Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Some rabbis derided the health department’s scientific expertise, and one respected rabbi went as far as to question the health department’s statistics. To assuage them, Bill de Blasio, upon becoming mayor, undid Mr. Bloomberg’s circumcision regulations. Two years later, six infants became infected with herpes in cases considered to be tied to the procedure....

A "No Vax" sign at a demonstration against the barring of unvaccinated children from public spaces in Rockland County, N.Y.

My Fellow Hasidic Jews Are Making a Terrible Mistake About Vaccinations

My community faces a grave threat. I am not talking about the measles spreading throughout our Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I am referring to the scientific denialism that has infected our community and has put the lives of children here and elsewhere at risk. 

In October, an unvaccinated child from our community contracted measles while on a visit to Israel. In New York City, more than 350 people have since become ill, an outbreak that health officials have linked directly to that first child’s case. Most of the cases are in the Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Borough Park. 

According to health officials, the most recent outbreak is a direct result of disinformation efforts: Like tens of thousands of Americans, many Hasidic Jews have fallen under the sway of anti-vaccination propaganda — spread by people within our community — and have refused to inoculate their children against measles and other diseases. 

As infections linked to this outbreak spread as far as Michigan, I can’t help wondering what has made some of us dismiss basic science, embrace quackery and treat objective truths as if they are no more than suggestions.
A sign outside a pharmacy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, warns against entry "if you have a fever and a rash, or have been exposed to the measles."

In the not-too-distant past, the ultra-Orthodox community was a champion of scientific knowledge and innovation. Ours was a community with the ability to welcome science, value research and be a forward-thinking force for good. Where did we go wrong?

The rabbinical establishment, which is struggling to understand why a vocal minority is resisting the calls to vaccinate, must reckon with the role it has played in this crisis. Over the years, some of our religious leaders have greatly contributed to the current distrust of science. 

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration in 2012 introduced rules that required parental consent before an infant could have a form of ritual circumcision believed to be linked to the spread of herpes, some rabbis denounced those efforts as a blood libel or “the evil plans of the New York City health department.” The rules were put in place after 11 boys, between 2000 and 2011, contracted herpes from the practice, which involves an oral cleansing of the circumcision wound (it is practiced only by some ultra-Orthodox families).

 Two died and two suffered brain damage. 

Some rabbis derided the health department’s scientific expertise, and one respected rabbi went as far as to question the health department’s statistics. To assuage them, Bill de Blasio, upon becoming mayor, undid Mr. Bloomberg’s circumcision regulations. Two years later, six infants became infected with herpes in cases considered to be tied to the procedure.

Whether out of shortsightedness or strategic malice, some of our religious leaders have directly fostered an atmosphere where thorough research is sneered at, the scientific method is doubted and the motivations of professionals are assumed to be nefarious and steeped in anti-religious animus. 

In more recent years, when the Department of Education pushed for an increase in secular studies in the city’s yeshivas, some of our leaders once again instigated their community to oppose these much-needed reforms. Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the grand rabbi of Satmar, the largest Hasidic sect in the United States, whose stronghold is in Williamsburg, went as far as to say that the government was persecuting Jewish religious schools and essentially declared war against the department. These rabbis and community leaders used their platform to tell the ultra-Orthodox world that math, science, history and social studies are unnecessary and have little value — reinforcing the idea that government officials are out to get us and wish to destroy our religious values. 

We see this same approach now among some of our leaders toward vaccines. Some rabbis are contributing to the spread of disinformation, repeating unfounded claims about the health risks of the M.M.R. vaccine. 

Such anti-science has no place in our community’s beliefs; Judaism is not behind the refusal to vaccinate. Most in the ultra-Orthodox community are vaccinated, and a vast majority of prominent rabbis support the vaccination requirements. Seven rabbis recently banded together and released an edict, advising that the vaccinations are a matter of life and death. A majority of our charitable organizations, like Hatzalah and the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association Vaccine Task Force, have joined the battle against measles.

Doctors and health officials are begging the community to heed their warnings about the dangers of non-vaccination. Mayor de Blasio is now requiring unvaccinated individuals in our neighborhoods to receive the vaccine or face a fine, and city officials are closing yeshivas and day-care centers that defy the order. 

But a powerful subgroup is continuing to ignore these calls and to misrepresent the motives of doctors, health officials and activists. They were behind a lawsuit against the city’s vaccination order, which argues that the current outbreak in Brooklyn is not “a clear and present danger to the public health” (it was dismissed last week).

Evidently, the strategic deployment of a siege mentality by some of our religious leaders has worked all too well. Their words are received by an impressionable community, and many people have bought into these claims. Having sowed deep suspicion of government health officials, and having planted doubts as to the veracity of scientific knowledge and government health statistics, community leaders are now unable to persuade these families to accept what we all know to be true. 

