The NY State Health Department's protocol for metzitzah b'peh, widely understood in the medical community as worthless, was rescinded in 2007 after Governor Pataki left office. Yet even though the sate no longer agreed that MBP could be safely done, many haredim continued to do the oral penis sucking that has killed at least one child in the past year and may have killed and/or sickened many more. The medically unsound protocol was Pataki's concession to intense haredi pressure lead by Satmar and Agudath Israel of America.
Hella Winston broke the story in The Jewish Week three hours ago.
Rabbi David Zwiebel of Agudath Israel of America told Winston he did not know the protocol was rescinded.
Even if that is true (and there is evidence that it may not be), Zwiebel knew that every medical scientist who is not a stooge – like Dr. Daniel Berman, for example – for him and the moetzet gedolei haTorah, the so-called gedolim, senior rabbis, who lead Agudah, and who has been asked has said clearly that there is no safe way to directly suck a baby's penis / open circumcision wound. And all those "gedolim" knew it, as well, as did both Satmar Rebbes, the CRC (of Williamsburg) rabbis, and Rabbi David Niederman, Satmar's point man on issues requiring pressuring (or, perhaps, if rumors are true, bribing) politicians. Even Rabbi Shea Hecht and other Chabad rabbis lobbied to keep MBP legal.
Herpes Simplex 1 is transferred through MBP way. Sometimes it damages the baby, causing illness immediately or even years later. Sometimes it causes brain damage. Sometimes it kills.
Every one of these men I mentioned above, including Berman, should be held legally responsible for the death of the baby who was killed in September when a mohel sucked his bleeding penis.
The Jewish Week's Hella Winston also exclusively reported today that Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, the mohel involved in the Herpes Simplex 1 death of a baby and the Herpes Simplex 1 brain damage of his brother in 2004 gave Herpes Simplex 1 to another child in 2007.
Fischer should have been barred from doing MBP in 2004 or 2005. He wasn't because the men I mentioned above lobbied against it and against banning MBP.
Pataki caved in almost immediately. NYC's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, caved in shortly afterward. Satmar's bloc votes and Agudah's intensive lobbying kept Fischer in business, endangering more kids.
Zwiebel, Berman, the 'gedolim," Niederman, the Satmar Rebbes and the CRC (Williamsburg) rabbis all have blood on their hands. And every one of them should be indicted, put on trial, convicted and jailed. And so should Pataki and Bloomberg.
It sounds harsh.
But children have been sicked and children have been maimed and children have died because of what these men did.
It's long past time for the US Department of Justice to protect the civil rights of haredi children by prosecuting the rabbis and politicians who are harming them.