Buoyed by the city Board of Health's agreement to delay implementing its consent decree on metitza b'peh (MBP) while a lawsuit is pending, a group of plaintiffs held a press conference earlier this week to galvanize support. (Our invitation must have been caught in the Spam folder.)
Represented on the panel were chasidic rabbis from Satmar, Lubavitch and the haredi umbrella group Agudath Israel of America. But notably absent was any representative of Modern Orthodoxy. While individual opinions in that community on the practice of using oral suction of a wound during a bris may vary, the largest MO rabbinical body, the Rabbinical Council of America has taken a highly nuanced position on defending the practice against authorities who want to discourage it.
Opposing "unilateral government regulation" of the practice, the RCA also notes its belief that MBP "is not an integral part of the circumcision ritual," supporting use of a sterile tube. The group is not part of the lawsuit seeking to stop the Health Department from forcing mohelim in the five boroughs from performing MBP unless they obtain a signed informed consent decree from parents.
"Today is historic, and not in a good way," Yerachmiel Simins, a lawyer, told the Orthodox-run newspapers and web sites at the gathering, which included COLlive.com, Mishpacha, Hamodia, Yated, Der Blatt, Der Yid, Chabad.org, Yeshiva World News, VIN and Kol Mevaser.
"It is historic because Satmar, Agudah and Lubavitch have joined hands to fight this."