Our leadership has effectively turned around the famous words of King David in Psalms and we can now say: Those who sow with joy will reap with tears.

Moshe Friedman is a Hasidic yeshiva graduate and a father of three.

NYC Measles Outbreak Declared Public Health Emergency

New York City has declared a public health emergency amid a measles outbreak that is mostly impacting the Orthodox Jewish community. Mayor Bill de Blasio says Yeshiva schools that don't require all of their students to get vaccinated will face fines or closure.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Who Gets To Venezuela First?

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Valery Díaz covered her eyes and held her breath before looking in a hair salon mirror to see herself without much of the long dark hair that used to frame her face.
The 16-year-old student was paid $100 for the shorn hair, money she’ll use to help her family and buy a cellphone at a time when Venezuela’s sharp economic decline has led to shortages of food and medicine, and hyperinflation has made salaries nearly worthless.

Increasing numbers of women in poor neighborhoods are selling their hair for use in wigs and extensions as the demands of daily survival force them to abandon the kind of self-care long an obsession with a country known globally for its success in beauty pageants. Seven Miss Universe winners have been Venezuelans, as have six Miss Worlds.

Some women are washing their hair with dishwashing liquid because they can’t afford to buy shampoo that costs more than the minimum monthly salary, now equivalent to just a few dollars. Many have to adapt to make personal care products last longer, with no sign of an end to a crisis that has pushed more than 3 million Venezuelans — one-tenth of the population — to leave the country in recent years.

Díaz gazed silently at the mirror and attempted a positive spin on the loss of locks that she had worn since she was a young child. She described herself as feeling “light” and said it had been hard to maintain her flowing hair in the past.

Juan Guaido, Fabiana Rosales
“There are times when you go two or three weeks without washing your hair,” she said, alluding to frequent water shortages in past weeks, caused by nationwide blackouts that shut off water pumps.
Her mother, Yeny Gómez, laughed nervously and tried to buoy her daughter’s spirits.

“You don’t notice it,” Gómez, a 43-year-old teacher, said of the drastic haircut.

Despite sacrificing her hair, Díaz said she still tries to buy cosmetics, using money she earns from making and selling bracelets.

But Gómez said she hasn’t bought lipstick or any other cosmetics for more than a year because she’s saving whatever money she earns to get food for her and her two daughters. Beauty care has become secondary for most Venezuelans, she said.

Carmen Merchani, a 49-year-old hairdresser, knows that well. After decades of cutting and styling hair, she said things have never been worse and she’s had to adapt to maintain her salon on one of the steep hills of Catia, a Caracas district. About a year ago, Merchani said, she started to do barter deals with her clients, getting food in exchange for hair stylings, manicures and pedicures.

Local shops that sell beauty products are also reinventing themselves to stay afloat. International cosmetics brands have disappeared from storefronts, replaced by cheaper goods from China as well as locally made products that use honey and other ingredients.

Díaz said she still dreams of becoming a Miss Venezuela someday, when “my hair grows again.”


Monday, April 22, 2019

Any rabbi Anti-Vaxxer (and his demented wife) have no right to be considered a leader on any matter for any sane Jews. They lost it ...and do not have the mental capacity to understand right from wrong...real from fantasy!

New York Outbreaks Drive US Measles Count up to 626


New York outbreaks continue to drive US measles cases up toward levels not seen in 25 years.

By Associated Press, Wire Service ContentApril 22, 2019, at 10:09 a.m. 
The Associated Press
Photo shows a sign explaining the local state of emergency because of a measles outbreak at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y. Outbreaks in New York state continue to drive up U.S. measles cases, which remain on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years.

NEW YORK (AP) — Outbreaks in New York state continue to drive up the number of U.S. measles cases, which are approaching levels not seen in 25 years.

Health officials say 71 more cases were reported last week, with 68 of them from New York. That brings this year's total to 626.

That is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported for the whole year. The most before that was 963 cases in 1994.

Twenty-two states have reported cases, but the vast majority have been in New York — mainly in New York City and in nearby Rockland County. Most of the New York cases have been unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest numbers Monday.

NYC Measles Outbreak Declared Public Health Emergency

New York City has declared a public health emergency amid a measles outbreak that is mostly impacting the Orthodox Jewish community. Mayor Bill de Blasio says Yeshiva schools that don't require all of their students to get vaccinated will face fines or closure.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Wishing all my Jewish readers a happy Passover...

