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September 21, 2012

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 ! to By Adam Soclof inserting itself directly into would encourage everyoneto circumcisionmandatingthat a religious practice. It does abide by these regulations," only doctors may perform NEWYORK(JTA)--Ortho- so by compelling mohalim Dratch said. circumcisions. dox groups expressed disap- to deliver a message with In a statement before The New York City health pointment in the decision which they fundamentally the vote, the Conservative department's newregulation by the New York City Board disagree." movement's Rabbinical As- is the culmination of a year of Health to require parental The Agudah statement sembly applauded the corn- of debate surrounding the consent for a controversial also saidthat"the regulation missioner's push for parental controversialpractice, which circumcision ritual but gave raises serious constitutional consent, wassparkedbythedeathofan noindicationthattheywould concerns, and will surely "This practice, which is infant in Brooklyn last Sep- mount legal challenges to the be subject to strict judicial not requiredby Jewish law, tember and the subsequent new regulation, scrutiny," but it did not in- and emanates from olderrevelation that a mohel who OnSept. 13, the health de- dicatewhether attorneys for practices designed to pre- performed metzitzah b'peh partmentvoted 9-0 to require Agudah would challenge the vent illnesses that precede onthe infanthadtestedposi- mohels, or ritual circumcis- new regulation directly, current medical knowledge tive for herpes. ers, to obtain signed consent Before the vote, the Rab- about disease, presents a Metzitzah b'peh, the last forms from parents outlining binical Council of America, serious health risktobabies of three steps outlined in the the risks of communicable a membership group for andisinconsistentwiththe Talmuddescribinginfantcir- disease before engaging in centrist Orthodox rabbis, Jewish tradition's preemi- cumcisionprocedure, isstill "metzitzah b'peh'--a cir- had expressed concern about nent concern with humanpracticed in many Orthodox cumcision ritual in which the regulation even while life and health," Rabbicircles.Insomecases, mohels the mohel uses direct oral- advocatingthatrabbisusepi- Gerald Skolnik, president of use a tube for oral suction to genitalsuctionoftheinfant's pettes to avoid direct genital the RA, said in a statement avoiddirectoralcontactwith blood, contact.Afterthevote, Rabbi released Sept. 10. "There the infant's penis. In June, Following the vote, the Mark Dratch, executive vice have been tragic incidents New York City Health Com- haredi Orthodox Agudath president of the RCA, told of babies becoming ill as a missioner Dr. Thomas Farley Israel of America said it was JTA that his organization result of this practice, and condemned the practice of "profoundly disappointed" would not engage in a legal we encourage the Board of direct oralsuction. with the measure, challenge. Health to require parental The latest metzitzah con- "Tens of thousands of "While we would prefer consent." troversy mirrors a similar families in New York City" the government wouldn'tThe new regulation comes debate that unfolded after require metzitzah b'peh, the involve itself in matters of just days after a vote in Ger- an infant death from herpes statement said. For those religious practice, we don't many by the state of Berlin simplex virus (HSV)in 2005. individuals, "the City is see it as anti-Semitic and we to impose new regulations on After that case, the RCA is- Cheskel Dovid New York City Board of Health voted unanimously on Sept. 13 to require mohels to obtain parental consent before employing the controversial circumcision practice known as metzitzah b'peh. sued a statement advocating b'peh permitting the prac- the use of glass pipettes as tice provided that a mohel an acceptable alternative to sanitizes his hands like a direct oral suction, surgeon, cleans his mouth In June 2006, New York withasterilealcoholwipeand State health officials and rinseswithamouthwashthat Orthodox rabbis reached contains at least 25 percent an agreement on metzitzah alcohol. By Diego Melamed InArgentina, the number of oil, soybeans, meat, fruits and children in Jewish preschool other agricultural products. BUENOS AIRES, Argentina programs has soared by nearly And more growth is on the (JTA)--When the Sao Pauio 1,000--from3,952 in2005 to horizon. Latin America will Hebraica Sports Club and 4,914 in 2012. contribute to global growth Community Center in Brazil Nearly whereveronelooks, more than Europe in the opened the Aleph School ear- Jewish life is growing in Latin next seven years, according lier this month, it welcomed America, which is now home to CEPAL, which released a 450 students and had 120 toanestimated500,000Jews, study in August that said the more on the waiting list for The growth comes as the re- 2013-2020 period "will be a next year. gion continues to transform low-growth cycle for indus- Hebraica, which is similar economically as part of a trialized economies while to an American Jewish corn- socialevolution following the it will display dynamism, in munity center, has reached end of military dictatorships emerging economies." 