In what appeared to be yet another paid (but undeclared) infomercial, Zev Brenner went to the American Board of Ritual Circumcision's annual gathering for mohels and doctors held at the house of the board's founder, Rabbi Romi Cohn. Cohn and his compatriots are largely uneducated in science and medical issues, and Brenner asked no tough questions and made no attempt to correct or call out their mistakes or lies. Here's what they said, and why most of these 'professionals' should probably be banned from circumcising anyone ever again.
The basic facts to keep in mind:
1. Herpes can be active and then go inactive without warning and then go active again without warning, and people with active virus don't realize it.
2. Washing your mouth out with Listerine or grain alcohol does not stop oral transmission of the herpes virus 100% of the time – or even most of the time.
3. Neonates (new babies) have immature immune systems and the damage herpes does to neonates as a result is much more severe than what it does in adults.
4. New studies show having herpes DOUBLES the risk of getting Alzheimer's Disease later in life.
5. Metzitzah b'peh (MBP) killed hundreds if not thousands of babies in waves of suffering death throughout Europe in the 1800s. Syphilis and other diseases were transmitted from mohels to these babies, who were sickened and then died or were maimed for life. It was only the discovery of germ theory and doctors pushing to ban MBP that stopped the waves of suffering and death.
6. After WW2 when antibiotics became common, many of these diseases were almost wiped out.
7. Herpes is a virus and antibiotics do not work on viruses. As herpes became widespread in the Western world over the past 30 years, the instances of babies getting herpes through MBP began to skyrocket.
8. What stops MBP herpes transmission is not a Listerine rinse. What stops MBP herpes transmission is not doing MBP.
Past all that, the confusion and ignorance of the basic medical science of the Sefardi mohel who claims the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was out to frame him, and Rabbi Romi Cohn's false claim that there are no problems with MBP herpes transmission when mohels follow his protocols, and the rest of the asinine, inaccurate BS spouted by these people should be enough evidence for any literate person to agree that New York City (and for that matter, the state and the federal government) should ban MBP outright. Cohn and his ilk are dishonest. They're also not smart or educated and are risking the lives of little babies – and in some cases, actually killing them.
In Rabbi William Handler's case, he was also a big defender of Rabbi Israel Weingarten. Weingarten raped his own daughter for more than a decade. After Weingarten was convicted in federal court, Handler mounted a public defense of him meant to help raise money for Weingarten's appeal. Now he's the head of the "Bris Milah Anti-Defamation League" – an organization of his own making.
Listen for yourself. A few seconds is cut off from the beginning of each recording because the commercial breaks were shorter than I thought they would be. But all you're missing is the introduction of each segment, not anything the substantial.
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