75% of You Need To Wisen Up

"In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. And The Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands" (Passover Hagada)

והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותנו והקדוש 
ברוך הוא מצילנו מידם

Wishing all my Jewish readers a happy Passover

Thursday, April 18, 2019

I do not like to do it, but sometimes it is necessary to remind some Jews of historical facts about antisemitism in France. Begun in 1240, the trial ended with the decree, out of the Notre Dame Cathedral, ordering seizure of all copies of the Talmud, that is tens of wagonloads, at least 10,000 handwritten volumes of holy texts (the printing press had not yet been invented) and then burning them on nearby Place de Greve in 1242 ....

Notre Dame and the Jews


The flames at Notre Dame Cathedral should remind Jews of the burning by that very same church of tens of wagonloads of the Talmud in the Middle Ages.

The mainstream media, even in Israel, is featuring in headlines “The Crown of Thorns and tunic of St Louis saved from Notre Dame fire.”

I do not like to do it, but sometimes it is necessary to remind some Jews of historical facts about antisemitism in France.

Many of you have certainly visited Paris or The Notre Dame Cathedral, but how many of you have seen the two statues at the main entrance of the Paris Cathedral?

These statues, known as "Ecclesia" and "Sinagoga", represent the Christian theological doctrine of "Verus Israel" according to which the Jewish people are fallen and replaced by the "new Israel" represented here by a woman who stands with her head crowned facing the other woman represented who has her head bowed, blindfolded by a snake and holding in her hands the tables of the Law ...you know, the Jewish people's Torah.

Every year, millions of tourist flock to admire and photograph these statues, but do they really realize what they represent?

Theft, crimes and persecutions - those were committed in the name of Christianity?

We have entered the final phase of the redemption of Israel and of all humanity and it is truly regrettable to see some of our Jewish brothers saddened by this fire when this building represents in all its strength the exile of Israel and the will to replace us.

The Catholic Church became the official state religion of France at the conversion to Christianity of Clovis I, leading to France being called "the eldest daughter of the Church."

The construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris began in 1160. Construction was largely completed in 1260.

In 1240, in Paris, it was the same Catholic Church which had built the cathedral that held the famous Paris controversy in which the Talmud was tried for blasphemy against the church. There was no way the Jewish rabbis debating the Christians could win. Held at the instigation of Nicolas Donin, an apostate Jew converted to Christianity, he and clerics debated four rabbis, led by Rabbi Yehiel of Paris in the presence of King Louis IX of France.

Begun in 1240, the trial ended with the decree, out of the Notre Dame Cathedral, ordering seizure of all copies of the Talmud, that is tens of wagonloads, at least 10,000 handwritten volumes of holy texts (the printing press had not yet been invented)  and then burning them on nearby Place de Greve in 1242.

Two of the rabbis, Rabbi Shmuel of Falaise and the Maharam Rottenberg, who participated in the debate are well known to us today through the prayers they  composed and the elegies about the burning of the holy books which are still part of our liturgy.

But who was that Louis, King of France, who cooperated so willingly with the church?

Louis IX (1226-1270), grandson of Philip Augustus and King of France, was a king of the Middle Ages: a knight, religious, ascetic and hostile to the Jews.

In spite of the fact that this opposition worked to its own disadvantage, he opposed the lending activity of his Jewish subjects; he decreed laws against them and even finally ordered their expulsion.

Known today as St. Louis, he was very anxious to convert the Jews and encouraged the discussions between the synagogue and the Church to this end. At these theological disputes, it was hoped that some Jews would be converted, or at least shamed, and thus convinced unresolved Christians of the truth of Christianity and the baseness of Judaism.

There is reason to believe that Louis took no action to protect the Jews persecuted by so-called crusaders in 1236 in several provinces (Anjou, Poitou, Mançois, Touraine, Berry). When, in 1239, Pope Gregory IX asked the kings of France and Portugal to order the seizure of Jewish books for examination, Louis was the quickest and most zealous to obey. So 24 loads of Jewish books were burned in 1242.

The Talmud's trial, also called the Talmud's Burning, Paris Dispute or Talmud Controversy1 (Hebrew: ויכוח פריז Vikouah Pariz) is a major event in the history of the Jews and their relationship to Christianity.

So is King St. Louis a Saint? And what about his anti-Semitic measures?

King 'Saint' Louis was marked by a profound anti-Judaism of essentially religious nature. Louis IX, deeply Christian, did not like those Jews who refused to recognize Christ.

He condemns the Talmud!  King St. Louis, moreover, does not like these people who constitute a foreign body inside the kingdom of France that he seeks to unify.

