New York – Nathan Lewin: Parental Consent For Metzitza B’Peh A Reasonable Requirement


    Lewin represented Sholom RubashkinNew York – A renowned lawyer , well known as a staunch advocate of civil rights, came out with some surprising words on the topic of metziza b’peh in a radio interview that took place this past Saturday night.

    Speaking with talk show host Zev Brenner, attorney Nathan Lewin said that he supported New York City’s decision to require signed parental consent before a mohel would be allowed to do metzitza b’peh.

    Lewin told Brenner that he declined to represent the parties that were challenging New York City on the metzitza b’peh ruling and that while he has respect for the lawyers who took the case, it was not one that he would have taken on.

    “I hope that the very fine lawyers who are representing the community that wants to be free of any restriction are able to succeed, but it seems to me that it is not unreasonable, even in the area of religious observance, for the city to require parents to sign a form that says that their eight day old baby can have this controversial procedure performed on them,” Lewin told VIN News today in an interview. “Given the allegations and history this is a reasonable requirement on the part of the city and falls within the kinds of things that are ordinarily regulated even if there is a religious duty attached.”

    Lewin agreed that having the city regulate even one component of a religious practice could potentially create a dangerous precedent if it led to further restrictions on bris milah.

    “That is the one legitimate argument that can be made against here,” observed Lewin. “But I think we can cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    Follow VosIzNeias For Breaking News Updates


      • I agree. The Mohalim know the community to which they cater. If you are doing a bris for a chassidishe family, you would be expected do MBP (which is the best way according to Kabbalah) unless they tell you NOT to do MBP. If you are doing a bris for MO or less observant you would be expected to use a tube (which is also acceptable al pi Halacha) unless they ask you to do MBP.
        Why is a signed paper necessary? Verbal consent with a witness should be sufficient.

        • What about being tested if u do MP. seems like a no brainer to me?
          Had testing been required or at least been common practise in the past, we wouldnt b in this predicament now.
          We are slowly being dagged into the 20th century.

      • The mohelim have not asked for consent and will not ask for consent. It is time a neutral party gets involved. If these children need medical it will be the government paid health care which will pay not the mohelim. It is spelled consent not concent

    1. He is 100% right, the Chasidm are making nonsense noise about this… this consent form is very reasonable, and i applaud Bloomerg, or any Mayoral candidate who supports this.

    2. Given his major success with SMR he should retire for eternity.

      It’s for arguments like these that the NSA, IRS, DOH, has the over-reaching powers it has today, it all started out with arguments like these.

      BTW, this is also why SMR is sitting in Jail, too much government power created out of a “reasonable” concern but ignoring the precedent it creates.

      • Did you read the sentencing report on SMR? He had been running an organized criminal enterprise for years; with many violations of halachah and secular law. Lewin has a difficult case and it will be hard to reverse the trial judge here.

        • SMR was found guilty of 2 things, one to do with loan application and the other with paying his cattle supplier late. No complaints were filed by the banks or the suppliers. The government just needed something to put him away after all the hoopla.

          Notice they dropped all the underage worker charges and illegal worker charges. All the other allegations in the complaint turned out to be as factual as most of what you say. Compete and utter balderdash.

          The fact that it was supposedly in some sentencing document, that was accepted by a judge whose independence was completely lacking, lends no credibility. There, apparently no requirement to include found facts in such documents, allegations are enough.

          You are apparently missing some basic jewish midos if you could possibly make such a comment.

          I am completely disgusted by you.

          • If you bothered to read the entire 52-page decision by Judge Reade, you would see that SMR lied on a loan application every single month, by submitting forged accounts receivable as security for a line of credit. This had been going on for at least 10 years at his company. The underage worker charges were entirely true, but Iowa could not prove SMR personally knew about it. Every other state has strict accountability laws regarding child labor. The immigration got put aside without prejudice–the government could always reinstate the charges if SMR ever managed to get out of jail on the loan fraud.

            Rubashkin put a lot of frum Jews out of business along the way. Let him rot.

        • SMR was the victim of a military style government raid, and an extremely unusual sentencing.

          Many restaurants in NYC run on illegal workers.
          Many construction and other businesses get away with all their illegal workers.
          Many businesses (stores, contractors, landlords and others) get away with all the under-reported cash etc.
          Many people were not accurate on their credit card/mortgage applications.

          SMR is different. WHY??
          Because he has millions of enemies!

          WHY?? Because his (biggest) company does a sick dirty inhumane thing to animals!!
          WHAT?? ………. SHECHITA…………

        • I have a great respect for Levin.
          He fought hard for the Frum community.
          He brought many many laws protecting religious freedom.

          This one comment that was uncalled for – won’t change my opinion of him.

    3. With all due respect to Mr Lewin he might or might not be right, but he’s still only an attorney NOT a posek! We in the religious community, who’s only goal and concern is to follow the authentic path of our ancestors, will continue doing what the Rabbinical Authorities will decide for us!

    4. No attack on Mr.Lewin he is one of the best lawyers.But in the courtroom is his place we don’t need any guidance from him on Halacha.

      As a respectful person that he is he should know better not to voice his opinion on delicate matters as metzitza b’peh as we see now how its a news item that “even” Nat Lewin agrees with the city. Which in reality his opinion doesn’t matter but those who seek to ban metzitza b’peh will bring his opinion as a plus.

    5. Lewin agreed that having the city regulate even one component of a religious practice could potentially create a dangerous precedent if it led to further restrictions on bris milah.

      “That is the one legitimate argument that can be made against here,” observed Lewin. “But I think we can cross that bridge when we come to it.”

      In other words, the argument against having government getting involved is “legitimate”.
      But “crossing that bridge” in the future, is something he “thinks”.

