Bloodsucking Rabbis Vow to Defy The Law

scared babyBriefly but vividly imagine this:  At your request, a trusted member of your religion removes the foreskin of your newborn son and then … dips his head down and PLACES HIS MOUTH onto the open wound. You really have to hope there are no communicable diseases on his lips or floating around in his saliva, because there would be no better time to pass them along.

According to the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, it happens.

At least 11 New York infants are thought to have contracted herpes from the practice, two of whom died and two of whom have irreversible brain damage …

But to the rabbis performing it, the procedure is absolutely safe.

The NYC Dept. of Health disagrees just enough that it has scheduled a vote in coming weeks on a measure that will do nothing to stop the practice, but only require parental consent.

The Department of Health argues parents should be informed of the risks before making a decision. Since 2004, it has received “multiple complaints from parents who were not aware that direct oral suction was going to be performed as part of their sons’ circumcisions,” according to a public notice. The law would require mohels to explain the oral suction procedure and its risks, including the possible transmission of herpes simplex virus, and have parents sign a waiver.

Cue the outrage. Oh noes, you’re destroying our freedom of religion! New York rabbis say they will refuse to tell parents about the risks.

Whatever you think of the practice — I think it’s barbaric, and more than a little disgusting — you kinda have to gasp at the arrogance of men who feel they have the right to deny parents information that would help them make decisions about their kids’ health.

If an ice cream manufacturer refused to put peanuts on the ingredients list, so that parents of peanut-allergic children could make an informed decision about buying the ice cream, they’d be out of business in about two weeks.

But because this is religion, it’s somehow different.

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  • Ace of Sevens

    OK. That manages to be way more disturbing than the hospital circumcisions protestants get.

  • Risa Scranton

    I was raised Jewish and never, EVER, did I hear of a rabbi performing this particular ritual! Circumcision, yes, but with sterile gloves and clean gauze and absolutely NO mouth contact! What the hell IS this?!?

  • Gregory in Seattle

    @Risa #2 – It is called metzitzah b’peh, and it is practiced mainly by the ultraorthodox. More than two hundred years ago, before germ theory and modern notions of sanitation, it actually serve a purpose, mainly as a way of cleaning the mutilation in an era when polluted water and dirty cloths were far more of an infection risk. Also, blood is considered unclean, so any cloths that became bloody would have to be destroyed properly.

    Of course it is utterly pointless today. But no one has ever accused the ultraorthodox of living in the second millennium, either.

    • Corvus illustris

      Blood is not merely unclean, but it is not to be consumed–hence the elaborate blood-removal processes for meat conforming to kashruth. But mohelim are obviously ingesting human blood when they use this technique! The reasoning behind permitting it, let alone mandating it, would make interesting reading.

      • No Light

        The problem is that there is no reason behind it. They’re purely saying “We’re doing it because it’s always been done [lies] and if you don’t on it then you clearly don’t believe in TMS*, which makes you no better than the evil goyim who are trying to destroy us”.

        MBP is a minhag (a custom practiced by certain sects), it is not halakha (Jewish law). However, even laws can be dropped if they’re proven to endanger life. However, this is all part of a bigger problem.

        Haredism (ultra-orthodox Judaism) is moving further and further toward the right. Customs such as wearing the clothing of 18th century polish nobility, women always wearing long skirts and covering their heads etc. are really relatively new, as in, from the 80s. But with haredim what is, is what always has been, so pictures from the past are Photoshopped to show people observing current customs. Children’s ;history” books show biblical Jews dressed in black and white, with tichels (headscarves) on the women, and shtreimels (the big furry hats) on the men. They can say to the kids “See Shmuely, it’s been like that since the time of Moses”.

        It’s about control. Prior to the internet it was easy to control what people inside the cult (and it is a cult) had access to. If you look visibly, hugely different from everyone else, then going into a regular book store or a cinema is too risky, you’d be seen and informed on. You were born in the cult, you died in it.

        But the internet, magic pocket-sized gateway to the world, has caused a massive crisis in Haredism.

        People are finding out they’ve been lied to. Goyim aren’t vilde chayes (wild animals) without souls. Black people aren’t talking monkeys (no, I’m not joking about this) who want to rape women and beat men to death. The world is more than 5772 years old, people have been to space, dogs are friendly and kind, music is fun, secular people aren’t having sex and taking drugs 24/7. Stepping on toenail clippings does not cause miscarriage, going to the zoo will not make your unborn baby deformed, men can see an ankle and not rape you, and sex is supposed to be good.

