The Reasonable Rabbi Standard? Brooklyn Prosecutors Reportedly Investigate Rabbi Who Transmitted Herpes To Baby In Circumcision Ceremony

We have previously looked at the liability questions surrounding injuries and deaths linked to herpes transmissions from Rabbis during ultra-Orthodox circumcision rituals known as metzizah b’ peh. During the ceremony, the rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound with his mouth. The latest tragedy occurred with the death of a two-week-old boy in Brooklyn who contracted herpes from the Rabbi. In 2005 another infant died from the same alleged transmission from a rabbi. This could raise a difficult question on defining the “reasonable rabbi.”

The latest infant died on Sept. 28, 2011, and the cause of death was listed as “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction.”

During the ceremony known as the bris, the rabbi or mohel removes the foreskin from the baby’s penis, and with his mouth sucks the blood from the incision on the penis.

There is a criminal investigation reportedly on the way in the district attorney’s office in Kings County Brooklyn. That could make for an interesting case when the practice is 5000 years old and and traced to Abraham. While health officials have long objected to the practice is dangerous, religious leaders have refused to end it — and Jewish parents continue to follow the practice despite the known risks. The problem is that Type 1 herpes is common and the symptoms can be subtle or non-existent for the carrier.

Any criminal prosecution would likely be based on reckless rather than true intent as well as child endangerment. Here is one such provision for a misdemeanor offense:

§ 260.10 Endangering the welfare of a child.
A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when:
1. He knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the
physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years
old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation
involving a substantial risk of danger to his life or health; or
2. Being a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the
care or custody of a child less than eighteen years old, he fails or
refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to
prevent him from becoming an “abused child,” a “neglected child,” a
“juvenile delinquent” or a “person in need of supervision,” as those
terms are defined in articles ten, three and seven of the family court
Endangering the welfare of a child is a class A misdemeanor.

Yet is there a “substantial” risk of transmission given the high numbers of such ceremonies and handful of transmissions? Criminal negligence statutes have long been controversial by taking a civil tort standard and charging that conduct as a crime. The added problem in this case is the consent of the parents as guardians for the child. If the Rabbi is liable, wouldn’t the parents be liable as well? Such a prosecution would come with a heavy political price for the District Attorney in Brooklyn and likely to trigger intense backlash from the Orthodox community.

There is a strong tort case to be made in such cases. I would think that Rabbis at a minimum should be tested to determine if they are carriers. If so, they should not engage in this practice. Then there is the question whether, even with protocols and testing, this ancient practice is per se negligent in mandating oral contact with an infant’s bleeding penis. There are many ancient practices of religions that are no longer considered safe or lawful. Female genital mutilation (FGM) has long been defended as culturally and religiously required, but has resulted in criminal convictions in this and other countries. This practice is obviously far less intrusive and harmful. However, it is not enough to claim a religious exemption to an act that would be otherwise viewed as grossly negligent. The question remains whether a reasonable rabbi would engage in this practice or to do so without taking particular steps for the protection of the infant.

Source: ABC and Daily News

53 thoughts on “The Reasonable Rabbi Standard? Brooklyn Prosecutors Reportedly Investigate Rabbi Who Transmitted Herpes To Baby In Circumcision Ceremony

  1. As noted, herpes is deadly to infants. Responsible parents should insist on the modification of the ritual to avoid contact between one person’s mucous membranes and their own son’s open wound.

  2. Can parents give permission for something to be done to their child (not medical) that they know can carry potentially lethal risk? I am not a lawyer, can they enter inito a contract that negates liability?
    (I had never heard of his practice before (the mouth part). So many religious practices that seem utterly bizarre (but maybe in old days this was een as sanitizing the cut(?) )

  3. I’m truly sorry for this tragedy visited upon the parents and this child, but quite simply this is the kind of thing that happens when you allow belief and tradition to trump science and fact. Considering the wide range of blood borne pathogens we know about now, this practice should have long ago been relegated to the dustbin of the past. It’s unconscionably risky. That being said, should the Rabbi in this case be prosecuted criminally or civilly? I think a criminal prosecution might bring an impetus to change/abandon the practice as would a civil suit, however, I don’t think a civil suit would be ethically the right thing to do. Why? Assumption of risk as a function of parental proxy. The practice is an inherently bad practice from a public health standpoint and should be discouraged by public policy as an institutional practice, but the ultimate decision on whether to follow it or not did rest with the parents. See Free Exercise and the Reynolds case if you want to further understand my reasoning on this matter.

