Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Parents need to read it, and to hold the feet of their local school administrations to the fire if they are making “concessions” to anti-vaxxers that endanger others.

Rabbi Bleich’s New Volume: a Potential Life-Saver

Rabbi Dovid Bleich’s volumes on Contemporary Halakhic Problems are the gold standard in evincing the ability of our mesorah and the timeless halachic tradition to respond to changed conditions and advances in knowledge. Volume 7 is now available. Like all its predecessors, each chapter marshals a breathtaking command of the related core sugyos, the responsa, and the full sweep of the growing number of quality halacha journals. In most cases, the penetrating lomdus of mori ve-rabi Rav Bleich adds immeasurably to the discussion.

The first volume in the series appeared some forty years ago. Some day, someone will write a paper on the changes in the Orthodox community that can be discerned simply from an examination of the tables of contents of the different volumes. Earlier ones dealt with the some of the first modern treatments of core issues like intermarriage, electricity on Shabbos, war ethics, conversion, abortion, copyright. These early chapters remain invaluable jumping-off points even today for those interested in serious consideration of the halachic issues. With the passage of time, the articles keep up with the dizzying scientific and technological progress of the decades that followed. The new volume includes considerations of stem-cell burgers, determining maternity in the case of mitochondrial DNA replacement, and posthumous paternity from frozen sperm.

While it is unlikely that any of the books in the series will ever become a Hollywood feature film, the new volume – like its predecessors – belongs in the can’t-put-it-down category for anyone with a passion for serious halachic discussion.

One chapter moves beyond recommended reading to the role of life-saver. Measles is back, and the word is out in the street – and in the media – that members of Orthodox Jewish communities have often joined the ranks of the anti-vaxxers. By not immunizing their children, they have compromised the herd immunity that all but abolished diseases like measles and whooping cough. Schools have wrestled with the legal and halachic issues in barring children who have not been immunized (or incompletely immunized) from the classroom, in order to protect the other children. Misinformation abounds about several facets of the issue: the risks involved in immunization; the risks to others (including children who have been immunized, and those who cannot for various medical reasons); the legal exposure of schools which bar non-immunized children from attending. This chapter addresses all the important angles with the comprehensiveness, the depth, and – most importantly – the authority of Rabbi Bleich, which simply knows no peer in America. This makes it an important tool in restoring safety to our communities. Parents need to read it, and to hold the feet of their local school administrations to the fire if they are making “concessions” to anti-vaxxers that endanger others.

Rabbi Bleich’s bottom line is unequivocal. “Vaccination of one’s children is unquestionably a parental responsibility.” Let us hope – and work together – to ensure 100% compliance.


Measles outbreak grows in L.A.'s Orthodox Jewish community despite California's strict new vaccination law


Measles 'outbreak' hits two Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn


The rabbis who signed this letter – Matisyahu Salomon, Malkiel Kotler, and Philadelphia's Shmuel Kamenetsky (a longtime opponent of vaccines) are wrong halakhicly and wrong ethically. Children who are not vaccinated because their parents fear vaccines put hundreds of other children and adults at risk for catching illnesses that can kill or maim them. Choosing not to vaccinate does more than put your own child at risk – it puts everyone at risk, as you can see here.
You can read previous anti-vaccine stupidity from Shmuel Kamenetsky here.



M said...

Those of us who are ardent "anti vaxxers" are not against you vaccinating if that is your choice. We are against vaccination by compulsion or mandate. The anti vaccine stance is based not only on the science and established fact of the serious injuries caused by vaccines such as Autism,ADHD,OCD and Autoimmune disease, but also on the documented fraud of the CDC and Pharmaceutical companies in misrepresenting the safety and efficacy of their products.The entire public health vaccination program is based on outdated and incomplete science from over 50 years ago. It was established before we knew there was such a thing as epigenetics or the existence and important role of the microbiome in human immunology. They grandfathered Thimerisol/Ethyl Mercury into vaccines without ever having studied it for safety. Unfortunately Rabbi Bleich, Talmid Chacham that he is, is obviously ignorant when it comes to the vaccine issue.

Anonymous said...

The science is simply not there.


Maybe you might consider studying the peer reviewed research as Rav Kamenetzky and his wife did.

If only the measles vaccine were effective, we might be able to discuss risk v. benefits and what herd immunity is (herd immunity can only apply to the naturally acquired illness as the vaccines' effectiveness wanes after 2-10 years. If this were not true, then one would not need a "booster" shot).


Mumps vaccine isn't effective either


Anonymous said...

. According to a 2008 FDA study, the Mumps vaccine is “0 to 33%” effective on the Rubini strain.


A whistleblower case unsealed in 2012 suggests that Merck, the producer of the MMR vaccine, might have misrepresented the results of research on the vaccine’s efficacy from the start.

The case, initiated by a pair of former Merck researchers, claims that Merck manipulated the results of clinical trials in order to keep its exclusive right to manufacture the vaccine.

By claiming a fabricated 95% effectiveness rate, Merck allegedly defrauded the US government, causing it to buy 4 million doses of “mislabeled and misbranded” MMRs vaccines.

The suit also claims this helped spark two major mumps outbreaks, and that “the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection.”

Here is the lawsuit


If the scientific research supported that vaccines protected our children from dangerous diseases, then of course this would be something that every G-d fearing Jew should do.

But since the science shows very clearly that vaccines do NOT save lives but rather INCREASE infant mortality, then Rabbeim should rule according to the scientific research.

I believe that if other Rabbeim who are not aware of the studies that prove that vaccines increase infant mortality were shown this research, they would also rule as Rav Kemenetzky has.

I was a postdoc researcher, on the academia peer review board of BMJ at the time I shared several research articles on vaccines with Rav Kamenetzky (through a rabbi who is close to Rav Kemenetzky).