        People are fleeing in droves, and even birthrates of 10-15 children per family can’t replace them. Convincing less observant Jews to become Baalei Teshuvim (who’ve sought forgiveness) can’t make up the numbers.

        In addition to that, the internet is exposing the huge problems in Haredi enclaves, the child abuse, welfare fraud, sexual harassment, embezzlement of taxpayers money, theft, slum landlords ripping off their tenants and the government simultaneously etc.

        So the rebbeim (big shot controlling rabbis of each sect) are clamping down. No internet, no television, no smartphones, no secular media of any sort, stricter dress and behaviour codes, stricter kashrut (dietary laws). Disobey and your children will be thrown out of school, your business will be blacklisted, your children will never get shidduchim (matched for arranged marriage), and Moshiach (the messiah) will not return.

        Then there’s the added warnings that the Goyim are evil, their wicked secular authorities want to ban Judaism, look how they’re already interfering with Brit milah! They aim to destroy us all, another holocaust.

        So they scare people into staying observant, stop them discovering the world outside their shtetl (village), stop them finding out that there’s nothing inherently special about Jews, or inferior or dangerous about non-Jews, to scare them out of reporting rape and sexual abuse to the secular authorities, to stop them hearing about the criminal acts committed by other haredim, to bolster the notion that they are better than Goyim. Your basic fear and isolation tactic.

        Sorry this got long, but it’s hard to explain simply. is a great site if you want to see real views on MBP and other issues in Haredism.

        *TMS – Torah mi Sinai. The foundation of all Judaism, that the Torah was given, perfect and infallible, to Moses on Mount Sinai, in front of millions of witnesses.

        • Corvus illustris

          There may be no reason behind it (in the sense of rationality), which is what you address. But there is probably reasoning, unless these are people incapable of the marvelous theological arguments (sometimes, not always accurately, called Talmudic) which even goyim can admire. If the ultra-Orthodox backpedal on this, I would expect “endangerment of the life of a Jewish child” to be invoked, but I am curious to know the principles underlying their present position.

          The other things you describe are common human failings, found among RCs, Hindus … the list is pretty long.

          • No Light

            I’ll expand on the reasons for doing it that I gave below.

            Metzitzah (suction) was to be used to draw the blood away from the wound, to prevent infection from “stagnant blood”. Then cumin was to be applied to the edges of the wound to act as an antiseptic.

            Nowhere is Metzitzah b’peh (by mouth) mentioned. By ‘suction’ it was basically meant to take away the blood with a dry object, like a sponge or a piece of cloth.

            MBP is thought to have kabalistic origins.

            And, as I said above, the reasoning for not stopping it is “As it has been, so will it be”. That’s it, there’s no grand mystery behind it at all, just “No baby has become ill or died, the Goyim are lying, halakha is infallible”.

            They don’t care about pikuach nefesh, safeguarding life. Are you so condescending as to believe that nobody has thought of that?

            They care about power, control, and money. If they cared about safeguarding life then they’d put a stop to the catastrophic levels of child rape, of forcing women to remain constantly pregnant, of encouraging consanguinous breeding from a tiny, damaged gene pool.

            They don’t care.

            As. to your claim that “every religion is the same”, show me anywhere except the FLDS where welfare fraud is a way of life. Show me which other religious women have to submit their blood-stained underwear for inspection. Tell me which religions consider a three year old girl not covered from head to toe to be sexually provocative, and not able to ever be around men, covered or not. I know of no other religion that keeps males and females totally separate until they’re under the chuppah (actually, many couples now get married with a modesty divider between them), and kept so ignorant of their bodies and of sex, that on being told of their wedding night duties (immediately before the wedding) they scream, or vomit, and often faint.

            I know deobandi and wahabi Muslims who are appalled by the notion that women are impure for more than half of every month, so impure that they may not pass you the baby, or hand over your food.

            I know Afghan women who laugh at the idea of a woman’s voice being impure, or the notion of blacking out the faces of anything female, anywhere.

            People have no idea of the sheer insanity of Haredism. No concept of the police handing child molesters over to rabbis, rather than locking them up.

