Friday, February 16, 2007

British Brit Millah update

What follows is a document being circulated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Following press reports, some of them wildly inaccurate, about the recent tragic death of a baby boy in the community, the following briefing document has been prepared setting out the known facts relating to this matter:

:: The Brit Milah of an eight-day-old baby boy took place at Golders Green United Synagogue on Thursday, 1 Feb 2007.

:: The circumcision was carried out by a qualified and experienced mohel (circumciser) who has been trained and licensed by the official body, the Initiation Society.

:: The circumcision was carried out in the presence of a number of people in the normal way and with no visible problems. The baby was then nursed by his mother.

:: About 15 minutes after the ceremony the baby was observed not to be breathing normally.

:: A consultant physician was present at the event and provided immediate medical support and resuscitation. An emergency ambulance was called and the baby was taken to the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.

:: Later he was transferred to UCLH where he received treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit. [DB- Odd. In the US, if a baby that has been released from the hospital is readmitted, he goes to the PICU, not the NICU]

:: The baby passed away on Friday, 9 February 2007 and a post mortem was carried out.

:: The results of the post mortem have not yet been made public. As is usual, under such circumstances, the matter was notified to the coroner.

:: The Board of Deputies coordinated a very helpful meeting on Thursday, 15 February with officers at New Scotland Yard in order to ensure that the community and the police are working together on this issue. The police are currently gathering information through a specialist unit that responds to all instances of sudden and unexpected deaths of children less than two years of age.

:: The local synagogue community in Golders Green has provided unstinting support for the family over the past two weeks.

:: The Medical Officer of the Initiation Society, Dr J. Spitzer, understands from reports received from the mohel and those present, including the consultant physician, that no causal link has been established between the circumcision and the subsequent death of the baby.

:: The Board of Deputies is liaising with all parts of the Jewish Community and is coordinating press and public comment.

:: All media enquiries should be directed to Winston Pickett ( – T: 020 7543 5400 / 07932 075 625)

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