The potential ban on large sugary drinks isn't the only controversial vote that the Board of Health is set to make this week. It is also expected to come up with a final solution regarding snip-n-suck circumcision permission slips. Because, yes, some rabbis really don't want to mention that they might give your baby boy herpes when they chop off his foreskin and suck the blood away.
Quick recap! Amongst certain sects of the Jewish community there is a ritual called 'metzitzah b'peh' in which a mohel sucks the blood off the just snipped foreskin. It is not necessarily required by Jewish tradition, but a number of mohels—and some politicians—believe firmly in the practice and are appalled that the city of New York might ask parents to sign a form acknowledging that there are health risks to the ritual. What kind of health risks? Well, how infant boys being infected—and in at least two cases—dying from herpes? Those kinds.
Still, though more than 200 rabbis have come out publicly against the permission slip, not all of them are. Not a bit. For example, the Rabbinical Assembly's president and vice president put out a statement today praising the Board of Health's move: "This practice, which is not required by Jewish law, and emanates from older practices designed to prevent illnesses that precede current medical knowledge about disease, presents a serious health risk to babies and is inconsistent with the Jewish tradition’s preeminent concern with human life and health," said president Gerald Skolnik. "There have been tragic incidents of babies becoming ill as a result of this practice, and we encourage the Board of Health to require parental consent."
And let's be clear. Nobody in the city government is calling for an end to male circumcision (though intactivisits do exist, they even have comic books!). Nobody is even calling for an end to the 'metzitzah b'peh' ritual. They're just calling to make sure that parents of young infants know exactly what they are signing up for. Which seems reasonable.