  4. I’m all for religious freedom and will defend some pretty odd practices but not this. I don’t think the state would be out of line to criminalize any oral-genital contact between a baby and ANYONE.

  5. In my life I’ve been to many such ceremony’s, “Bris”and/or “Brits” and I don’t remember mouth to mouth contact being used. In truth though if you take part in the ceremony your eyes are more involved in following the baby’s facial expressions. As a father of girls I ever had to have the ritual done for my children, but had the been boys, I would have considered it my duty. I would nevertheless had it performed by a “Mohel” who uses the more modern methods. For those interested this gives a good summation of the process. I am of course happily circumcised.

  6. Holy fellatio batman.

    Don’t blame this on Abraham, it is a Highway 61 thingy:

    Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
    Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
    God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
    God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
    The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
    Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
    God says, “Out on Highway 61”

    (War is The Highway 61 of the 1%). Hey, lets open a hostel hospital out on highway 61 and call it religion.

  7. Circumcision is not limited to Jewish beliefs:

    Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave paintings and Ancient Egyptian tombs, though some pictures are open to interpretation. Religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism. In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur’an, male circumcision is widely practised and most often considered to be a sunnah. It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa.

    Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that 30 percent of males worldwide are circumcised, of whom 68 percent are Muslim. The prevalence of circumcision varies mostly with religious affiliation, and sometimes culture. The timing of circumcision similarly varies, though it is commonly practised between birth and the early twenties.

    (Wikipedia, emphasis added). The practice of thumbsucking is also practiced in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

  8. With their simultaneous paranoia about shariah law slipping into our society and apparent obliviousness to the existence of the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment the Republicans are sure to have a hilarious position on this one. The backwards lunacy of Shariah and the laws of Leviticus are almost identical. Courts have been fine with denying Christian Scientists the opportunity to abuse/kill their kids via religeous dogma. But then, I’m not sure the Christian Scientists have to kind of political clout enjoyed by the ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York. Last week (here in Chicago) some black ministers went beyond merely endorsing a specific candidate (Triple J) and said that Satan was behind his rival in the primary. No one from the IRS/Justice Dept. will go after an African American church’s tax exempt status in a million years for this kind of stuff. (Or Pat Robinson for that matter). When it comes to religeon butting against civil/secular law in this country, it all comes down to money and electoral power. Why haven’t high ranking priest/bishops in the Catholic Church been prosecuted criminally for hiding scores of rapists? Why can’t Native Americans practice centuries old rituals involving peyote on their supposedly sovereign land? Money and votes or a lack thereof.

  9. The mohels should be tested.

    I do not know what percentage of mohels put their mouths around the penis. I do not know what percent of mohels, rabbis, orthodox communities would feel stopping that part of the practice would destroy the purpose of the ritual or covenant.

    Ya know what, I don’t know this stuff, but I do know most people pontificating on this issue don’t know it either. Including you guys.

    I would be very happy to see circumcision go away entirely. I’ve never noticed the mohel do this in the brises I’ve attended, but as Mike said, that’s not the part of the baby you naturally focus on. I’m okay with being circumcised, but l’d be very happy to see them go away. I have mixed feelings about the time I had the honor of holding my nephew as he was circumcised. I’d like to see circumcision replaced with a ritual nicking of the foreskin as some have suggested.


    Hey Gene up there, First Amendment is a real pisser to you ain’t it!? And to the rest of you. Oh, you speak a fine game about civil liberties, but you just hate them in reality.


    Way before requiring a government mandate to stop circumcisions, it would be nice to:

    a) talk to mohels and see why this part of the practice can’t be stopped
    b) test mohels and require regular testing
    c) implement if required (and it doesn’t seem to be) some sort of boundary (latex, …) between mouth and penis

    w) replace circumcision with a ritual nicking of the foreskin
    z) outlawing circumcision entirely

    And of course, male circumcision is vastly different from female circumcision.

    It is telling the number of people that jump straight to outlawing circumcision. Is this ignorance? Their practice of their religion of anti-theism? Just the fact they are judgmental busy bodies mashed in with their overall intolerance of others? Anti-semitism?

  10. Hey, anon, your lack of comprehension about the 1st Amendment is simply staggering. Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. (8 Otto.) 145 (1878). Regulation of practice is permissible for other valid public policy considerations and although Reynolds considered a criminal matter as the crux of its reasoning, I’m quite certain that public health threats such as those posed by blood borne pathogens would withstand strict scrutiny.

