*To say that a rabbi in Pittsburgh has made a monumental mistake would still be an understatement.
According to KDKA in Pittsburgh, after performing the Jewish ritual called bris, the act of circumcision, a rabbi is accused of severing the penis of a newborn – castrating him instead.
As you can imagine, there is a lawsuit pending.
The lawsuit claims the incident happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill approximately eight months ago.
The circumcision ceremony was performed by Pittsburgh Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg – who is also a mohel (a person designated to perform this rite).
Sometime during the bris, according to the lawsuit, Rosenberg severed the baby boy’s penis.
The baby was rushed to Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed emergency microsurgery.
“If your finger, your thumb was cut off and was put back on, that is pretty exciting,” said renowned UPMC plastic surgeon Dr. Joe Losee, who was not involved in the boy’s treatment and can’t talk specifics.
Sources say it took eight hours. The baby needed six blood transfusions and was hospitalized for nearly two months. Sources describe the reattachment procedure as successful.
Dr. Losee says microsurgery advances every day, but it’s risky.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t always work,” he says. “When you’re reattaching a portion where you include nerves, sometimes the nerves don’t heal well beyond where you reattached it. So there are limitations for sure.”
On his website, Rabbi Rosenberg, who continues to perform the ritual, says he is recognized as a “certified mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision.” His site also says “a doctor’s medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital, is not considered valid according to Jewish law.”
“That is extraordinarily serious and is extraordinarily rare,” said attorney David Llewellyn.
Llewellyn handles cases involving injury during circumcision – injury brought on by both doctors in the hospital and mohels in religious ceremonies.
“Your average pediatric urologist probably spends about 20 percent of his or her time repairing children who have been circumcised,” Llewellyn says.
See a news report about the story below.