Rabbi Michael Fienberg lights a Hanukkah candle at a service at Judson Memorial Church on National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on December 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) - 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.
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The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.
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