'Saint' Louis goes further. "Christians have a chief," he said to himself, "it's the bishop. The Jews have no one, so I must be the bishop of the Jews and punish them when they behave badly, but also protect them when they are unjustly attacked ... "

Still, Saint Louis was instead a persecutor of the Jews to the point of imposing on them, in 1269, the wearing of the rouelle (a piece of red felt or cloth cut in the form of a wheel, four fingers in circumference, which had to be attached to the outer garment at the chest and back), advocated by the Church which took this decision at the Fourth Lateran Council, in 1215. Saint Louis did not hesitate to apply it, especially for the sake of integration and forced conversion of Jews to the national community.

King St Louis was the instigator of the last crusades and massacre of Jews in the Holy Land.

France is in state of shock, the Christian world is outraged while muslims are rejoicing on social media.

Jews have nothing to mourn.

And by way of comparison, was the world shocked when on Kristallnacht November 9-10-1938, 1000 synagogues  were destroyed in flames by Nazi Germany, begining of the annihilation of the Jews of Europe?.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Fallen Short"


Senior rabbi, 55, is caught having an 'inappropriate association' with a married woman by a private eye hired by her multi-millionaire husband after he became suspicious of his 'frequent pastoral visits'


  • Yonason Abraham, 55, had an 'inappropriate association with a married woman' 
  • He was forced to quit Toras Chaim synagogue and his position at Beth Din court 
  • He said he had 'fallen short of the standards expected' and he was 'deeply sorry'

Yonason Abraham, 55, was caught having an 'inappropriate relationship with a married woman'. He was forced to quit as rabbi at Toras Chaim synagogue and resigned from his position as a judge at Beth Din court
 Forbidden sexual behaviors, known as gilui arayot, are viewed so negatively that a Jew is obliged to sacrifice one's life before committing them, only 3 transgressions out of 613 fall into this category.

Yonason Abraham, 55, was caught having an 'inappropriate relationship with a married woman'. He was forced to quit as rabbi at Toras Chaim synagogue and resigned from his position as a judge at Beth Din court.

A senior rabbi has been forced to quit his synagogue after an ‘inappropriate association with a married woman’.

Yonason Abraham, 55, said he had ‘fallen short of the standards expected’, adding he was ‘deeply sorry I have let you down’.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis issued a statement saying the ‘shameful episode ... has shaken us to the core’. 

He added: ‘When one of us fails in this manner, we are all greatly diminished.’ The disgraced rabbi is said to have quit over his links with the wife of a millionaire, to whom he gave ‘pastoral support’ in her marital home.

The marriages of both the rabbi and the millionaire were said to have been rocked by the scandal – although it is understood that neither couple has split. 

Rabbi Abraham had founded the Toras Chaim synagogue near Golders Green in north London, and had long been respected as one of the four judges in the London Beth Din court. He has also resigned from this latter role.

His reputation as a devout leader of the Jewish community was questioned last month when he sent his sudden resignation letter to his congregation.

The rabbi said he had been under ‘exceptional strain and stress for some time which has taken its inevitable toll’, adding: ‘I now need to help myself and my family.’ A source close to the community told the Daily Mail: ‘He had got far too close to the glamorous wife of a multi-millionaire and senior figure in the community. 

They have children. She suddenly started receiving a lot of pastoral support from [Rabbi] Abraham at her marital home. It’s said it wasn’t long before he crossed personal and religious boundaries.
‘The husband became so concerned at the rabbi’s frequent visits that he hired a private eye to find out what exactly was going on. 

What he told the husband was enough for him and his wife to face possible divorce – and for the rabbi to resign.’

The source went on: ‘The husband’s hackles were first raised when his wife said she wanted the family to “embrace their faith” more. They attend synagogue like any other family so this seemed to him an odd thing to say.

‘Then there were all the visits from the rabbi, including his using the swimming pool, which on reflection was odd as well as he was supposed to be there to give pastoral support. 

His worst fears were realised when the private eye produced evidence that left him in no doubt the rabbi was behaving inappropriately.

‘It was assumed they were divorcing but somehow they are holding it together. The rabbi’s reputation however has been ruined.

‘I don’t know how his marriage has survived. The fact that he is a judge in the religious court makes this even more embarrassing and hypocritical.’

The millionaire and his wife declined to comment when approached by the Daily Mail with the allegations. Rabbi Abraham also declined to comment.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told rabbis in his statement: ‘A Beth Din [religious judge] must be unimpeachable – anything less is entirely unacceptable.

‘It was for this reason that I, together with the United Synagogue, ensured that the matter was dealt with so swiftly.

‘This shameful episode has been met by many with disbelief and has caused great pain.

‘In addition, there are innocent family members who have been directly affected and whose lives have been devastated by it.’ 

A spokesman for the Chief Rabbi refused to elaborate on the details of the scandal, but dismissed concerns that the Jewish court could face appeals in cases heard by Rabbi Abraham going back years.

