By COLlive reporter
Photo Credit: JDN
Mohalim from across the greater New York area gathered at the Ateres Golda Ballroom in Boro Park this past Sunday to discuss lessons learned from the legal challenge to their centuries-old tradition.
The seminar organized by the Vaad Mishmeres Habris brought together representatives of Chabad, Satmar and Aguda who are plaintiffs in a legal action that successfully rescinded former mayor
Present from Crown Heights were mohalim Rabbi Eliyahu Shain, Rabbi Levi Heber and Rabbi Yisroel Heller.
Yerachmiel Simins, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, addressed the Mohalim and emphasized the importance to implement best practices of Metzitza B’peh when handling a newborn.
Simins discussed the best practices of infant care are for Mohalim, parents and caregivers. He also made it clear that “to date there has not been even one case of neonatal Herpes linked to a Mohel performing Metzitza B’peh.”
The Rockland County Health Department, in close cooperation with the Orthodox Jewish community, has recently studied 3 cases of neonatal Herpes with lesions in the bris area. DNA analysis was used to determine if there was any link between the Mohel and the infected baby.
In two cases, it was definitively determined that there was no link between the Mohel and the baby. The third case was inconclusive.
From the Rockland County study, it is clear that there is a transmission of Herpes to the Bris area in ways other than through the Mohel performing Metzitza B’peh, he said.
Simins noted that “it is imperative that measures be instituted to prevent all cases of Herpes transmission to babies, whether by the Mohel, parents or caregivers.” He added “our goal is to prevent all transition so not even one child would become infected.”
Dr. Daniel Berman an infectious disease specialist was on hand to answer questions on the herpes virus and offered steps to help minimize the risk of transition.
Rabbi Levi Heber, who heads the International Bris Association and is a plaintiff organization, was nominated to be part of an Ichud Hamohalim committee to help formulate some of the best practices for Mohalim.