The dispute on metzitzah b’peh, between the Orthodox Jewish community and the city’s Health Department has some in the jewish communities say that the city is infringing upon their religious rights. They go so far as to accuse Mr. Bloomberg of reneging on what they say they took as an election-year assurance that the administration would leave the matter to rabbinical authorities.
The dispute, had the mayor trying to calm rabbinical leaders at Gracie Mansion yesterday in what his aides called a frank exchange, and has put Mr. Bloomberg in the rare position of balancing a key constituency against the policies of one of his most trusted commissioners. And it occurs against the backdrop of the roiling ethnic politics of New York, with Orthodox leaders having threatened to disrupt the mayor’s inauguration last Sunday by wearing yellow stars like the ones Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.
The Bloomberg administration denies that politics have had anything to do with its decisions, and administration officials say they made no pre-election promises regarding the rite.