NYC Distributes Anti-MBP Brochure to New Mothers

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created a new brochure on the supposed dangers of the practice of Metzitzah B’peh (MBP), which it will distribute to new Jewish mothers in hospitals throughout the city, in a bid to discourage them from having the ritual performed on their newborn sons.

The brochure was printed in both English and Yiddish.

The DOHMH sent the following message to healthcare workers in New York City, encouraging them to distribute the included flyers to Jewish mothers-to-be:

Dear Colleague:

The New York City Health Department is working to educate parents about the risks of a ritual Jewish circumcision (bris) practice known as metzitzah b’peh, in which the circumciser uses his mouth to suck blood away from the wound on the infant’s penis. In 2014, metzitzah b’peh was linked to at least four cases of neonatal herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections among New York City infants. Herpes infection in infants can lead to serious illness, even death.

Parents who choose ritual circumcision for their son may not be aware that direct orogenital suction may be performed or may not be aware of its potential risks.

Please distribute the Health Department’s pamphlet “Make a Safe Bris for Your Baby,” to expectant parents and/or new parents who visit your facility. You can obtain additional copies in English or Yiddish by calling 311. For electronic copies, please visit the Publications Database at

 If you have questions, or to report a potential case of neonatal HSV-1, please contact the Health Department’s Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641.


Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH

Click on images below to enlarge. Click the following links for PDF versions of the flyer in English and Yiddish.

before-the-bris-brochure-page-001 before-the-bris-brochure-page-002 before-the-bris-brochure-yi-page-001 before-the-bris-brochure-yi-page-002


  • 2. DeClasse' Intellectual wrote:

    Another case of the left wing liberals and politically correct individuals who want to foster what they think is the only right way to do things upon the public. Take the brochure, write on it “unsolicitated trash–return to sender priority postage due” Then drop it in the mail box; maybe they will get the message

    • 3. Milhouse wrote:

      Hey, the city has the right to express its view. This brochure does so in a very calm and rational way, it doesn’t use any of the hysterical language we often see from people with that point of view, and it doesn’t give any opinion on the religious aspect.

      It’s not foisting (I assume that was the world you wanted) anything on anyone. It simply lays out the facts as the city sees them, and anyone can discuss them with an expert (such as most mohalim) and hear the other side: the doubts about the facts, the statistical insigficance of the risk even on the city’s facts, and most importantly the extreme religious importance of doing the mitzvah properly.

  • 4. Thank Hashem wrote:

    This practice is extremely dangerous. MBP should have been banned by Rabbis and secular doctors long ago.

    • 5. Dangerous wrote:

      The only dangerous practice is the government’s unconstitutional conduct, getting involved in a religious matter where the government doesn’t belong.

    • 6. In Favor of MBP wrote:

      Strange you didn’t die from MBP. Neither did your father, grandfather, brother or son.
      It’s just one more antisemitic attack.

    • 8. Milhouse wrote:

      To “Thank Hashem”: Even on the city’s disputed statistics the practise is not extremely dangerous, it’s barely dangerous at all. It’s an integral part of the mitzvah of milah, so rabbis do not have the power to ban it. Secular doctors, of course, have no power to ban anything.

      To “Dangerous”: There’s nothing unconstitutional about the city expressing its opinion. Public health is a legitimate function of city government, and it is the city’s job to educate the public with the sober facts as it sees them. What was unconstitutional was the attempt to force mohalim to convey this information to parents; boruch hashem that decree has now been rescinded.

  • 9. Unconstitutional wrote:

    It’s an unconstrained attack on religion for the city to single out Jewish mothers for a pamphlet.

    • 11. Milhouse wrote:

      No, it isn’t, any more than it’s unconstitutional to single out black people for a pamphlet about sickle cell, or to educate Chinese people about not throwing live turtles into the East River.

  • 12. If doctors say it's not safe wrote:

    It should be illegal everwhere! If they knew it was dangerous then the rabbis would have stopped it as well. We are not Taliban we are smarter then that!

    • 13. Milhouse wrote:

      1. Doctors are not dictators. We do not have to obey them.

      2. Milah itself has always been dangerous, and for 3726 years we have accepted that risk. If the Torah says to do something dangerous, we do it without any question; only when the Torah itself says to give the doctors a say may we do so.

      3. In the matter putting Hashem above all other considerations we have a lot to learn from the Taliban; האומר לאביו ולאמו לא ראיתיו, ואת אחיו לא הכיר, ואת בניו לא ידע.

  • 14. #4 You hit the nail on the head wrote:

    this is both discrimination and open anti semitism

    • 16. Milhouse wrote:

      Um, where have you been for the past 30 years? How can you not have noticed the city’s extensive effort to educate everyone about AIDS, both on how to avoid the risk and on what to do if it’s ch”v too late for that?

  • 18. Dina Dimalchusa Dina wrote:

    I don’t get it. The Mishna, Gemarah, Rambam, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, and Alter Rebbe, all rule that a baby born at 8 month is muktzah and may not be moved since it will surely die, but a 7 month baby will live and therefore may be handled. No one today follows this ruling since we all know that due to modern medicine even a 4 month baby can live, so surely an 8 month baby will live, too. This being the case, in light of modern medicines insistence that MBP is dangerous, why should it have to be done? On the contrary, just like we don’t follow the Shulchan Aruch’s ruling regarding an 8 month baby, so too should we not be practicing MBP anymore???

    • 19. Ezra wrote:

      Whatever (supposed) risks there are with MBP would have existed back in the times of the Gemara as well. Whereas back then there was simply no way to save a premature baby’s life, and now there is. That’s one difference.

      (And by the way, no, “modern medicine” does not insist that MBP is dangerous; it’s just some malcontent “activists” who do so.)

    • 21. Milhouse wrote:

      Because it’s not a medical question, it’s a mitzvah, so even if the risk were significant (which it isn’t) we would still have to do it.

  • 22. What's next? wrote:

    I wonder what attack will be next on our religious freedom first MBP then Kaporos what next?

  • 23. Aussie wrote:

    How many thousands of boys in NYC or NYS are circumcised every year using MBP and only 4 in the Last few years R’L fell ill? That’s a minute amount!

  • 24. א צובראכענע צונג wrote:

    The Yiddish translation used in the brochure is produced by someone illiterate. It looks like they used Google Translate to translate word by word from English.

    • 25. Milhouse wrote:

      I actually found the translation to be surprisingly good. What part doesn’t ring true to you?


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