    No one mentioned outlawing circumcision other than you. What I suggested was modification of the practice to prevent transmission of blood borne diseases, not an elimination of the practice of circumcision. If you’re going to try to deploy the tactic of reductio ad absurdum – especially when combined with a false attribution, you should learn how it works before attempting that maneuver on someone much more versed in argumentation than you are apparently.

  11. One crazy story. I understand Mike S.’s view of a Bris, but I never would have imagined what the orthodox version of the circumcision process entailed. I would agree with Prof. Turley that all Rabbi’s should be tested for diseases and that they present this yearly exam as evidence of their ability to perform the ceremony. Now, the second issue in my mind is the idea of any adult putting his or her mouth on the penis of any child is akin to child abuse no matter what the religious issues are in my opinion in addition to the criminal issues that Gene suggested.

  12. Seamus,
    I am with you on the issue of RCC bishops and priests being almost exempted from prosecution when the authorities have evidence of child molestation and rape.

  13. Two five year old boys are standing at the potty to pee.

    When one says, ” Your thing doesn’t have any skin on it!”

    ” I’ve been circumcised.” Says the second boy.

    ” What does that mean?”

    “It means they cut the skin off the end.”

    ” How old were you when it was cut off?”

    ” My mom said that I was two days old.”

    ” Did it hurt?”

    ” You bet it hurt, I couldn’t walk for a year!”

  14. Okay Gene,

    “but quite simply this is the kind of thing that happens when you allow belief and tradition to trump science and fact. Considering the wide range of blood borne pathogens we know about now, this practice should have long ago been relegated to the dustbin of the past.”

    I would say the first sentence quoted indicates what you think of freedom of religion. The second is vague and can refer to either circumcision or this oral penile contact, so I’ll give you that.

    However, it’s disingenuous to read many of the other comments in here as about that contact and not about circumcision itself since they scream circumcision in so many sentences.

  15. Well anon, if you have issues with the other commentators, I suggest you take it up with them. In re my comments, you’re simply talking out of your ass in your original comment and in your interpretation of ““but quite simply this is the kind of thing that happens when you allow belief and tradition to trump science and fact” as being inclusively indicative of my position on Free Exercise. While it may (read that word carefully) be indicative of my personal feelings about religion in general, to say that it summarizes my position on Free Exercise is simply another false attribution; a lie on your part. Would you care to Test your hyperbolic distortions some more? I’ll be glad to smack you down again.

  16. Bdaman ((*_))*
    someone mentioned testingonce a year. That would not help, you can get Herpes during that year.
    (And I also had thought about the implications in any other context of mouth to penis contact – why is it pedophilia elsewhere but here okay ritual? Taken to its utmost extreme, given the level that we hear about in the RC church, they could start calling it accepted ritual.

  17. I have been to many of these procedures, including my two sons and three grandsons (in my lap), and don’t remember (or want to) any oral suction of blood.
    I do like to joke that this is a Jewish kid’s first discount.

  18. I object to the oxymoron “reasonable rabbi.” Anyone who could possibly believe — let alone act in imitation of — the barbaric crap written in Genesis deserves many applicable epithets, but “reasonable” does not qualify as one of them. Hence:

    From “Boobie Political Science” (an episode of Fernando Po, U.S.A. — America’s Post-Linguistic Retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    Like Abram prostrate on the ground
    In Jewish tribal lore
    George fell down flat upon his face
    Thus promising to score
    Some skin from off his penis tip
    So “GAWD” would not get sore

    The Boobies couldn’t get enough
    They cheered and stomped and grinned
    And held their bloody penises
    (Appropriately skinned)
    So “GAWD” and George could see at once
    That none of them had “sinned”

    Thus did the Church and State combine
    In prehistoric days
    And soon the Boobies learned to stage
    Those awful Passion plays
    Which featured killing Boobies in
    Excruciating ways

    And Cicero in Roman times
    Inquired of something odd,
    “Is there a man so mad who thinks
    He drinks and eats a god?”
    The mack’rel-snapping Boobies blushed
    And answered with a nod

    Michael Murry, The Misfortune Teller, Copyright 2005

    Ugh. Disgusting. Deluded old men giving blowjobs to bleeding infants while other old pedophiles in skirts eat the flesh and drink the blood of a renegade Jew who died two thousand years ago. What barbarism.

  19. My mom said to my 12 year old ears: “I thought you could keep it clean yourself”. Hygiene was all the rage as a reason in the non-Jewish NC.