      Nu, I would call that a serious concern, and he’s not being very reassuring.

    6. for some strange reason this has become the litmus test for mayoral candidates–i have news for everyone:

      • That’s not true!

        The DOH is hand picked by the Mayor and serves as a rubber stamp for every one of his initiatives.

        All agencies are a way for politicians to circumvent the political process and in many cases even the law, it withstands much more scrutiny, when it comes from a agency. The worst part of it is, there is no legislative process to their regulation.

        It’s precisely because of statements like yours that agencies are the new venue for creating laws without going through the legislative process.

      • The real question is how they will enforce it.

        I believe that his words were taken out of context. he related to it as a legal matter, not philosophical.

        I wonder how much ground the entire law suit has. But the regulation has a huge potential for abuse, (like getting the ACS in case of a tragedy involved, based on the signature.) but you can’t have the courts act because of its potential.

    7. It makes sense to consent, but to consent to whom? To the government? Why is it their business?

      The whole idea is to “ban” MBP and regulate Brit Mila, anyone who questions that can just go ahead and watch the hearing of the DOH at that time.

      It may take 50 years for this law to fully evolve, but in the end it will evolve into fully regulating Brit Melah, in a hospital room, nurses, gloves etc etc. It may even be banned in some states as a result.

      Maybe Lewin knows a more religious USA from the 60’s.

    8. Nobody is telling you that you can’t practice religion as you see fit. They are only suggesting that if a procedure carries risk as it is believed that this does, that patents sign a release. What’s the big deal?

    9. Why can’t mohelim go for a blood test 1x a month showing them to be negative for herpes, and then present this constantly updated certificate to parents of a newborn?

      • Because the whole problem is that the parents of the newborn JUST DON’T CARE. They don’t care if the mohel is disease-free, or has every herpes virus known to man, or even HIV. They JUST DON’T CARE.

        And so the city should prohibit the act, on behalf of the poor baby who cannot decide . But instead, for some unknown reason, there is this “consent” form. A consent form transfers risk. But I am not sure who is being relieved of liability. The mohel? Why? The city?

    10. “I hope that the very fine lawyers who are representing the community that wants to be free of any restriction are able to succeed, but it seems to me that it is not unreasonable, even in the area of religious observance, for the city to require parents to sign a form that says that their eight day old baby can have this controversial procedure performed on them”

      So he wants the community to be successful in fighting the regulation or not?

    11. Lewin said what I’ve been saying all along. He says what he thinks regardless of the opinions of VIN readers. A consent form does not impinge upon freedom of religion. Several of the candidates have agreed with the present requirement. Weiner who keeps trying to remind us of how Jewish he is claims he would end the requirement.

    12. Nat is a great and accomplished attorney and that is why he has no business speaking against a stance taken by the Jewish Community. Specifically, because his words have weight he should not publicly support the opposition. Moreover, this legislation must be fought because the world is looking at NY and how it acts regarding legislation relating to Bris Milah. His public non-support is even more atrocious when one considers that countries are looking for excuses to outright ban Bris Milah and Shechita for that matter.

    13. I am sorry to say but i think all mohalim should be registered and all britot filed with name date etc.there is no palaces against it and it can only protect the model and the family. the family will know that through model is properly trained and the mohel is protected from lawsuits.

    14. The lesson we must learn from MBP is, that as our community grows BH, we have to self regulate. Otherwise we will have to deal with the gov’t. We need to have self certification for mohalim. We need to self certify our Rabbeim. We need to have certification for Shochtim. We need to certify Dayanim, and Rabbanim. We need to make sure that our own certifications are thorough and prevent molesters, and incompetent people. We need to have some unity between all factions in these regards or we will have nothing. Oseh shalom bimromav…

    15. The problem is that if you require parental consent, you are stating that there is a risk and a reasonable concern. The inevitable consequence will be that you will need the informed consent of the child. Can we agree that this would be a serious problem?

    16. Signing that form opens up a can of worms which Lewin should know.

      Insurance, consent for the MBP by the child, Using gloves and anesthetic, and then of course consent from the child for the procedure iteself.

    17. The government does have a right to minimally intrusive regulation where religious practices pose a possible health hazard, as when parents refuse to give their children transfusions. Those who think MBP poses no such hazard should stop the lawsuits and protests, which will only cause more chillul Hashem.

      Please remember that MBP is NOT required by halacha according to the Chasam Sofer, and is ussur according to some poskim today because of the risk of infection.

    18. Though i’m not a Chosid, my Rov, ZT’L was. He was my Rov because he was a true Tzaddik and a mentch. When you’d ask him a Sheailah that involved minhogim, he would answer you in accordance with your minhag, not his. Those type midos have been lost on our society, what a shame!

      The reason i’m saying this, at my son’s bris, over 20 years ago, the Rov ask me permission before doing MBP. Why is it such an outrage that parents have a say?

      While I don’t think that government should stick its nose in religious affairs, children were harmed, so the issue is beyond one of religion.

    19. Not only do i agree that we should be signing a consent for mbp, i think a mohel should have to sign a document that he was tested for herpes and any other diseases that can be transmitted orally. Nobody’s asking you to sign document for any other mitzvah, only one that has the potential to harm a child. Though the risks are soooo tiny, there’s still a risk. Maybe, just maybe, if a parent knew that they would be even a drop liable if their child chas vsholom gets sick because of mbp they would be more cautious about the procedure and who’s performing it.

    20. Isn’t that the governments job?
      To regulate possible dangerous procedures.
      What is the governments motivation? It’s to protect people from disease
      Why all the hysterics?
      What’s the big deal about signing a consent form?
      There are thousands of regulations that have never led to any “slippery slopes”.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here