If necessary, ultra-Orthodox rabbis in New York say they will
defy a new health order related to circumcision.
The proposed law calls for parental consent before an ancient
circumcision ritual can be performed, as proponents claim it is a
dangerous practice that caused the death of one infant in the
past decade from a form of herpes.
Rabbi David Niederman of The United
Jewish Organization of Williamsburg says circumcision is a
"There is no danger," he asserts. "We did our medical research,
plus the overwhelming evidence of tens of thousands of
circumcisions a year, and there's no issue. And herpes occurs in
girls. Herpes occurs also in kids who have circumcisions in and out
Rabbi Niederman adds that the deeper issue is the
constitutional right to freedom of religion.
"This is the first time in trying to regulate such an ancient
religious practice and telling a mohel (a person qualified to
perform the rite of circumcision), Rabbi, if you don't get
parental consent, then you are violating the law by doing what you
have to do.''
If the health agency approves the law, Niederman is certain
lawsuits will follow. Meanwhile, he is confident his
group has a solid case.