    And here in Sweden, the little I know says it’s unpractised. So if a Swedish girl says: “Gimme some skin”, there’s no doubt what she means. Before they just invited you to a cup of tea at their place.

    My AZ friend said her half-Irish and fair son got skinned in the kitchen by a doc; and he went on to study Hebrew, now teaching it to younger kids, and has had his Bar Mitzvah.

    As for rituals, the extreme ritual slaughtering of 500 horses and ritual chanting without error otherwise da capo, was until modern times common in India.

    Myself, I endorse reciting the table of elements, or a passage from Kantian philosophy.

    BTW, the jews in Medina heckled Mohammed for his aping of Judendom.
    He drove them away but kept the ritual and theology passages.

  20. SwM,
    Is that revenge for inflicting cervical cancer? IE papilloma virus causing cancer in the prostate. Will read it now? Just wanted to demonstrate my deductive powers.

  21. “but I never would have imagined what the orthodox version of the circumcision process entailed.”


    As the Professor noted in his story this is an “Ultra-Orthodox” practice and they make up 10% of Jews.

    As to Anon’s comment on circumcision, I’m very glad to have been circumcised and it certainly never affected my sex life, or turned off my sex partners.

    I could make some lame comment about Jewish me doing it better, but not only would that be untrue and nonsensical, but would demean what sexuality is really about.

  22. Sue the Rabbi and seek relief in the form of turn abouts fair play. If the jury rules for the plaintiffs then they get to whack the Rabbi’s pee pee off. No pun intended. Next time the Rabbis will be more careful if their own pee pee is on the hook so to speak.

  23. I was circumcised. It is a barbaric tradition to mutilate the most sensitive parts of a man’s penis, and should be illegal. Parents shouldn’t have any more right to do this than remove a childs ears. The “mouth to genital contact”, while disgusting, is not abuse, and a child would no more bare emotional scars from this than being a claustrophobic fetus. Criminally, the rabbi is no more or less guilty than any and every rabbi who has ever done this procedure. Criminal prosecution in this case is preposterous, and prosecutors should be fired for this outrageous and ridiculous attempt to prosecute. Punish the guilty, not the unlucky. Please.

  24. Mezizah Bpeh is done using a strawlike device. The rabbi or jewish doctor (I had a medical doctor do my flawless job) does not suck on the kids little weenie. It is not even essential to the Bris ceremony. In Jewish Orthodox Law, circumcision is a central concept. It is a covenant that God made with Abraham and is continued through thousands of years. In Jewish thought, there is Biblical Law and then Rabbinic Law. According to Biblical Law you simply remove the foreskin. The Rabbinic Laws which are not as binding include blessings and prayers said at the ceremony mezizah bpeh and various other practices such as giving the baby a tiny dab of wine from the cup of blessing. Whether circumcision is barbaric or not is up for debate. I have seen research that the baby only experiences pain for around a day based on brain scans, but I cannot verify if this is true. I can verify however that for an adult the Bris is very painful and the pain can last for weeks. I saw the case back in 2005. It was not verified that the form of mouth herpes the Rabbi had back in 2005 actually caused the infants death. If it is indeed proved to be dangerous I sure as hell will not allow the doc doing my kids job to do the Mezizah bpeh.

  25. As the Professor noted in his story this is an “Ultra-Orthodox” practice and they make up 10% of Jews.

    I must disagree with you here Mike. Mezizah bpeh is done by all Orthodox Rabbis and doctors. Ultra Orthodox are crazy Hassidim mostly in Israel. As many non religious jewish people turn to these practitioners for the Bris ceremony, it affects them too. I am interested as well as the Professor in what the Prosecutors find scientifically.

  26. Dredd raises a salient point but I believe that they do it at 13 which is the age Ismael got it, and it is a lot more painful at that point. In fact my Iranian friends tell me that kids run away from home on their 13th birthday.

  27. “Mike S.,
    Shouldn’t we ask your partner’s opinions? :) Sorry, I couldn’t resist!”

    This is how I’ll answer your impertinent question. By the way Katz’ Deli on Houston Street in Manhattan has the best hard salami I’ve ever eaten.

  28. Note that my previous comment that it is done with a strawlike device (a small amount of blood is drawn through the device which the rabbi then spits out). This is true of the many orthodox circumcisions that i personally have witnessed. However I must amend that it is possible that their are people who do it directly.

