A circumcision tradition in the Ultra-Orthodox community is back in the spotlight after two babies contracted neonatal herpes, and Mayor de Blasio is doing nothing to stop it.
On July 22, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealed that two new cases of neonatal herpes had been diagnosed during July. One baby was found at 16 days old to have “pustular lesions on the penis and genital area,” and a 17-day-old was found to have “lesions on his penis, left foot, and left thigh.”
Based on the timing and the locations of the lesions, the male infants had contracted the herpes simplex virus during their Jewish circumcision custom, a bris, which occurs on the eighth day of life. Circumcisions are a standard—even beneficial—health practice. But each of these boys underwent a bris that followed an ancient ritual not widely practiced outside the ultra-Orthodox community.