Angered on Bris Measure, Councilmen Reject Richardson

NEW YORK -

Citing the city board of health’s unprecedented infringement on bris milah components, New York City Councilmen David Greenfield and Lew Fidler voted against reappointing Dr. Lynne D. Richardson to a new term on the Board of Health.

The vote by the two Democrats from south Brooklyn last Thursday, they said, was a statement of strong opposition to a Board of Health measure approved last September that requires parents to sign a consent form provided them by the mohel before an infant can undergo metzitzah b’peh.

The measure, which has been contested by members of the medical community as being based on faulty data, is under appeal. It remains, however, in effect.

“As I stated following last September’s misguided Board of Health vote, it was inappropriate for this mayoral administration and his appointees to overstep their authority and violate the constitutionally-protected rights of Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers,” Greenfield said.

“My vote against Dr. Richardson’s reappointment was simply an affirmation of my strong belief that the entire Board of Health trampled on the rights of religious Jews and all New Yorkers who value religious freedom by regulating for the first time a deeply-held religious belief.”

Richardson was easily reappointed with votes from other councilmembers, but Greenfield and Fidler said that they voted their conscience.

“In the end, I knew she would be reappointed no matter what I did,” Fidler said, “but someone needed to stand up for a community whose religious rights were trampled on.”