzitza? You thought they used a sterile tube?

    #1096233

    Sam2
    Participant

    iced: Presumably not. I’m just saying, if you are going to have an honest legal discourse on the subject to try and talk to someone who does not necessarily accept our Mesorah the way we do, then you can’t claim that we’ve been doing it for thousands of years because we can’t prove that it’s been done that way for thousands of years.

    #1096234

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Englishman , check the website for the Office of the City Clerk. All Officiants (including clergy )when at private ceremonies conducted within the five boroughs must send a completed and signed copy of the marriage license to the Clerk’s office. In addition, the City requires all Officiantss to register with the Clerk’s office

    #1096236

    Englishman
    Member

    Again, that is referring only to a civil marriage. There are no regulations or restrictions on the performance of a religious marriage — which can legally be conducted without a civil marriage. (And if a religious marriage is conducted without a civil marriage in a State such as New York that doesn’t have “common-law marriage”, then the couple will be considered to not be married under civil law.)

    #1096237

    iced
    Member

    Sam: You can prove metzitza is thousands of years old, and it wasn’t done with a sterile tube 2,000 years ago.

    #1096238

    Sam2
    Participant

    Iced: You can prove it was thousands of years old and can assume it wasn’t done with a sterile tube then. You cannot prove, however, that they didn’t use a straw or even just squeeze some blood out with their fingers.

    #1096239

    iced
    Member

    Sam: It would defy logic to assert that a straw or squeeze was used. Such an obviously disingenuous claim (if asserted) is a clear attempt to deny the obvious. It makes no sense to have gone from a straw to b’peh.

    #1096240

    Sam2
    Participant

    Iced: Sure it does, especially if it wasn’t started B’peh until after Kabbalistic influence gained much more strenght. (Isn’t there something Al Pi Kaballah about the Mohel mixing the blood and the wine in his mouth or something?)

    #1096241

    bubka
    Participant

    I noticed that when the enemies of the Torah community try to poo-poo metzitza b’peh, they attempt to portray a minimization of the segments of Orthodox Jewry that engage in this mitzvah. So they say something like only “some Hasidim” do it. Of course this is simply a falsehood as in fact most Chareidim, including most of the Yeshivish world do metzitza b’peh. I come from the Litvish side of things, and MBP has been used in the vast majority of Brisim I’ve seen in the Yeshivish world, not only at my own Yeshiva circles but at others as well.

    #1096242

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Englishman, according to the website you cannot get married in NYC without a civil marriage license, regardless of any additional religious ceremony that is performed.

    #1096243

    truthsharer
    Member

    Englishman,

    You would be correct for Florida, many second marriages are done there. However, in NYS it is illegal to marry someone even religiously without a marriage license.

    #1096244

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Sam2,

    Kabbalah wouldn’t have attributed significance to something which wasn’t in practice.

    Your assertion that we need to approach this according to the other side’s perspective is incomprehensible to me. They don’t think there’s any significance to bris mila at all!

    #1096245

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I know of cases where someone was halachily married and not civilly married.

    They were cases where one partner needed some sort of government assistance and they would have lost it if they were married (due to income issues) in the non-jewish world, they would have just lived in sin, but since we dont belive that they were married halachily not civilly so not to lose the assitance (usually it was medicaid)

    #1096246

    working
    Member

    R’ Yissocher Frand has a fascinating shiur on Metzitza B’Peh from the late 80’s or early 90’s. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky gave a shiur about this a few years ago.

    #1096247

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Zdad,

    What is your point? There seems to be none.

    #1096248

    Englishman
    Member

    A religious marriage has no legal standing in U.S. civil law. A clergyman may perform a religious marriage anywhere in the United States without any registration and without the couple ever registering a civil marriage. It will be considered as if they are not married, under civil law. The couple will be, according to civil law, two unrelated people. And that arrangement is entirely legal. The Constitution generally prohibits the State from regulating a religious function. In this case described, the religious marriage is a religious function.

    If the State is one of the ten “common-law marriage” States, the couple will be considered married (by virtue of their living arangements; not by virtue of their religious ceremony.) In the other 40 States, they will be considered unmarried. There is no law anywhere in the U.S. (anymore) prohibiting two unmarried people from living together and having children. In fact, such unmarried arrangements is quite common these days (and entirely legal) among the secular American populace.

    The Fundamentalist Mormons, even today, perform religious marriage ceremonies between one man and multiple wives. As long as they do not register a second wife as a civil marriage, they are not prosecuted for bigamy notwithstanding the fact they are religiously married to more than one wife. (Think about it: If it were illegal for a clergyman to perform a religious marriage without a civil marriage, what exactly would they charge the couple or the clergyman with? Nothing. And that is even where there is only one husband and one wife! They don’t charge even if he is marrying a guy to two wives..)

    truthsharer: Please clarify your point about how and why Florida is different in regards to “second marriages”. Are you referring to bigamy?

    #1096249

    Matan1
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    How is that not stealing?

    #1096250

    Sam2
    Participant

    DY: I’m not saying that we have to. I’m just saying that if you want to convince anyone of anything you have to begin by agreeing on the same premises. The fact that MBP has been done for “thousands of years” is not one of those premises, even if it’s true.

    #1096251

    bubka
    Participant

    Rambam Hichos Milah, perek 2, halacha 2:

    ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?????. ???”? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?????. ???”? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????. ??? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ????. ????

    ????? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ???:

    Also, a known provocateur rabbi who regularly attacks anyone he considers too frum, who goes unto Har Habayis against the directions of Gedolei Yisroel ztl/shlita, and who in the past misrepresented positions of Rav Moshe (while he was alive no less!), is attempting to instigate Rockland County into banning MBP.

    #1096252

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Zahavasdad, I’m not saying it isn’t done, it’s just not legal. I know of seniors whose Medicare was thru a spouse marry only halachicly do as to not lose the benefits

    #1096253

    Some Common Sense
    Participant

    bubka,

    that “Rabbi”, in my view, does not deserve to have his name mentioned because he does not want to remember Jewish history that we never moser to the non-jewish government!

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