News

Pennsylvania rabbi sued for inflicting a ‘catastrophic’ injury to an 8-day-old boy whom he’d circumcised

A “CATASTROPHIC and life-changing injury” was suffered by a Pennsylvanian infant as a result of a botched circumcision by a rabbi who us now being sued by the boy’s parents.

As a consequence of the botched procedure, according to this report, the parents rushed their 8-day-old son to hospital for emergency reconstructive surgery and leech treatment.

Attorney Neil Rosen, who represents the mother, father and child identified only by their initials in the lawsuit, called the incident “unimaginable” but declined further comment. Rosen said he used his clients’ initials to protect the identity of the child, now 8 months old.

The lawsuit filed on earlier this month says Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, 54, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, performed a ritual circumcision on the boy on April 28, as required by Jewish custom.

Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg

Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg

The suit does not specify the child’s injuries but claims Rosenberg acted “with a total disregard” for the boy.

Carrie Sorenson, a clinical pharmacist at St Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, ND, said leeches help a body accept reattached parts by promoting blood flow and tissue regeneration. The baby required several follow-up visits, the lawsuit says.

Rosenberg’s website says he was trained by rabbis in Pittsburgh and Jerusalem and is recognised as a certified mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision in New York.

Mohels are not certified by a government agency because circumcision is considered a religious ceremony and not a medical procedure.

Mistakes are relatively uncommon and infant circumcisions are generally complication-free, said Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, chair of the Reform Judaism movement’s circumcision training and certification programme in Los Angeles.

The Reform and Conservative Judaism movements certify licensed physicians to perform ritual circumcisions rather than clergy members, as the Orthodox do, Adler said.

While the vast majority has probably never had this kind of horrific outcome, you can’t predict to whom and when a mistake like this is going to happen.

Rosenberg’s website explains the religious significance of the circumcision ritual:

Bris Milah, ritual circumcision, is one of the most fundamental precepts of the Jewish religion. It is referred to in the Torah as The Covenant of Abraham, since our forefather Abraham was the first to receive the commandment concerning circumcision from G-d.

‘And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations …
(Genesis 17:12)

In 2010 the manufacturer of an instrument used in circumcisions – a thing called a Mogen clamp – was ordered to pay $10.8 million in damaged to the parents of an infant who lost a portion of his penis in circumcision involving its product.

A Mogen clamp

A Mogen clamp

The parents were represented by an Atlanta lawyer who has been crusading against circumcision as a dangerous and unnecessary practice.

Attorney David Llewellyn won a similar case in Atlanta the previous year.

The baby in the 2010 case, identified in court documents only as LG, lost the entire glans, or head, of his penis after it was pulled into the jaws of the clamp.

It was unclear whether the family would ever collect the money, because at the time Mogen was already in default on a $7.5 million judgment in 2007 from a Massachusetts lawsuit, Llewellyn said.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

19 Responses to “Pennsylvania rabbi sued for inflicting a ‘catastrophic’ injury to an 8-day-old boy whom he’d circumcised”

  1. barriejohn says:

    It is almost unbelievable that this is still allowed – but then we’re dealing with religion again. There seems to be the merest glimmer of hope here, but not much:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-small-but-growing-number-of-jews-are-questioning-the-ancient-ritual-of-circumcision/2013/12/25/d24c5a4e-6403-11e3-aa81-e1dab1360323_story.html?

  2. Broga says:

    It is also unbelievable that the authority for this extreme cruelty to babies rests on a sentence in the discredited and fictional Genesis. Rabbis will want the procedure to continue as this places them in a powerful monopoly position. What are parents doing with their brains to go along with this perverted practice?

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Slavery is also an ancient religious practice, shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is sometimes moderated by religion, offering rules for the ‘just’ treatment or occassional freeing of slaves – but never is there a religious abolition of slavery. Religion largely just stopped talking about slavery, aside from taking the credit for abolition.

    Reasoned argument is what I’d like to offer religion. When they mutilate babies, they get my contempt instead. But just contempt, no mutilating babies, no slavery. That is their way, not mine.

  4. sailor1031 says:

    I think that rabbi should have to put his own dick in that mogen clamp. That thing looks more like a medieval torture instrument than a medical device. Who thinks these things up?

    It’s ironic that the parents are suing the rabbi when IMO representatives for their son should be suing them, as well as the rabbi, for requesting this ritual mutilation. These people are barbarians.

