NYC, rabbis clash over circumcision ritual

Updated at: 10/11/2012 3:35 PM
By DAVID B. CARUSO

(AP) NEW YORK - A group of rabbis are clashing with New York City health officials over the safety of an ancient circumcision ritual.

Three rabbis and three Jewish groups sued the city Thursday in an attempt to block enforcement of a new regulation requiring written parental consent for the rite, which health experts say spreads infection and has killed two children since 2004.

During the ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside.

New York City’s Health Department says the saliva contact could give the infant Herpes simplex, a virus that is harmless in adults but can be deadly in newborns.

The ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the suit say the city has exaggerated the danger and infringed on their religious freedom.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)