            They’ve got the whole world fooled into thinking they’re humble, simple people, when instead they’ll burn your house down with your family in it, for daring to pray in the wrong place. They’ll stone your eight year old daughter and call her a whore because her ankles are showing, and they’re people who emotionally and educationally cripple their children so that they can never ever leave. Do you have any idea of how many English and American Haredi kids who cannot speak a word of English? Even madrasa kids can do that.

        • Anat

          Some of the customs were around before the eighties, at least in eastern Europe and in Israel, but yes, they are getting more extremist in recent decades. Orthodox Jews blame intermarriage and secularism for the stagnant numbers of Jews, but a while back I saw a breakdown of demographics by level of observance from one generation to the next, and it seems that in the US the Haredim are replenishing the numbers of the less observant forms of Judaism – their children become modern Orthodox or Conservative, the children of modern Orthodox become Conservative and Reform etc.

          There was a time when pikuah nefesh did matter for milah. Way back they exempted from milah boys whose brother or other close (maternal) relative died from bleeding – (X-linked hemophilia). Why wouldn’t they apply it here? Do they believe they are living in days of shemad, when one is required to perform even the smallest mitzva even on pain of death?

    • anne mariehovgaard

      “More than two hundred years ago, before germ theory and modern notions of sanitation, it actually serve a purpose, mainly as a way of cleaning the mutilation in an era when polluted water and dirty cloths were far more of an infection risk. ”

      I sincerely doubt this. People may have mistakenly thought this was the case, but really, just letting it bleed for a bit and then letting the wound close without covering/attempting to clean it would be much better.

  • ibbica

    You know, I’d heard about this before, and I *still* misread your title as “bloodsucking rabbiTs”, like a carnivorous Bunnicula or an undead resident of Caerbannog…

    I think my brain’s desperately trying to make it into a less horrifying story :/

  • JJP

    Let’s see, when Catholic priests suck dicks all hell breaks loose. But call it “religious ceremony” and it’s okey dokey. Any day, I expect the Holy See to declare kid-diddling an official sacrament. Bingo, instant immunity.

  • One Way Monkey

    The rank and file are whipped into a total frenzy over it, claiming. that NY is trying to ban brit milah altogether.

    They’ve been convinced, a la 1984, that milah has always been performed that way. In fact, Metzitzah is just suction, and can be done with a sponge. The b’peh, “by mouth” has never been mandated.

    Mohelim were originally mandated to apply cumin to the wound to curtail infection, and yet, nobody does. So it’s clear that they’ll happily modify rituals if it suits them.

  • Tracey

    The heartbreaking thing is that circumcision isn’t even necessary. These misguided parents are placing their children’s very lives at stake…for something completely stupid.

  • baal

    They kill the kid by giving them herpes infections on occasion. Rare but still a tragedy that need not ever happen.

  • naturalcynic

    Do the rabbits do the sucking right after consuming nightsoil? Eeewww

  • Corvus illustris

    This is a reply to No Light @ above. Apparently the depth of reply-nesting is limited.

    They don’t care about pikuach nefesh, safeguarding life. Are you so condescending as to believe that nobody has thought of that?

    Please do not attribute to me statements that I did not make and condescension that I do not feel and did not express. My statement was that if backpedaling on objection to offering a consent form were to take place, then safeguarding life would be high among the principles invoked to justify the change of position. That is the antithesis of believing that nobody thought about it.

    As to your claim that “every religion is the same” …

    Describing behaviors as common to humanity is not equivalent to “every religion is the same,” a claim I did not make.

    People have no idea of the sheer insanity of Haredism. No concept of the police handing child molesters over to rabbis, rather than locking them up.

    And you think that RC cops have not brought RC clergy to their bishops instead of to the pokey?

    • No Light

      Cops? Oh wow, if only. First, Haredi cops? Not a thing. One or two ‘legacy’ cops who weren’t observant Jews and then became BTs, but no real-deal Haredi cops in the US.

      OK, so this is the actual situation in New York, for example – men are being arrested for raping children. Victims have broken every rule in the book by going to the secular authorities, rather than their rabbi.

      Their are witness statements, physical evidence, and a confession, so a closed trial takes place. The DAs office agrees to not include the man’s name on the sex offenders’ register, not to run any press articles, and for the perp to do no time.

      With me so far?

      The records are then sealed, and the man is released back into the community on the condition that he does teshuva/repentance.

      The victim and their family are shunned from the community, often violently attacked, for the crimes of mesira (informing on a fellow Jew) and creating a chillul Hashem and a shanda fur di Goyim, so an embarrassment to god, and causing shame seen by non-Jews.