The spokesman said: ‘There is no concern about the validity of any previous judgements.’

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ger - The Epitome Of Perversion!

Woman was removed from ultra-Orthodox polling station so top rabbi could vote


Followers of Ger Hassidic dynasty’s leader reportedly called Likud lawmakers to intervene after female polling officer refused to leave her post in Bnei Brak

A polling station in the city of Bnei Brak, Israel on April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A polling station in the city of Bnei Brak, Israel on April 9, 2019
A female Likud election worker was forced out of a polling station in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak during Tuesday’s election at the request of the leader of the Ger Hassidic sect, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, according to a Friday report in Haaretz.

The woman initially refused to leave the polling station, so the rabbi’s followers contacted Likud Knesset members who arranged to have the woman removed, the report said.

The Likud lawmakers sent a male party official to the polling station to replace the woman “while she took a lunch break,” during which time the rabbi cast his ballot.
Sources told Haaretz that when followers of the rabbi noticed the female Likud member at the polling station, they knew it was “going to be an issue right from the beginning.”

 Yaakov Aryeh Alter of the Gur Hassidic Dynasty
“They did almost everything to try to convince her to leave, including offering her money,” the source said.

One of Alter’s followers told Haaretz on Friday that the rabbi did not intend to insult the woman, but saw her presence at the polling station as a “matter of respectability.”

“The Rabbi does not receive women or look at them,” he said.”Its just the same as honoring a special request for a prime minister or president.”

Alter is the Admor, or head, of the Ger Hasidic movement and the powerful patron of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman from the United Torah Judaism party.

The head of the Likud polling committee Yaakov Vidar downplayed the report, saying the party made “manpower changes as needed” during the busy election day.

Ultra-Orthodox communities frequently try and impose a separation between men and women. The two genders sit separately at synagogues and weddings, and women and men who are not relatives refrain from physical contact.

There have also been attempts to enforce gender segregation on public buses, but the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled it illegal, and also frequent instances where ultra-Orthodox men have refused to sit next to women on planes.

It’s not just in person, most of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox media — which includes four daily newspapers, two main weeklies and two main websites — refuse to show images of women, claiming it would be a violation of modesty.


Monday, April 15, 2019

But we can’t use the defense of parent’s “right to choose” to defend yeshivas that severely disadvantage graduates like myself. There is no parental nor communal right or defense for neglecting a child’s education....

Elite private schools help keep yeshivas in Dark Ages


Lawsuit hinders state's effort to ensure basic education at Jewish schools


Roughly 20 years ago I graduated from a Hasidic yeshiva high school that failed to instruct me to read or write in English, or educate me in basic math, science, or history. Today, yeshivas are suing to continue their decades long pattern of educational neglect, without any regard to the suffering of their students. And like Sun Tsu famously wrote, “all warfare is based on deception,” they’re masters at manipulation. But the state and courts must not be blinded by their tactics.

Last November the New York State Education Department revised its guidelines for non-public schools to make sure that all students in New York receive an education that’s up to standard, as required by law. For many years, Hasidic yeshivas have been violating the constitutional rights of their students, ignoring state law, and systematically neglecting the education of their students. Subsequently, over the years, thousands of young Jewish Hasidic boys have been left without even a rudimentary education. Thanks to the efforts of Naftuli Moster, the executive director of Yaffed, and a group of former students and parents, the state finally stepped up its commitment to reasonable oversight.

But what started as an advocacy effort over a social, ethical, and civil injustice has now spiraled into a political and religious battle. In March, a group of Catholic and elite private schools—like Brearley and Spence—filed separate lawsuits to prevent the state from enforcing the guidelines. What is most appalling here is that the Hasidic yeshivas with severe educational deficiencies will benefit while the better private schools battle it out with the state.

One of the basic principles in conflict resolution is remembering to maintain focus on the problem at hand. The court and state must not be sidetracked by these lawsuits. It is unfortunate and even shocking that the elite private and Catholic schools which value education actually filed these lawsuits even though they’d likely easily pass any state inspection. But by fighting these guidelines they are providing cover for non-compliant Hasidic yeshivas and thereby enabling the ongoing and systemic educational neglect of Hasidic children.

Seth Godin, the prolific author, points out that it’s important for organizations not to forget who they are and to continuously reexamine their cultural DNA. In other words, they must ask themselves questions such as who do we serve? And what do those we serve need? His focus is on marketing, but the concept applies here as well. Hasidic yeshivas ought to ask themselves what their goals are and how they define success? Do they really want to be in the business of fighting to keep children uneducated? Do they want to be defined as fighting to weaken educational standards? Do they want to push for a position that will ensure that their graduates are unable to communicate effectively in English? Do they want to create an atmosphere where graduates are limited or fearful to navigate through the world?