  5. Barry Duke says:

    The Mogen clamp company thankfully went bust:

    In a case brought before the Fulton County Superior Court (Georgia, USA) in 2009, the Mogen Circumcision Instruments company of Brooklyn, New York, USA, was in effect put on notice that the design of the Mogen Clamp gave rise to the possibility of serious damage to the glans. Notwithstanding this and other judgements against them, they continued to supply the clamp in unmodified form and without any cautionary notice regarding its use.

    If you’re not too squeamish see
    http://www.circlist.com/instrstechs/mogen.html

  6. Lurker111 says:

    I hope the kid winds up suing his parents for malignant stupidity.

  7. Broga says:

    I’ve just read the link to the Mogen Clamp. Jesus Christ!!!

    PS A new meaning to “suffer little children.”

  8. charlie says:

    Organized religion holds to its barbaric practices until the public demands change. Slavery is/was a part of the “big three” as we all know. The xtians, in particular were for it, until they were against it. They do love to take all the credit for any changes made, even though they resist any and all change more than anybody else.
    Vile, disgusting practices such as this should never be done to any child, ever. IF some man is fool enough or has some valid medical reason to do this to himself, it should be a decision he and his doctor make when he is old enough to understand what is being done. To take a small child and mutilate him or her as some still do, is beyond disgusting.
    For the record, I was born in the US of A in 1947 and yes, this was done to me before I left the hospital after I arrived in this life. Some choice I had in the matter, as in none at all. I would never allow such to be done to any child of mine, it would be his own choice when or if it was done.
    Of course when enough outrage rises to end this vile practice, religion will say they were against it all the time, yeah, vile disgusting damn liars.
    Sorry for the rant, but this shit really does piss me off.

  9. Michael says:

    More evidence that the Brit Milan (religious circumcision) should be replaced with the Brit shalom (naming ceremony). Fortunately it is becoming better known as the topic of circumcision’s going wrong has started to receive a lot more media attention

  10. Har Davids says:

    That clamp reminds me of a cigar clipper; who in his right mind would allow anyone near his or her child’s privates with a ‘tool’ like that? Should parents who allow their children to be mutilated, be able to sue the butcher who botched that service, at their request? Sounds more like penal law should be involved, not the civil one.

  11. Barry Duke says:

    Indeed, Har Davids. If you think about it, the cigar clipper has virtually become extinct because large swathes of society no longer finds smoking in public acceptable.

    If the anti-circumcision lobby could organise itself as effectively as the anti-smoking lobby, we would see instruments like these vanish as well.

    And to Charlie I should point out that I was separated from my foreskin in the same year as he was, not for religious reasons but because the medical authorities South Africa based much of their activities on what was then trendy in the United States, and thousands of male infants were routinely mutilated.

  12. Caute says:

    Barbaric primitive reprehensible. Genital mutilation must be made illegal regardless of how much the pious shriek and protest. And if the pious break the law then we should remind them that if they persist then we shall enforce punishment in accordance with the biblical koranic talmudic idea of eye for an eye. Let’s see how the scholars would react to the separation of the penis from the Prick. Perhaps the Mogen company could make a few dimes selling a dickhead guillotine. Puts a new perspective on Having the Chop.

  13. Charles Bateson says:

    Why is this primitive and barbaric practice still legal? Any operation that is not required for medical reasons should be banned. And by the way, I can’t believe that the parents are suing. They are totally implicated in this crime because they asked for it to be carried out!

  14. 1859 says:

    O Shit! Barry Duke! How could you! So early in the morning! Your link nearly knocked me out! I’ve been walking around the house with my legs tightly crossed ever since! That something so barbaric is ordered by a jewish god is truly sick! Tribal facial scarring I can sort of understand, but to mutilate a baby’s dick and call it ‘holy’ is insane. Sorry – I gotta go and puke!

  15. barriejohn says:

    Of course, the parents have said: “That’s it; we’re finished with primitive, barbaric, illogical religion, and will now seek to bring up our children according to sensible, intelligent, humanistic ways of thinking.” In your dreams!

  16. Cameron Logan says:

    what is the thing with bible god and foreskins?

  17. barriejohn says:

    Cameron: Wrong question. What is it with (mainly) old, (mainly) male religious leaders and women, children, gays, and so on?

  18. Ron Low says:

    Every circumcision alters sex dramatically. Only the patient has the ethical standing to authorize cosmetic surgery.