      The perp is then free to go about his rapey business. Any other victims will never speak up, and as he technically has no criminal record, he can run a camp for kids, be a tutor, or whatever he wants.

      Future victims are told “Take it to your rabbi”, who then says “Don’t be silly, he’s a good man and keeps shabbes. Do you have two adult male witnesses?”, and on it goes.

      There’s an additional problem too, Haredi kids do not even know the names of their body parts. Anything below the waist is a leg. If outside help is sought, and a therapist or trained officer tries to get little Yankele to say what’s happened, and he says “He put his leg against me”, it’s pretty much a lost cause. They can’t say “Do you mean his penis?” as that would be asking leading questions. They can’t train the kid the names for his body parts, that’s coaching.

      These children are sitting targets, especially boys. They know nothing at all of sex or adult relationships*. They’re taught that frum (observant) men are good, and Goyim (to haredim this covers virtually everyone else) are bad. Predators can essentially do what they want, with virtually no chance of exposure, because their victims have no idea what’s happening to them.

      *A friend was a substitute teacher at a Haredi school for boys. He was modern orthodox, but raised as a conservative Jew.

      One day he was late for class, he said to the boys (aged 14) “Sorry, my wife’s pregnant, and as I drove her to work she was sick, so we had to go home and get changed.

      The boys asked what pregnant meant, so he did the bump-mime, and said! “You know, to have a baby, like your manmes. They all started whispering furiously in Yiddish.

      The next day he was called to the principal’s office, told of a storm of outraged complaints, and sacked for “corrupting children via immorality”. For mentioning pregnancy to boys who have up to twenty siblings.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

    This is ridiculous. You claim outrage over this very rare occurrence, which can be prevented without impinging on religious freedom.

    Yet you care nothing for babies murdered via abortion, or even if they manage to get born and are then left to die by the abortionist.

    You are just a disgusting hypocrite.

    • Anonymouse

      There are no babies killed in abortion. When 99% of all abortions are done, there is an undifferentiated clump of cells.

      Tell me, do you “murder” trees when you eat walnuts? “Murder” oaks when you rake up acorns?

      • Soli Deo Gloria

        So do you think it is right to kill someone in their sleep? What is the difference between a baby near to term (or even born) and someone in a coma who might awake?

        The important point is the potential. A newly born baby who narrowly managed to escape being aborted (there are cases) is not the same as a walnut. The walnut will never be conscious. The baby or the sleeper or coma victim is human in the sense that they have the potential to be conscious. If you support abortion because you suspect the baby is not conscious, you should also support legalizing murder if the victim is asleep.

        • Tracey

          You are clearly drinking the delusion-flavored kool-aid. 99% of abortions are done in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, WHEN THERE IS NO “BAYBEEEE” for your to get hysterical about. There is nothing but an unformed, INSENSATE collection of cells. The rest of abortions are only done to save the life or health of the mother, or if the fetus is so profoundly damaged that it has no chance of surviving. Please, educate yourself. The facts are out there, and if you try really, really hard, you can overcome your brainwashing and learn the truth.

    • Hank Fox

      Uh … what?

      First, I don’t just “claim” outrage, I AM pretty outraged. This “rare occurrence,” if you’re the family of the kid who dies or is permanently brain-damaged, probably doesn’t seem so dismissively rare.

      Besides which, the idea that it “can be prevented without impinging on religious freedom,” I’m not sure how that would be accomplished, if the people claiming religious freedom are the very ones performing the sometimes-deadly ritual.

      And that business about “you care nothing for babies murdered via abortion” — where are you getting this stuff?

      That visual image you tossed into it, “even if they manage to get born and then are left to die by the abortionist,” that sounds like something right out of a Christian horror film — so frantically dire it self-parodies and becomes comedic.

      Heh. Reminds me of Mrs. Chuck Norris warning us that Americans face “a thousand years of darkness” if Obama gets re-elected. Impossible to take seriously.

      • Ace of Sevens

        It’s more liek four years of darkness… In official White House photos.

