January 17, 2014
Rewind: Regulating Mezitzah B'Peh In NYCby Celeste Katz
Mayor de Blasio will continue many of his predecessor's public health initiatives -- including requiring parental consent forms for mezitzah b'peh, he and his new health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, said Thursday.
["A Satmar faction announced during the mayoral election that de Blasio had promised to remove the requirement in exchange for their votes – a claim de Blasio later said was false, even though it was made in English on a public address system in front of hundreds of hasidim by a leader of that Satmar faction who was standing only five feet from de Blasio when he made it." - Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com]
Bassett said "there have been some 13 infant deaths in the past decade related to risks associated with exposure to a practitioner who transmits herpes" during the circumcision ritual, which is observed by some Orthodox Jews and involves a mohel removing blood from the baby boy's wound by mouth.
The city is not outlawing mezitzah b'peh, Bassett said, but "we have to ensure that people understand the purpose of these regulations [and] do a better job of listening to their concerns about them."
De Blasio emphasized, "I've said we'll keep it in place while searching for a solution that we think is more effective... There hasn't been the kind of dialogue necessary to get to common ground." While the city can communicate better with those who want to continue the religious observance, he said, "our job is to protect children."