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Botched bris led to 2015's most viral story

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The most viral story of the year had 1 229 reads within 24 hours of its November 11 publication (and 2 199 in the week) and was also retold by international Jewish publications and the Sunday Times in South Africa. “Bris findings leave unanswered questions” was about the outcome of a commission of inquiry following a serious injury to a local baby at his brith milah in Sandton in June 2014.
by ANT KATZ | Jan 06, 2016

“This recommendation has already been implemented and the mohel will never be accredited to perform circumcisions again,” said the statement issued in November.

Announcing the enquiry into the botched bris in 2014, “which resulted in injury to the baby,” Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag said the commission of enquiry would be headed by retired Justice Phillip Levinsohn, former Deputy Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal.

Chief Rabbi and Rosh BD



RIGHT: Rabbis
Goldstein and Kurtstag



Read them


The November story, Bris findings leave unanswered questions, came 16 months after the original report, Botched bris leads to investigation in July 2014 – which was also very well read. What captivated readers of the second story, was an interview that reporter SUZANNE BELLING had with the father.

“This follows much speculation in the Jewish community over the months following the disastrous bris. The findings of the commission were released this week by the Chief Rabbi and the Beth Din,” said our November story, which catalogued the heartfelt tragedy of the (unnamed) family.

The father of the child told SA Jewish Report he supported the statement put out by the Beth Din and the Chief Rabbi.

He said he and his wife had consulted medical specialists “all over the world - including Belgium, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States - for medical advice, but it was evident the baby’s condition could never revert to what it was.

“We are not clear what the future holds,” he said. “It is an unprecedented case. But as a family we had to deal with it.”

Among the report’s recommendations were:

  • That a committee be established which has the authority to oversee and govern the practice of brith milah in South Africa;
  • That all practising mohelim be required to be registered and accredited and given formal accreditation by the committee in order to practise;
  • The accreditation given is to be subject to renewal on a biennial basis;
  • When issuing the renewal, the committee be required to take into account several factors, including the age, state of health of the mohel and any complaints received during the period under review which bear on his competence to continue performing bris; and
  • That the committee also be required to set norms and standards based on the halacha and the highest standards of professionalism, health and safety.



Related reads in the series:top2015 generic Newsletter



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