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