  29. Am just eating my breakfast and wondering if anybody will re-visit the site of circumcision.
    On which my comment is: Whatever comforts you in your life’s journey. But herpes transmission should be avoided. If you want to prance around naked on your front lawn to memorialize something, by all means, do it.
    As for merits and demerits medically, sexually, etc they can be found scientifically. Finding people to provide a two-armed experience should be no problem. Any volunteers to be coupled up (no pun) to an EEG equivalent or doing it under a two-person MRI scanner?

    But as Mike S. implies, the principal erotic zone, as we all know, is the mind set at the moment. Of course he meant much more than arousal being involved in mindset.

    People take drugs to alter mindset (my catchall word for the day). So why not religion.

    As for the Iranians, my understanding that the basis for Shiism is that they are doing constant penance for not supporting in battle in time, and thus causing the death of a Mohammad descendant and his family. So to them, causing maximum pain is natural. But can understand 13 year old boys are not enchanted with the sacrifice, however meritous it may be in Shia eyes.

  30. A gorilla would know better than to jepoardize it’s own baby’s life or amputate part of it’s genitals. It is called maternal instinct.

    #1 Did half of you not read the article? The sucking of the blood thing is only done by the “ultra orthodox”, which I’m assuming must include the Hasidic. That freaks me out because I live in a Hasidic neighborhood. Gussy it up any way you like- a grown ass man who is in fact in charge of a flock of people is sucking the blood off on infant’s penis that he just cut in front of a crowd. And he’s sometimes passing on a fatal disease-HERPES!!!-something that anyone who knew about this practice knew could happen. Even a total schictsta like me.

    #2 Anyone who defends this is out of their mind and probably a member of a cult. I think its great that the Jewish community has rituals that have been going on for 5000 years. Who else can say that? However freedom of religion does not extend to the freedom to endanger the life of a NEWBORN. Maybe if these Rabbis had been cooperative and taken care of this problem the first time they KILLED A BABY instead of being arrogant jerks and not doing anything another baby wouldn’t have died. Christopher Hitchens wrote about it years ago in his book God is Not Great and said it had to stop before another baby died.

    If you would do whatever your Rabbi told you to, and that included risking the life of your child while cutting the most sensitive part of his PENIS off and then sucking the wound with his mouth- something that the city has been trying to end for some time now- than you are in fact an irresponsible and selfish parent. You put your religion and the desire to appear holy before the life of your own offspring- even a gorilla knows better than that. How do you feel about the mothers at Jonestown who gave their babies poison kool aid because Jim Jones told them to? Was the end result not the same? If a Rabbi expects his followers to do this ritual and pressures them than he is in fact coercing the parents and is liable too. How could anyone defend this? Its just like Catholics defending the Pope hiding away child molesters and letting them molest again and again. It is just like the fringe Mormons who marry off their 12 year old daughters.The common thread is that they do these things to children or babies- the innocent and defenseless who can’t speak for themselves. The parents of this baby are “stonewalling” the investigation according to the NY Daily news, the only paper with the cojones to call out the orthodox community. No parent has the right to kill their child. The child doesn’t choose its religion and anyway the bris was forced upon this baby -AGAINST his will.

    #3 Seamus – right on to you. Ask a doctor whether circumcision is necessary and they will say…well no. There is simply no real reason for it aside from religion. The foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis. How any man can advocate circumcision is beyond me. It doesn’t hurt that much people say. Really and how would you know that? I can see cutting it off for hygiene when we lived in dirt huts. Fine. The penis in its natural state has been given a bad name and that is insane. If it aint broke don’t fix it. What if the rumors are true and sex is in fact better for an uncircumcised man and better for a female too? Would you still circumcise? People probably would if someone powerful encouraged them too. While we are on the subject of Abraham- if it were 2012 and Abraham tried to kill his son he’d hopefully go to jail.

  31. About the 5,000 year history bit — the Chinese have a far longer record of continuous cultural practices than the Jews. And if I simply can’t avoid religious people and their practices, I’ll take the Chinese any day. Better looking women and far better food.

  32. The American Medical Association’s Policy on Circumcision

    Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice. [They seldom define “routine”, apparently meaning “non-therapeutic” or “universal” – two very different things – depending on circumstances.] The recent policy revision by the American Academy of Pediatrics also states that analgesia (anesthesia) should be provided for the procedure.

    Circumcision decreases the incidence of urinary tract infections in the first year of life, and also protects against the development of penile cancer later in life. The circumcised male also may be somewhat less susceptible to HIV infection and certain sexually transmissible diseases. The low incidence of urinary tract infections and penile cancer mitigates [another strange word: they meant “nullifies”] the potential medical benefits compared with the risks of circumcision. In the case of sexual transmission of HIV, behavioral factors are far more important in preventing these infections than the presence or absence of a foreskin.

