Parents Need To Be Informed Of Risks Of Practitioners Sucking Blood From Circumcised Baby Penises

By  | 

*Some Orthodox Jews suck the blood from the wounds of circumcised baby penises. Today is one of those days were I feel totally more educated and totally more freaked out. I’m not of the Jewish faith, so I was unaware this was a thing until Gawker taught me this was a thing and well, here, you guys:

Call me crazy, but I don’t think it should be legal for adults to suck the blood from freshly circumcised baby penises. Alas, doing just that is a very important ritual for some Orthodox Jews. Called metzitzah b’peh, the process involves the mohel snipping away the foreskin and then sucking the blood from the penis to “cleanse” the wound.

I have never attended a bris before so I was totally clueless to the metzitzah b’peh before.. just now.

ABC news goes on to explain:

About two-thirds of boys born in New York City’s Hasidic communities are circumcised in the oral suction manner, according to Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Orthodox Jewish organization Agudath Israel of America.

The health department has said there is no safe way to perform oral suction on an open wound in an infant.

But some rabbis have said that they will oppose the law on religious grounds, insisting it has been performed “tens of thousands of times a year” worldwide. They say safeguarding the life of a child is one of the religion’s highest principles.

“This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child,” Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the Hasidic United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, “If, God forbid, there was a danger, we would be the first to stop the practice.”

But Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, told during the investigation of one of the deaths last spring, “It’s certainly not something any of us recommend in the modern infection-control era.”

“This is a ritual [of oral suction] … that’s come down through the ages, and now it has met modern science,” he said. “It was never a good idea, and there is a better way to do this.”

It was never a good idea, yeah.

The law will require mohels who perform oral suction in circumcisions to explain the risks to parents prior to the procedure, including the possible transmission of herpes simplex virus, and have parents sign a waiver.

I think it’s a good idea that parents are informed that during this ritual their newborn sons could contract diseases such as Type 1 Herpes which can be deadly in newborns. The American Academy Of Pediatrics states that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks and I can understand why this is a personal family decision that should be made by parents in conjunction with their own beliefs , and I’m not being closed minded here but.. seriously! Sucking blood from a baby penis WHAT?! In this modern day where we have things like sterilized medical equipment and medicine do we really need men to cleanse the wounds of baby penises following a circumcision by sucking the blood from the wound? Oy.

*edited to add the word “some”

(Photo: Yehuda Boltshauser/Shutterstock)