      • Corvus illustris

        At the risk of being flamed (or ban-hammered) for trying to be eirenic, I feel that it would help to recall No Light‘s first reply at 3.1.something above:

        … MBP [= oral blood removal] is a minhag (a custom practiced by certain sects), it is not halakha (Jewish law). However, even laws can be dropped if they’re proven to endanger life …

        There is enough wiggle room in here to allow dropping the custom (MBP–not circumcision) without offending the first amendment. In any event, the NY dispute seems only to involve the use of a consent form for MBP; it can still be practiced, parents consenting. Um … if Soli Deo Gloria comes from a tradition using Latin for theological dispute, s/he will recognize parallel cases of using wiggle room in that tradition.

      • Soli Deo Gloria

        @hank, Jews have been so persecuted throughout the centuries. Often because of anti-semitic twisting of scripture.

        Now, even though you have no scripture as an excuse, you want to continue with the anti-semitic sentiments.

        If you prevent people from acting according to their conscience, do you think they will thank you? No. You will merely have made them go through a procedure they could have gotten done with had you not interfered.

        I haven’t seen any percentages yet of how this harms people.

        Secularism indoctrinates kids into self destructive behaviors. How many non-ultra orthodox have died due to STDs vs how many of these ultra orthodox have died?

        You see how hypocritical all this is? If you were really concerned with the welfare of young people, you would be SUPPORTING religious conservatism, not ATTACKING it.

        And this “no light” idiot making these attacks on Jews without providing a single bit of documentation on what he is talking about. I’m not a Jew, but to go on accusing them of welfare fraud when they contribute more to welfare by their charity and taxes than any of us… Just disgusting. This is just pure anti-semitism.

        • No Light

          You’re so ignorant, you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

          Haredi men don’t work. Some Hassidim do (mostly Lubavitch), but Haredi sects like Satmar, Skver and Gur have virtually no working men. They are “kollel learners”, they sit around all day talking about Torah and drinking coffee.

          Here’s how it works – boy’s schools don’t teach secular subjects like English or maths. Just Torah.

          -girls are taught English, maths, some Torah. In their schools they are raised to be wives and mothers, and also told they must marry a boy who is in kollel. Working men are looked down on.

          So tell me, catholic troll, how does a couple feed, clothe, and house up to twenty children if men don’t work and the women are permanently pregnant?

          Here’s how-

          Arranged marriage at 18. Only a religious wedding, not the corresponding civil (legal) wedding. The couple move in with his parents. Welfare paperwork is filled in by a macher, usually one licensed by the state to act as a welfare agent in that community.

          Pregnancy occurs, the “single” mother’s pre-filled claim forms for food stamps, TANF and Section 8 are submitted.

          In exclusively Haredi enclaves like New Square and Kiryat Yoel, where the sexes are separated until they marry, up to 70% of children are born to “single mothers”. Mothers who work, carry and raise children, and look after their houses, while the men do nothing.

          You know how they get away with it? They know the goyishe authorities are too scared to be called anti-Semites. It’s the same reason the disgusting practice of MBP isn’t banned.

          Catholic troll you are a shoteh. Gey kak’n afn yam. They only reason your type has cosied up to Jewish people is because your messianic fairy tales require their return to Israel. So you know what tim absolutely hilarious thing is? These sick sects you’re defending, who kill and maim babies through MBP, who are producing thousands of 21st century American children who cannot speak English, or perform sums, or find work due to being. intellectually crippled. These Haredi sects… oh it’s almost too beautiful and ironic… wait for it..


          They’re anti-Zionists. Full-on flag burning, Hamas-supporting, destroyers of your messianic dream. They’re not going back to Israel, because to them, it does not exist, and the current Israel is a blasphemous hoax, as Israel cannot be built until Moshiach comes.

          Such a shame then, that their messianic hogwash cancels your messianic nonsense out, by being diametrically opposed. Di tipishe kuneh lem’l.

          • Tracey

            Solis is using the right-wing attack mode of calling anyone “anti-Israel” who dares to point out that some things are actually harmful, like *killing Jewish babies by infecting them with diseases* in a procedure that’s not even necessary, *according to Jewish law*.

            Solis is used to weak-minded people quailing in fear of being labelled anti-Semitic, not aware that the regular readers of this blog are strong and informed.

        • No Light

          btw – I’m not a man. Is there anything you can get right?

          • Tracey

            Solis is apparently the perfect model of a religious right-wingnut. Uneducated, uninterested in education, and frothing-at-the-mouth vicious toward anyone who would provide knowledge.

    • Anonymouse

      What typical anti-choice thinking: obsess over 64-cell blastocysts, shrug at actual babies who are being harmed and even killed.

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