“How can you be certain that at any given time the mohel doesn’t have the virus? Because he may have been tested a year ago and he may have contracted the virus since then. There’s no foolproof way of doing something like that…"
Above: Rabbi David Niederman, left; Rabbi Chaim David Zwiebel, right
The Jewish Week reports:
In what appears to be a crack in the united charedi front on metzitzah b’peh, an influential Orthodox leader said this week that the idea of banning all mohelim who test positive for herpes from practicing the risky circumcision technique is “worth looking into.”
Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella organization for charedi Jews, told The Jewish Week during an extensive interview Monday that he was open to the idea if two major problems could be overcome. Both involve the fact that most adults — 73 percent, according the city health officials — have the virus, and, because it’s highly contagious, anyone can catch it at any time.
“How can you be certain that at any given time the mohel doesn’t have the virus? Because he may have been tested a year ago and he may have contracted the virus since then,” he said. “There’s no foolproof way of doing something like that, although if we could find a way of doing that and ensure a proper supply of people who will do metzitzeh b’peh, that would certainly be something worth looking into.”
Rabbi David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn and a leader in the Satmar chasidic community, told The Jewish Week he remains steadfastly opposed to the idea, saying herpes testing would create “a false sense of security.”
“By having a test today, then tomorrow he can have it. So what added security is that at all? Should [the mohel] be tested every day? Should he be tested every half an hour? It simply doesn’t make sense,” Rabbi Niederman said. “Simply to create a false sense of security and hysteria at the same time serves no public health policy and defeats the whole purpose.”
City officials said they would welcome a discussion on such a ban if charedi leaders were to bring it to them.…
A few quick points.