Judge Won’t Block New York City Metzitzah B’Peh Law


brisA Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform bris milah with metzitzah b’peh to first obtain written consent from the parents.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the change to the city’s health code, which some members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities called an unwarranted government intrusion on religious freedom.

In September, the New York City Board of Health voted to require mohelim to obtain advance consent that tells parents about the risk of a potentially fatal herpes infection linked to metzitzah b’peh.

Enforcement of the regulation was put on hold until Buchwald could rule on the request by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, the International Bris Association and some rabbis for a preliminary injunction.

In court papers filed in October, they said the regulation improperly singled out an exclusively religious ritual, and violated the free speech and free exercise protections within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But in a 93-page decision, Buchwald refused to halt enforcement of the regulation, and said the plaintiffs’ claims were likely to be found without merit.

“There is ample medical evidence that direct oral suction places infants at a serious risk of herpes infection, as well as evidence that parents are sometimes unaware in advance of a circumcision that MBP will occur, and the regulation plainly addresses these legitimate societal concerns,” Buchwald wrote.

“As enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision” whether to consent, she added.

Shay Dvoretzky, a partner at Jones Day representing the plaintiffs, was not immediately available for comment.

The city welcomed the decision. “Informing parents about the grave risks associated with this procedure is critical to safeguarding infants’ health,” Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, a senior lawyer for the city, said in a statement.

New York City said it plans to begin enforcing the consent requirement even if litigation continues.

Source: Jonathan Stempel – YAHOO NEWS

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. It’s a black day.

    And just like when the Russians started drafting Jewish boys into their army (after Jews pushed for it), there were some Jews who were excited about that black day, so too do we have some Jews who are excited about this black day.

    We will persevere, while they will end up as relevant as those Russians.

  2. A few comments. Number one: The obviously Jewish names of the city’s lawyer, possibly of the judge, and certainly of the Mayor are a cause for some distress on our part. What is it with these self hating Jews and their shamelessly anti religious agenda? Truly heartbreaking. Another question is, is this something that will be as ineffectual as Israel’s edict regarding the drafting of bochurim? Will people in Boro Park and Williamsburg really comply with this law? Perhaps it’s just a “moral” (ironic, right?) and symbolic victory for the city and after this they’ll get out of our faces…Or will people start traveling out to Passaic, Monsey or Long Beach to make brissos? Alternatively, will people just sign the consent form and not worry about it, continuing to keep their minhagim in peace? (I am aware of the concerns of those who say that this is just the beginning of the challenges to MBP, I’m just thinking short-term.) However, my biggest problem is with the articles on this topic written lately in major frum papers. Due to the “party line” and propaganda-like style of the articles, I had no idea that the case for MBP was in such jeopardy. I thought we were sure to win the lawsuit based on what I read. Sheker is never acceptable and certainly not when it endangers the interests of Klal Yisroel.

  3. Time for organized civil disobedience: just ignore the Bloomberg law, refuse to pay any associated fines, get arrested en-mass al kidush Hashem. Obviously, an action as such would have to be well coordinated among all the NYC orthodox groups to be effective. Modern American courts have a tendency to be persuaded by determined actions much more than by academic arguments.

  4. I am a new commenter. And YES I have read the page…. They are 100%-


    Their numbers don’t add up at all! And the funny (!) part is that they really KNOW it and SAY it…and it’s still going through.
    One great part about all this is that it tells us that Mashiach must be on his way!


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