No doubt that there is a parental right to educate their children according to their preferred religion and parents should certainly be able to send their children to schools of their choosing. There is also no doubt that many private religious schools are in compliance with the law and do an excellent job in terms of balancing a religious and secular curriculum. But we can’t use the defense of parent’s “right to choose” to defend yeshivas that severely disadvantage graduates like myself. There is no parental nor communal right or defense for neglecting a child’s education.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

‘Monkey, Rat and Pig DNA’: How Misinformation Is Driving the Measles Outbreak Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews

NEW YORK (CBS NewYork) — New York City officials are cracking down on schools in Brooklyn that allow unvaccinated children to attend, telling them to comply or be shut down.

Neighborhood officials said the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg are vaccinated, but because the community is so tightly knit, just a small number of anti-vaxers is allowing this outbreak to grow, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Monday.

“There is no religious exemption on measles,” said Gary Schlesinger, CEO of Parcare Community Health Network. “All rabbis, all prominent rabbis have issued proclamations that everyone should vaccinate.”

THE LATESTHealth Emergency: City Mandates Vaccinations For Children And Adults Or Face $1,000 Fine

Schlesinger is trying to reverse false information being spread about the measles vaccine through the Orthodox community.

“They’re spreading this information through hotlines, some publications. I’ve seen some mailings,” Schlesinger said.

Since the measles outbreak began in October, the Department of Health says there have been 285 reported cases in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, 246 of which are children. And so far, 21 people have been hospitalized.

As a result, the health department now says any yeshiva school in Williamsburg allowing unvaccinated students to attend will face fines or possibly be shut down.

“If you ask me, I say do it. Immunize your child, save lives,” one resident said.

“It has nothing to do with Judaism. People are afraid. It’s damaging. People are afraid of the medicine,” another person said.

City Councilman Stephen Levin represents Williamsburg.

“Every child has to be registered and we can work with the schools to do this,” Levin said.

MORERockland County Officials Searching For Solution To Ongoing Measles Outbreak

In Rockland County, there have been 167 confirmed cases of measles. On Friday, a Supreme Court judge blocked an executive order banning unvaccinated children from public places.

“It’s happening around New York state. It’s only going to spread unless we fix the problems in the system, and the problems are we have way too lax of a requirement,” state Sen. David Carlucci said.
New York City ordered yeshivas to ban unvaccinated students in December, but said one in Williamsburg did not comply and has since been linked to more than 40 cases.

“Oversight from one of the administrators who thought the breakout had stopped,” Schlesinger said. “But by now, I’ve spoken to many administrators. Most of them … all of them are very strict about the orders.”

So will this plan be more effective?

“I’m going to be focusing on this and putting out a bigger plan,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “But right now we’re going to have inspectors out. We have clear penalties, clear sanctions.”

Neighborhood officials said it is particularly important for members of this community to get vaccinated now because next week families will be gathering for the start of Passover.


‘Monkey, Rat and Pig DNA’: How Misinformation Is Driving the Measles Outbreak Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews


A handbook created by Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health. “It is our belief that there is no greater threat to public health than vaccines,” the handbook states.  

Handbooks distributed in some Jewish communities in New York, as well as messages on hotlines, contradict the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and highly effective.

  • “The Vaccine Safety Handbook” appears innocuous, a slick magazine for parents who want to raise healthy children. But tucked inside its 40 pages are false warnings that vaccines cause autism and contain cells from aborted human fetuses. 

    “It is our belief that there is no greater threat to public health than vaccines,” the publication concludes, contradicting the scientific consensus that vaccines are generally safe and highly effective.

    The handbook, created by a group called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or Peach, is targeted at ultra-Orthodox Jews, whose expanding and insular communities are at the epicenter of one of the largest measles outbreaks in the United States in decades.


    Tuesday, April 09, 2019

    “This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference in Williamsburg

    After Measles Outbreak, de Blasio Declares Health Emergency in Parts of Brooklyn


    New York City on Tuesday declared a health emergency following a measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn

    New York City on Tuesday declared a public health emergency following a measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would require unvaccinated individuals living in select ZIP codes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to receive the measles vaccine as the city escalated its efforts to stem one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades.

    The mayor said that the city would issue violations and possibly fines for those who did not comply.

    “This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference in Williamsburg, adding, “The measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested.”

    “What about the people who clean and sweep in the school?” argued Kamenetzky. “They are mostly Mexican and are unvaccinated. If there was a problem, the children would already have gotten sick.” “I see vaccinations as the problem. It’s a hoax. Even the Salk vaccine [against polio] is a hoax. It is just big business.”


