Haredi Expert Misleads On Circumcision

Dr. Daniel S. Berman is a haredi-linked "expert" with very few published papers and no special expertise. He bills himself as "Chief of Infectious -Disease Section. New York Westchester Square Hospital Medical Center." The center is not a research facility and is merely a decent community hospital. Berman has been in the forefront of the movement to declare metzitza b’peh safe. He writes in today’s Jewish Week:

First, compared to other medical contexts, the steps recommended in the agreement are quite severe. In contrast, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), entrusted to guarding public safety on a national level, in response to outbreaks of life-threatening bacterial infection linked epidemiologically and genetically to three petting zoos across the United States recommended only stronger infection-control measures in these zoos. The CDC’s report said nothing about closing the individual petting zoos or banning any of the operators. Further, within this same agreement, if a baby nurse was found to be the transmitter of the herpes virus to the baby, no action would be taken, and she could continue to care for other babies. If a mohel were found to be the source, he would be banned for life.

What Berman does not tell you is that the disease transmission differs dramatically in the two cases, and that bacterial transmission and viral transmission are not equivalent. Berman then continues his disingenuousness:

As for Dr. Zenilman’s assertion that the steps would not reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, there is strong evidence to the contrary. There are many studies in the literature demonstrating the effectiveness of antiseptic mouthwash in inactivating Herpes virus. Studies have shown that the antiviral agent acyclovir can reduce the incidence of Herpes viral shedding by 94 percent in those with genital herpes. It is likely to do the same in oral Herpes.

Berman does not tell you that the author of the antiseptic mouthwash study brought by the state (presumably at the suggestion of haredim through Berman) totally disagrees with both the incorrect use of his study and the unsupported conclusions recklessly drawn from it, and he is adamant that MBP should be stopped. Berman’s intellectual dishonesty continues:

It still has not been proved with 100 percent certainty that any case of herpes has been transmitted through metzitzah b’peh. If there is transmission, the incidence is rare. There are only seven reported suspected cases in New York City over the last 18 years, with many thousands of babies receiving metzitzah b’peh during this time. The infection- control measures recommended should reduce the incidence of transmission of herpes through metzitzah b’peh (if such transmission exists) to almost nothing.

No mandatory reporting existed during those years. We know only of the most severe cases. No serious expert believes these 7 were the only cases in the city during those years.

Here is a letter Danny Berman wrote to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv "informing" him about herpes and MBP. Note that he refers to Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler as "an individual with a Ph. D." rather than as a rabbi, and that he slants all his information toward the supposed "safety" of MBP:
Download dr. Daniel S. Berman Letter To Rabbi Elyashiv.pdf

Here is a brief report on Berman and Westchester. Note Westchester is not a critical care facility:
Download daniel_s. Berman Report.pdf

Danny Berman has consistently proven himself to a less than honest broker. He shares part of the blame for every maimed and dead MBP infant. Perhaps one day his licensing board will look into that.

Want to know the real dangers of MBP? Read Dr. Shlomo Sprecher’s Hakirah article on the long history of disease transmitted through MBP:
Download sprecher_metzitza.pdf



Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Haredim

7 responses to “Haredi Expert Misleads On Circumcision

  1. Nigritude Ultramarine

    It is likely to do the same in oral Herpes

    When you see a phrase like, it is likely, you know it has nothing to do with science.

  2. Anonymous

    Shmarya, how’s your oral/genital herpes clearing up?


    For accuracy, Dr. Daniel S. Berman is a California-based nuclear cardiologist with numerous publications to his credit. He is not the same individual as Dr. Daniel Berman who practices infectious diseasein NY.

  4. They’re both Daniel S. Berman.

  5. Anonymous

    I think that it should be investigated if Dr. Berman has links to Haredim. Perhaps he lives in Monsey. Seems like he may be close to the editor of Yated. Maybe there is some personal relationship there.

  6. It’s interesting that out of all the 12 authors of the Pediatrics paper, non of them have any published papers on Neonatal herpes. It’s intersting that out of all twelve authors only two ever published on herpes.(Testing and diagnoses, general non-neonatal areas). That of course is moot because those two only rubber stamped the article and did not participate in the research. Compare the authors listed to those on a similar paper published in the Israeli medical association’s February 2005 issue of HaRefuah. ima.org.il
    None of the sources quoted in the article are on neonatal Herpes. The only one that are on herpes are between 12 and 18 years old. That is not serious research paper. A June 2006 Article in the same publication, PEDIATRICS, recounts a three study in Canada of 100,000 woman. The neonatal herpes rate is 1 per 1700, twice that of the US. Guess what? 62.5% of the maternally transmitted herpes is HSV-1! I know, the aboriginal females most of had MBP too. right? Read the facts. Two of the patients in Tendler’s original article (#5 & 6) are fabricated. Read the article.

    Nigritude Ultramarine-
    >When you see a phrase like, it is likely, you know it has nothing to do with science.

    Then you would conclude that Tendler’s article has nothing to do with science. This is as close as it gets to saying the mohel is actually the cause:

    “may” be hazardous to the neonate / “most probably” as a consequence of / “it is likely” that other infants were infected/

    “We suspect”, therefore / “it was most likely” that the infection was transmitted /

    represents a “potential source” of orogenital transmission / however, “the possibility” that some previous cases were not reported /

    this “potentially” life-threatening medical complication / oral metzitzah “may” cause oral-genital transmission/

    oral suction “may” not only endanger the child / which “might” endanger the newborns/

    >Commentor at July 04, 2006 at 02:21 AM

    Dr Berman identifies himself as a modern orthodox Jew who davens at a Young Israel in Queens.

  7. Funny how the actual facts and scientific protocol rebut everything you write.

    Babies die and are maimed, and you spout dreck to protect your rabbis from scrutiny. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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