Let’s ring in the new year with some new knowledge, shall we? Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC since 2009, is Jewish. Prior to his role at the CDC, he was New York City’s Health Commissioner. In this role, he refused to take a strong stance against metzitzah b’peh, the practice among some Jewish communities of the mohel (ritual circumciser) sucking the blood from the wound with his mouth. Here are some tidbits from a New York Times article:
“This is a very delicate area, so to speak,” said Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden.
“The health department, after the meeting, reiterated that it did not intend to ban or regulate oral suction. But Dr. Frieden has said that the city is taking this approach partly because any broad rule would be virtually unenforceable. Circumcision generally takes place in private homes.”
“Dr. Frieden said the department regarded herpes transmission via oral suction as ‘somewhat inevitable to occur as long as this practice continues, if at a very low rate.'”
“The use of suction to stop bleeding dates back centuries and is mentioned in the Talmud. The safety of direct oral contact has been questioned since the 19th century, and many Orthodox and nearly all non-Orthodox Jews have abandoned it. Dr. Frieden said he hoped the rabbis would voluntarily switch to suctioning the blood through a tube, an alternative endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis.”
Hoped? Really? We have the former New York Health Commissioner “hop[ing]” that rabbis would stop putting children at risk of contracting herpes? And now this guy is the head of the CDC? ANYONE ELSE SEE A PROBLEM HERE?
Dr. Frieden was at one time ordered by Mayor Bloomberg to issue a lawsuit against a rabbi responsible for an infant contract herpes. But after pressure from the Jewish community, the lawsuit was dropped with Frieden saying that his department “has no intention of banning or regulating the practice of metzitzah b’peh.”
Go figure, and Happy New Year, and tell all your friends who actually believe that the CDC is an unbiased source of information regarding male circumcision.
ANOTHER FUN FACT: Dr. Susan Blank assisted Dr. Frieden at the NYC Health Commissioner. She later served as the Chairperson of the AAP’s Task Force on Circumcision that issued its 2012 statement on circumcision. Guess what? Also Jewish. Not to mention two other members of the 8-person task force, Drs. Andrew Freedman and Steven Wegner. That makes 3 out of 8, including the Chair. This is not meant to be anti-Semitic. Just don’t think for a minute that people in power aren’t influenced by cultural biases just like you and me.