Last month, the Board of Health unanimously approved a circumcision consent form that requires parents to sign a waiver before their infant can undergo the "metzitzah b’peh" ritual, the circumcision practice in which a mohel sucks the blood from a just snipped foreskin. Some Orthodox rabbis were unsurprisingly enraged at what they viewed as the city restricting their first amendment rights. And a NY judge agreed: they’ve been granted a temporary stay of enforcement stopping the regulation regarding the circumcisions. So you don't have to worry about the government forcing you to consent to having your child's penis lightly nipped and sucked upon by a possibly herpes-infected mohel...for now.

The DOH will require that parents sign a consent form that informs them that the procedure could expose their infant “to risk of transmission of herpes simplex virus infection or other infectious diseases.” The regulation was originally set to begin Oct. 21, but it's been held off until Nov. 14, which is the date of the next hearing in the case.

This latest legal move comes less than a month after a lawsuit was filed against the city by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, Agudath Israel of America, International Bris Association and three rabbis, all of whom claims the city lacks “any definitive proof” that metzitzah b’peh “poses health risks of any kind, and in the face of the millennia-long track record of safety, the regulation would require mohelim to transmit the Department’s subjective opinion that MDP ‘should not be performed.’” We assume the fact that the CDC found a total of 11 baby Jewish boys in NYC were infected with herpes in the last decade doesn't count as proof at all.

In addition, Failed Messiah points out that the lawsuit relies on the lone opinion of one Orthodox infectious disease doctor, Daniel Berman, and on the statistical calculations of Berman's father. Most health experts, and many rabbis, agree that the ritual needs to be more closely monitored: "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," Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, president of the Manhattan-based Rabbinical Assembly, said in a statement.

But metzitzah b’peh activists such as Rabbi Kalikstein, one of the rabbis protesting outside the DOH when the circumcision ruling was made last month, refuse to listen to criticism: "They said they were infected, right? Now compare that to any other kind of risk, I'd say probably crossing the street is much more dangerous, more people die in car accidents than this. This is not even a statistic, it's so minute." However, despite this temporary setback, it seems that NYC's fight to make the practice safer is starting to influence the rest of the country.