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NY mayor seeks to regulate circumcision practice

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to regulate and restrict the practice of metziza bipeh, a ritual used by some Orthodox Jews in circumcision, The New York Sun reported Wednesday. The metziza bipeh is an oral application of wine done by the mohel, the person performing the circumcision.
While the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recognizes the health benefits of circumcision and doesn\’t seek to ban it completely, it wants to enforce a requirement for a written waiver or consent from parents before the metzitza bipeh part of the ritual can be done, according to the report.
Mayor Bloomberg rejected pleas from leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community in New York – the Agudath Israel of America chairman, Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, and its executive director, Rabbi Dovid Zwiebel – to cooperate and consult with them on the practicing of metzitza bipeh, the Sun reported.
The mayor\’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, replied to the pleas, quoting the US Supreme Court\’s remark in a 1944 child labor case that “the right to practice religion freely does not include the liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death,” according to the report.
This comes on the heels of a ruling by a Germany court earlier this summer to ban circumcision. Berlin was the first state to declare circumcision legal last week after a Cologne court ruling criminalized it.
In California, governor Jerry Brown signed a bill in 2011 protecting circumcision after a failed attempt to outlaw male circumcision in San Francisco.

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