After months of wrangling, New York's verdict is in.
The New York Daily News reports:
City officials have moved to ban a rabbi suspected of infecting infants with herpes from performing an ancient circumcision rite, prompting religious Jewish leaders to plead with Mayor Bloomberg to intervene.
Bloomberg sat down at City Hall yesterday with dozens of ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who said they are concerned that such a ban would set a bad precedent, according to several people at the meeting.
The mayor "basically accepted a suggestion that the time should be given for both sides to sit down and iron this thing out," said Rabbi David Niederman, who praised Bloomberg.
But several sources said the mayor promised that the city would never ban a religious practice outright - but also held firm that he "has an obligation" to uphold laws.
The Daily News first reported in February that the city Health Department was investigating whether Rockland County-based Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer gave herpes to a baby through the practice of metzizah b'peh - in which the rabbi uses his mouth to suck blood from the circumcision wound. The baby later died.
On Aug. 1, the Health Department sent Fischer's lawyer a draft of an order banning the rabbi from performing metzizah b'peh in the city, officials said. Fischer has until next week to respond.
But the threat of such an order alarmed the ultrareligious community.
The controversy is still roiling at a time when Bloomberg, who has had a somewhat strained relationship with the Orthodox community, is looking to repair things before the November election.