    Monday, April 08, 2019

    "We have no right to regard ourselves as a religious community if we do not establish a mechanism for dealing with abuse within the rabbinate"....

    We need a proper, transparent way of holding our mediocre (& WORSE) rabbis to account!


    Rabbis can get away with poor performance because the profession is not properly regulated

      Daniel Greenberg
      by Daniel Greenberg 
      (Greenberg's point is eloquent without the harsher language he could have resorted to. Abraham has violated one of the harshest sins --- which as the Halacha clearly says one must be subject to "y'harog v'al y'aavor."He clearly is frustrated with a system that has overlooked Abraham's conduct which has been going on for years. PM)

      Here we go again: another rabbinic departure to sweep under the extraordinarily capacious carpet of Anglo Jewry.

      Dayan Yonason Abraham abruptly left Toras Chaim Synagogue in Hendon because, in his words, he had "fallen short of the standards expected of him", but no further information has been forthcoming.

      The impression seems to be that, whatever we do, this must be hushed up as quickly as possible and, in particular, let's hope it doesn't get into the national press, because the Eleventh Commandment of Anglo Jewry over the decades has been “thou shalt not wash dirty linen in public”.

      The problem is that, as we have seen time and again, private laundries don't wash.

      No one has confirmed what Dayan Abraham may have done to warrant his departure. It is true that instances of misbehaviour by the Anglo-Jewish rabbinate are relatively rare, although less rare than one would hope given the nature of the vocation. But looked at in the round, the rabbinic cadre is for the most part mediocre at best and significantly under-performing at worst.

      While there are a number of community rabbis who are extraordinarily inspiring in their dedication to their community and tireless in its service, they are the exception rather than the rule.

      The perception held by some that the quality of the communal rabbinate is in general superb rests largely on the low standards expected of them, and the lack of transparency and accountability around their role that encourages a culture of flourishing mediocrity.

      Sometimes when I am being told how wonderful a communal rabbi is because he visited somebody in hospital or gave thorough attention to a family wedding or funeral, I point out that this is precisely what they have been paid for: and with many rabbis on remuneration packages amounting to actual or full-time equivalent salaries that many of their communities can only dream of, when one calculates an hourly rate for their performance, the heroism of spending several hours a day visiting their parishioners in hospital suddenly appears in context to be nothing more than simply performing their job in the way that the rest of us have to do without the compensation of uncritical adulation.

      In part, this is because the expectations of communities have become matched to their experiences over time. And perhaps because it is “public money”, synagogue boards are less rigorous in determining what value for money they are getting day by day from their rabbi than they would be in other professional circumstances.

      But the main reason why rabbis can perform poorly and get away with is because there simply are no properly regulated standards for the rabbinic profession.

      While contracts have become more detailed and, to some extent, restrictive than they used to be, there is no systematic method of regulation or enforcement to support the greater detail on those contracts.

      If I am unimpressed or offended by the performance of my doctor, my lawyer, my dentist or any other trained professional, there is a clear method by which I can complain. And that applies to simple under-performance as much as to rarer cases of misconduct or impropriety. 

      There is no professional body that regulates the rabbis in a transparent and accountable way and investigates complaints. In extreme cases I can of course complain to the Chief Rabbi – whose dedication and commitment to the community and to the quality of the rabbinate is well-known – but there is no mechanism for him to make a transparent and accountable investigation and produce publicly identifiable results.

      This is simply unacceptable in today's world. 

      Even judges are now subject to an unaccountable and public investigatory mechanism for misconduct or significant under-performance (such as unreasonable delay in producing written judgments) and the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, far from diminishing the reputation of the judges, ensures that they can be seen to earn the respect that the system requires them to be accorded.

      Exactly the same is true of the rabbis; and in order to preserve the reputation of hard-working, honest and decent rabbis, it is now overdue that we have a proper mechanism for dealing with those who underperform or misbehave.

      Over the last few years a number of UK rabbis have behaved improperly and in some cases have left behind victims suffering from their behaviour in a number of different ways. The reaction of the community has been to enjoy a passing scandal, but beyond that the establishment has raced to cover up the wider picture and the mechanisms of reputational damage-limitation have taken precedence over thoughts about support and care for victims and imposing enforceable standards.

      We have no right to regard ourselves as a religious community if we do not establish a mechanism for dealing with abuse within the rabbinate, and accountable and transparent ways for people to address inadequate performance, so that we can go back to respecting the rabbis as a group knowing that those who deserve respect will receive it and those who don’t will be dealt with appropriately.