  33. “Medical studies that say that circumcision makes sex less pleasurable”

    Possibly because it make the head slightly more insensitive, however, that is perhaps a sexual boon to both female and male as retold below:

  34. I’m sorry some people here don’t not like the idea of circumcision and certainly the Ultra-Orthodox methodology should be changed. However, I would urge those of you who feel that way to definitely not have your male children and let us Jews have our outmoded beliefs, quaint and silly as they may seem. Remember, Jews are the only biblical belief that doesn’t proselytize.

  35. @Liz

    The article clearly states that Zweibel (who is a normal guy who opposes mezizah bpeh at least unsupervised) says that it is practiced by the majority of those who perform circumcision. It is not just the hassidim or Ultra Orthodox.

    Also, although one medical examiner said that it was mezizah bpeh that caused this, I would like to see other doctors and scientific authorities corroborate the findings. This will make it easier to halt or supervise the practice.

  36. -The first sentence of the above article says that the blood sucking is done by the “ultra orthodox”. Every article I’ve read said it was uncommon. What do I know, I’m not Hasidic.
    -The city tried to crack down on this practice the last time a baby died. The Rabbis basically said screw you and refused to regulate. The NY Times article talks about this. People fear it may go “underground” if they crack down. No one is regulating it now; it may as well be underground all ready. Its not like its happening in hospitals.
    -I think the reason why this story is so huge is the Rabbi’s refusal to regulate this practice. Its bad enough that this happened, but to refuse to prevent it from happening again is arrogant. They think that if they deny it than it never happened. This is what the Vatican does when they get busted.
    – @Mike Spindell- My favorite thing about Judaism is the not proselytizing bit. People should live and let live. I personally have a hard time with the whole circumcision/doing (insert practice here) solely because God told you to thing. I feel bad for the babies ok. I don’t see the point of amputating an existing part of the penis that is filled with nerves and that serves a purpose sexually. I understand that it is a tradition, I just don’t see why people can’t just have a bris and gesture as if they were cutting it but not actually cut it. There are plenty of rituals from ancient books that have been modified in order to be more humane. Do you insist on human and animal sacrifice too?
    Adult men who have circumcisions say it is very painful and there is no way it isn’t for a baby.The majority of these men say sex is less pleasurable after. If people want to cut foreskins SOOOO badly they should let the children decide for themselves. What is the harm in that? They don’t do that though, probably because the boys would refuse and wouldn’t you? I mean you’re a man-if you were “intact” today would you willingly have a circumcision because that is the tradition? I’m willing to wager most men would say HELL NO and most babies would say the same given the chance. I mean what is (the more widespread form of)female circumcision but amputating part of the clitoris. Because that is done in Africa it is foreign to most westerners but in say Mali it is very common.

  37. This is obviously very inaccurate. Rabbis would NEVER “suck the blood” from a penis, or from anything else for that matter.

    One major dietary law for Jews AND Christians (if you believe in the Noahide laws) includes NEVER eating blood, because the blood is the life of a thing. In fact, they are to drain all the blood from an animal that they are slaughtering for food in order to be able to eat it, THEN they salt it over night to drain the rest of the blood from it.

    So for them to suck the blood out of an incision is absolute nonsense, and anyone practicing such barbarism is NOT a true Jew, and NOT practicing the laws of HaShem.

    Thanks for a completely bogus ridiculous, and anti-semetic false article.

  38. Yeah they’re “trying” to save babies….but they won’t try too hard!! We wouldn’t want to offend anyone by stopping a totally BARBARIC practice from the BRONZE AGE!!! I mean as long as the rights of backwards indivuals to practice ridiculous traditions that have killed babies are not infringed upon I am happy!! Being offended trumps killing a baby, right? If I went and killed my sons, & then said God told me to, would you think it was ok because it is in the Torah? No, you’d think I was a nutjob and put me in jail. I love how people are denying it is true. How typical of religous people to deny the problems that can arise from blindly following a leader. Face it – its a PARABLE. No one takes all of it literally – no one. Its impossible. You don’t believe in infanticide, you don’t believe in rape, and you don’t believe in selling your daughters SO YOU DON’T FOLLOW THE TORAH TO THE LETTER. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the lettter killeth, but the spirit giveth light” Corinthians 3:6 ( I understand that this is from the NT).

  39. Commoner, I have a really hard time believing the Ultra-Orthodox make up 10 percent of the Jews. Where did you find that statistic?

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