The city estimates that metzitzah b’peh is used in some 3,600 local circumcisions each year. The city’s health department says that, between 2000 and 2011, 11 babies contracted herpes as a result, and 2 of them died. This spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the procedure created a risk for transmission of herpes and other pathogens and was “not safe.”Cohn is an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor who has performed the ritual 25,000+ times, free of charge, and, he says, without ever causing an infection. He says he'll go to jail before complying with this new regulation (which only requires informed consent — it's not a prohibition). He's sought out by parents who say things like "I don’t want a 99 percent job, I want a 100 percent job... I want [my son] to be fully Jewish."
So on Thursday, the city’s Board of Health is scheduled to vote on a proposal that would require parents to sign a consent form indicating that they are aware of the risk of herpes transmission when a circumcision procedure, or bris, includes direct oral contact.
September 13, 2012
"When [mohel, A. Romi Cohn] circumcises an infant, he said, he almost always put his mouth on the baby’s penis to pull blood away from the wound..."
"... in an ancient part of the circumcision ritual, known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh, that is still commonplace in parts of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community but is rare in other branches of Judaism."