A commenter (apparently David Shabatai of NYU) on Hirhurim is reporting that Rabbi Fischer, the Monsey-mohel linked to one death and one case of brain damage due to transmission of the herpes virus during mitzitza b'peh, the controversial oral-to-genital-suction of the open circumcision wound still practiced by many haredim, spoke at the conference of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists – the once proud organization that has been largely marginalized since the days of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. It is now heavily influenced by haredim, as one can see from Rabbi Fischer's presence and the presence of Agudath Israel's Rabbi Dovid Zwiebel at the convention as speakers.
The conference had a session on mitzitza b'peh (MBP), and Rabbi Fischer spoke:
R. Fisher from Monsey spoke somewhat unexpectedly at the end (I don't know if they caught this part on tape).
He said he met personally with both R. YS Elyashiv shlita and R. Wozner shlita [Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, head of the haredi non-hasidic world, and Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wozner, a leading haredi rabbinic decisor] together with R. Dr. Mordechai Halperin [the head of the haredi Schlessinger Institute for Jewish Medical Ethics] (or one of his representatives). Anybody who knows anything about R. Halperin knows that he is so yashar [straight] and such a mentch that there is no question that the data was presented accurately and fairly.
He said that both posekim held that the statistics were too insignificant to come into halakhic play and they encouraged him to continue to practice MBP and gave him a bracha for hatzlacha.
There you have it, folks. The leaders of the haredi world have ruled that, not only should MBP continue to be practiced, but the very mohel who transmitted the infection that killed one baby and caused brain damage in another should continue to practice both circumcision and MBP.
Another speaker, Dr. Jacob Fleischman, fretted that we do not have the "gold standard," a genetic stamp, for linking Rabbi Fischer to the transmission, but didn't note why that is. It is because Rabbi Fischer has consistently refused to be tested or to provide a sample for DNA.
After the session, Rabbi Gil Student of Hirhurim overheard a famous pediatrician complaining (rightfully) about Dr. Fleischman's presentation:
This doctor thought Dr. Fleischman should have been more emphatic about the clinical evidence. You need three things to transmit herpes: a wet surface (mouth or genitalia), direct contact, and an incubation period (of which the vast majority is around 8 days). In the reported cases, the mohel was the only one who fulfilled all of those criteria.
There is no reason to beat around the bush. The haredi world is a danger – to our future, to our Torah, to our way of life. They are regressing back into the 18th century. And worst of all, they are a very real and present danger to their own children. To encourage a mohel, who has apparently killed one child and maimed another, to continue to suck on the open penile wounds of eight-day-old infants is nothing short of child abuse and reckless endangerment. Let New York City do what is necessary to ban this practice and prosecute those, including rabbis and parents, who violate the ban.
The haredi world is clearly not responsible enough to police its own. So let the government do it. And let them do it immediately.