24,000membersandhasa$30 that ruled many countries Despite the growth, thai- million budget. Meanwhile, into the 1980s. lenges remain for many Jew- Sao Paulo's oldest synagogue, From2000 to2010,povertyish communities. Temple Beth El, recently dedi- in the region dropped from "We have strong signals of cated a new building, leaving 44 percent to 32 percent of a new flourishing situation, theoriginalonetobecomethe the population, according to but we also will still have a Jewish Museum ofSao Paulo. the Economic Committee for variety of problems, like the In Panama, the Jewish LatinAmericanandtheCarib- poor knowledge about Juda- community has grown by 70 bean, or CEPAL. In large part isminourmembersandsome percent in the past 10 years, it is because of the increase type of hidden anti-Semitism The 8,000-member commu- in jobs that has come from in the general society," said nity in that period has seen rising prices for the region's Alberto Milkewitz, director a rise from three to 10 b'nai commodities and naturalof the Israelite Federation of mitzvah a week. resources, such as copper, Sao Paulo. SO GOOD, This year, leg TooJay's he holiday preparat,ion. Rring family anti iencis and break t,he fast, wit,h us, or Take out, our cleluxe smoked fish plat,ger 1;o celebrat,e in t,he comfort, of your own home. Eit,her way it, will be a meal wort, h wait,ing for. Yore Kippur Flal; r $12.99Fe Butthathasn'tdimmedop- nity for those searching for a 60 people; most of them are timismamongJewishleaders. Judaism thatwas egalitarian, children." Some83percentofapproxi- inclusive, spiritual. We also The growth also has mately 400 of the region's offer a welcoming home for brought the need for more Jewish leaders polled recently interfaith couples and fami- Jewish teachers. In 2006, a by the American Jewish Joint lies, gays and lesbians." newtrainingcentertoprepare Distribution Committee be- A hundred families now Jewish teachers was opened lieve that conditions in their belongtothetempleandmore in Buenos Aires. It's had 35 countries are good enough than 500 people are expected graduates. to further develop Jewish to arrive for the coming High "It's a good start, but life. Only 10 percent reported Holidays services, there is a scarcity of teach- that living as a Jew is risky. Also in Santiago, the Dr. ers in every main city of the Brazilians self-reported the Chaim Weizmann Hebrew region," said Leticia Baran, most positive feedback, Ven- Institute has seen sustained the supervisor of Argentina's ezuelans the most negative, growth. In 2005 there were Department of Jewish Educa- The poll's full results were 265 children aged 2 to 5 in tion."We'restartingtoexport to be released at the Nov. 12 the preschool. Today the Jewish teachers to other JDC meeting of Latin Ameri- number isat373,accordingto countries." can and Caribbean Jewish Sergio Herskovitz, the school International Jewish orga- community leaders, which principal, nizations are noticing the in- convened in Quito, Ecuador. Similar stories in the region creased Jewish activities. Last Venezuela is the notable abound. In Panama City, ade- November the ROI Cornmu- exception to the wave of posi- cadeago therewere barelyany nity, which convenes creative tivity among Latin American children at weekly activities Jewish social entrepreneurs, Jewish communities. Political at Kol Shearith Israel syna- celebratedanIbero-American insecurity, economic chal- gogue. Now nearly 60 young gathering in Buenos Aires to lenges and state-sponsored people participate in weekly "propel the Latin American anti-Semitism inthe country events and the total budget Jewish spring" and to spot- have prompted significant ofthecommunityhastripled, light the region's "dynamic Jewish emigration in recent The community has been Jewish social entrepreneurs." years, with most expats mov- strengthenedinpartbyJewish The same month, the Jew- ing to the United States, immigrants from Venezuela ish Agency's board of gover- Israel, Spain, Colombia or and even Argentina and Uru- nors met in Argentina--the Panama. Venezuela now has guay, says Gustavo Kraselnik, first time in 15 years that its anestimated9,000Jews, down the rabbi of Kol Shearith summit was held outside of fromabouttwicethatnumber Israel. Israel. The following month, a decade ago, according to "We are very optimisticJewish Agency Chairman Na- the JDC. about our future," he said. tan Sharansky announced a The race for president in Argentina, with 285,000$1rnillion fund to strengthen Venezuela has seen the in- Jews, is home to the region's the connection between cumbent, Hugo Chavez--a largest Jewish community, young South American Jews close ally of Iran and acerbic The growth in preschool chil- to Israel and the global Jewish critic of Israel--use state dren there has been matched community. And last Decem- media to lob anti-Semitic by arise in Jewish highschool ber, B'naiB'rith International broadsides against his rival, and college students. In Bue- held its International Policy Henrique Capriles Radonski, nos Aires alone the number Conference in Montevideo, a grandson of Holocaust sur- has risen from 15,593 to Uruguay--the first time the vivorswhoidentifiesas Catho- 19,162 in the past seven years, international event was held lic. The election is scheduled In the capital city, the eco- in Latin America. for Oct. 7. nomic recovery allowed real "This region has a vibrant In Chile, home to 15,000 estate developments such as reality and an incredible Jews among a Palestinian Nordelta, a gated community production of knowledge and Diaspora as large as 400,000, with artificial lakes, to erect a Jewish life," Shai Pinto, the Rabbi Chaim Koritznisky is new Jewish center two years vice president and CO0 of the much more positive, ago. Last Chanukah, about World Union for Progressive "Four years ago I was invit- 150 people came out for a Judaism, told JTA. "In our edto Santiagoby five families celebration, movement Latin America is tobuildanew synagogue corn- "W e s t a r t e d f r o m the fastest growing region." munity called Ruach Ami," zero," Rabbi Diego Elman of Fabian Triskier, the JDC's said Koritznisky, who heads Judaica Fundation, the Nor- Latin America director, says, a Reform congregation. "The delta temple, told JTA. "This "Our conclusion is clear: The founders felt that there was year we started a monthly Jewish community of Latin a void in the Jewish commu- Shabbat with an average of America is moving forward."