Monday, August 29, 2005

When society changes we suffer

The battle to preserve our traditions, customs, way of life:

From the jta:

Fervently Orthodox officials are refusing to abandon a ritual circumcision practice that may have caused the death of an infant.
The officials refused despite months of meetings with New York City health officials, The New York Times reported. Health officials believe three New York-area newborns got herpes; one of them fatally, from the practice of metzitzah bpeh, in which the mohel places his mouth directly on the wound.
The Orthodox Jewish community will continue the practice that has been practiced for over 5,000 years, said Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization in Brooklyn, after meeting with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.We do not change. And we will not change.

From Christopher Hitchens noted gadfly and maverick in Slate:

..The continuing scandal of this practice, which most Jews abandoned many years ago, is newly illustrated by the death of one little boy from type-1 herpes, and the infection of two others, in Staten Island and Brooklyn, after they had been subjected to this ritual by the same mohel. Let's be clear what's involved here. The Times refers to an article published last year in the journal Pediatrics that argued that metzitzah b'peh carries a serious health risk and is, for that reason alone, a violation of Jewish law. ("We suspect … that this entity is underreported for cultural reasons and that the studies described here are only the "tip of the iceberg" of the true incidence of the disease," the authors note). None of this should be hard to comprehend: If it risks the life or health of an infant, then no religious allegiance is or should be required for its condemnation. Q.E.D., as you might say... Let's by all means hear from Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who emerged from his meeting with Bloomberg to inform us that: "The Orthodox Jewish community will continue the practice that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. We do not change. And we will not change." You can preach it, rabbi, but you have no more right to practice it than a Muslim imam who preaches the duty of holy war has the right to put his teachings into effect. And Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, the 57-year-old man who ministered to the three boys in question, is currently under a court order that forbids him from doing it again—pending an investigation by the health department. What "investigation?" If another man of that age were found to be slicing the foreskins of little boys and then sucking their penises and their blood, he would be in jail—one hopes—so fast that his feet wouldn't touch the ground. If he then told the court that God ordered him to do it, he would be offering precisely the defense that thousands of psychos have already made so familiar. Preach it rabbi. Preach it to the judge.

The obvious solution to the health issue is Mohlim be checked. Though I suspect health isn' t the only issue rather society's changed attitude, now percieving this practice as being an anachronisim. Since our culture has newly defined and sexulised the human body, contact to it is no longer deemed innocent.

Changes in society affect everything in it. To our detriment.

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 12:17 PM

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metzitzah update
Two years of research have yielded the following:
1) Neonatal herpes is typically the result of a primary infection. The definition of Primary infection is: "virus positive seronegative" i.e., no antibodies to indicate a previous infection.
2) "Asymptomatic primary infection is the rule rather than the exception".

- Whitley RJ, Kimberlin DW, Roizman B. Herpes simplex viruses. Clin Infect Dis. 1998 Mar; 26(3):541-53

3)An 18 year study of 58,000 women indicates primary infection carries more than double the risk of neonatal infection, than non- primary or recurrent HSV.
) Brown ZA, Wald A, Morrow RA, Selke S, Zeh J, Corey L, Effect of Serologic Status and Cesarean Delivery on Transmission Rates of Herpes Simplex Virus From Mother to Infant JAMA 2003 Jan 8;289(2):203-209

4) Timing of 1-28 days is typical of maternally transmitted herpes.(Some other sources say as late as 8 weeks)
AAP Pediatric Redbook, & Kimberlin DW. Neonatal herpes simplex infection. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004 Jan;17(1):1-13. These 2 sources BTW are mentioned in NYC DoH 2005 Alert #46. The author of the Alert cites these sources regarding Acyclovir antiviral treatment but ignores the rest of the paper which describes their cases as typical maternally transmitted NHSV.

4) Tendler's paper used 23 year old American HSV-1 statistics to blame the Mohel for orally infecting newborns in 7 Israeli and 1 Canadian cases. Current information indicates:

62.5% of known neonatal herpes types were HSV-1

Kropp RY., et al. Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections in Canada: Results of a 3-Year National Prospective Study, Pediatrics 2006 117:1955-1962

75% of genutal herpes in Tel Aviv is HSV-1.
Samra Z, Scherf E, Dan M. Herpes simplex virus type 1 is the prevailing cause of genital herpes in the Tel Aviv area, Israel. Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Oct;30(10):794-6.
Every test that could have proven or disproven the source was avoided by Temndler and the NYC DoH. Follow up serology, serologic testing for discordant partners, DNA comparison where one Mohel was accused in two cases, etc. All were meticulously avoided.

Additionally none of the authors have ever done a paper on neonatal herpes, but many have been critical of traditional circumcision.

This does not include many of the lies concerning history in the paper, i.e., the Chasam Sofer who died in 1839, was influenced by Ignacz Semmelweis' May 1847 discovery of disease transmission (in an obstetrics ward, not because a baby got tuberculosis from a mohel) and therefore permitted instrumental suction, even thouh the instrument was not invented until 1887.

2:22 PM  

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