The New York City Board of Health voted Thursday to approve a regulation that bans the practice of oral suction of a baby boy’s wound during a brit milah unless his parents submit a written consent form allowing the mohel to do so.
The ritual—called metzitzah b’peh—is only common in haredi Jewish communities, and has been linked to some cases of oral herpes. Agudath Israel of America is looking to sue New York because it believes the city’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution, The Jewish Week reported.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a vocal opponent of metzizah b’peh. State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, however, issued a statement criticizing the policing of religious rites that the mayor objects to. Hikind said the new regulation “thrusts the city deeper into a nanny-ocracy that has dubious implications.”
“This is a deliberate insult to the intelligence and dignity of Orthodox Jews who live in this city,” the assemblyman said.
New York’s decision comes after a German court (in Cologne) ruled in June that circumcision should be considered illegal. In August, prosecutors were petitioned to bring charges against a rabbi in Bavaria, Germany, for performing brit milah.