A two-week old infant died last fall in a Brooklyn hospital from herpes contracted from a religious circumcision. According to the Daily News, the unidentified infant died last September at Maimonides Hospital—the cause of death was listed as “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction.” The case sounds eerily similar to that of Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, a Rockland County mohel who was found to have given three babies herpes through the ritual.
Fisher specialized in the ultra-Orthodox ritual known as metzizah b’ peh, in which a rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound with his mouth. One of those three babies infected with herpes by Fisher died, and the city Health Department filed a restraining order stopping Fisher from performing the procedure. But the city ultimately caved and handed the matter over onto a Jewish religious court.
Last year, a Queens toddler who went into Beth Israel Hospital for a routine circumcision died after he was given a general anesthetic instead of a local one. There has also been an active intactivist movement working in San Francisco, who believe in the right of baby boys to keep their foreskins intact. The last we heard of them, their reach may have exceeded their grasp: the group was roundly criticized for a series of online comic books featuring "Foreskin Man" fighting the "Monster Mohel," which many called anti-Semitic.