A baby has died from herpes simplex 1 transferred through metzitzah b'peh, the oral to genital suction done by haredim during the circumcision ritual. Doctors, led by biologist Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler of Yeshiva University, tried to ban MBP in 2005, but haredim fought back – using lies and bloc votes as weapons.
A baby has died from metzitzah b'peh. The city's Department of Health and Maimonides Hospital apparently tried to cover up the death. While that coverup was not successful in this case, it could easily have been successful in others.
Lets take a look back to 2005 to see what Agudah and Satmar did to block a proposed MBP ban. And lets remember that Rabbi David Zwiebel and the moetzet gedolei hatorah, and Rabbi David Neiderman and the Williamsburg Satmar rebbe (and the Pupa rebbe, etc.) are all personally responsible for this death.
…Misinformation about the health department’s intentions seems rife among the fervently Orthodox.
David Zwiebel, an executive at Agudath Israel of America, which represents the interests of the fervently Orthodox community, said the reason may be the byproduct of efforts to organize community protests.
“Whether intentional or otherwise, there have been efforts to galvanize the community,” he said. “Sometimes when you speak in shorthand or dramatic terms, or wish to impress upon people the urgency of a situation, people may walk away without a precise understanding of what is being talked about, but believing that in some way the government is coming in to regulate bris milah. That probably is the source of this kind of rhetoric.”
Others say the misinformation starts at the top.
“The lack of understanding among leaders of this community is truly outrageous,” said Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, chief of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
As an example, he cited a suggestion by Agudah in a letter last week to the Department of Health that mohels believed to have transmitted herpes to infants not be banned from doing metzitzah b’peh, but instead that the anti-viral drug acyclovir be topically applied to the circumcision wound or that it be taken by the mohel orally.
“The Agudah’s proposals demonstrate that they don’t understand this disease process,” Zenilman said. “Local application of acyclovir doesn’t work. It is not used by clinical experts for treatment, let alone prevention of transmission.”
And, he said, herpes-infected adults taking acyclovir orally is proven to be 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic transmission among adult partners, but effective only half the time in the actual transmission of the virus.
Furthermore, Zenilman said, these are adult sexual partners with mature immune systems who were studied, not newborns.
“One of the things that gets consistently overlooked is that the infant is considered an immuno-suppressed host in terms of susceptibility to infection,” he said. “That’s why in this population this infection is a devastating disease.”
Meanwhile, some representatives of the fervently Orthodox community are ramping up a campaign to get Frieden taken off the metzitzah b’peh issue.
In a meeting last month, representatives of the Central Rabbinical Congress of the U.S.A. and Canada, a rabbinical court, asked Frieden to recuse himself and turn the matter over to the state’s health commissioner.
A Satmar source who asked not to be named said upon hearing the suggestion, Frieden told the representatives that would be like the rabbis turning their authority over to priests, and walked out of the room.
And on Jan. 17 , a delegation of Satmar rabbis went to Albany to appeal directly to Dr. Perry Smith, the state’s chief epidemiologist in the Department of Health.…
Haredi rabbinic leadership and Agudath Israel of America is responsible for this death. Hold them responsible for it.