      Daniel Greenberg is a lawyer specialising in legislation and the legislative process. He has 30 years experience in the private and public sectors dealing with legislation. He was a Parliamentary Counsel for 20 years; he is now an officer in the House of Commons, and a writer, trainer and adviser.


    Sunday, April 07, 2019

    "Best Guy in Lakewood" Is Not What It Used To Be!

    Sex Offender In Ocean County Accused Of Sharing Child Porn 


    The man is accused of soliticting a nude photo from a young girl, the prosecutor said.

    By Karen Wall, Patch Staff |

    Samuel Schwinger, 34, of Lakewood, was on probation in connection with a previous conviction, prosecutors said.
    Samuel Schwinger, 34, of Lakewood, was on probation in connection with a previous conviction, prosecutors said. (Via Ocean County Prosecutor's Office) 
    LAKEWOOD, NJ — A registered sex offender living in Lakewood has been charged with creating and distributing child pornography following an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

    Samuel Schwinger, 34, of Lakewood, was arrested Friday, Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said. Schwinger was arrested following an investigation that started in Oklahoma after the parents of a young girl contacted the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Department saying their daughter had been contacted by someone in New Jersey posing as a young girl asking her to send explicit videos of herself.

    Oklahoma authorities traced the request to a phone number and account registered to Schwinger, Billhimer said. A search warrant was obtained and executed Friday evening at Schwinger's residence in Lakewood, he said.

    Schwinger was serving 10 years probation in connection with a sexual assault in New York Billhimer said, and following the investigation was charged with possession of marijuana along with production of images/videos of children under the age of 16 engaged in prohibited sexual acts, distribution of images/videos of children under the age of 16 engaged in prohibited sexual acts, and possession of of images/videos of children under the age of 16 engaged in prohibited sexual acts.

    Schwinger is being held at the Ocean County Jail, the prosecutor's office said.

    "Prosecutor Billhimer would like to thank the swift work of the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Department, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Computer Crimes Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Megan's Law Unit, Lakewood Police Department, New Jersey State Police and United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations," the prosecutor's office said.


    Friday, April 05, 2019

    Look Mommy - "Goyim" Have Gedolim Too!

    ROCKLAND COUNTY, New York — Joe Hendrick’s sons are part of a growing number of children in the U.S. who haven't been vaccinated. Their family decided against vaccines for reasons that mix a firm belief in personal freedom with scientifically unconfirmed concerns about what’s inside vaccines.

    But Hendrick is now facing a first-of-its-kind ultimatum: Get his kids vaccinated or keep them out of all public places. And if he doesn't, he could face a potential punishment of six months in jail, although county officials and police admit that'll be hard to enforce.

     "I'd rather move and make sure my family is safe and, you know, we have the right to choose for ourselves instead of being forced into something that could potentially hurt my child," Hendrick said.

    Rockland County, New York, (Monsey, Spring Valley, New Square) has seen 161 confirmed cases of measles, one of the most contagious diseases known to man. Last week, the county declared a state of emergency after six months of uncooperative people hanging up the phone, closing the door on inspectors, and refusing to report cases.

    Patricia Ruppert, the Rockland County health commissioner, said that many more cases like exist that the county doesn't even know about.

     While 98 percent of the cases to date have been among Orthodox Jewish residents who live in tight-knit enclaves, the health department is fighting to communicate to the county that every single unvaccinated person, regardless of faith, bears responsibility for potential spread. Newborns who haven't been vaccinated, pregnant mothers, and people going through chemotherapy are all vulnerable.

    In the interim, Hendrick has chosen homeschooling over vaccination. He's now juggling that with his job and a two-week old newborn child. His wife is also on maternity leave.

    "Oh, it's gonna make it next to impossible to do work," Hendrick said of the ban.

    VICE News traveled to Rockland County, where officials are trying to reach people who have put personal choice over public health.

    This segment originally aired April 3, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.


    9 Measles Cases As 2019 Outbreak Grows: DOH

    The outbreak has spread beyond Ocean County, state health department officials said. Read the list of sites of possible exposures.

    By Karen Wall, Patch Staff | |

    There are 11 cases total in New Jersey but two are not related to the Ocean County outbreak.
    There are 11 cases total in New Jersey but two are not related to the Ocean County outbreak
    The measles outbreak in Ocean County continues to spread: state health department officials say there are now nine confirmed cases of measles — seven in Ocean County and two in Monmouth County. At least three counties have been impacted, officials say.

    In an update on the state Department of Health website, officials said they are continuing to track and investigate the outbreak declared March 15. Those confirmed cases and one "highly suspect case" may have exposed others to infection between March 9 and March 14.

    Read more: Measles Outbreak In New Jersey: Potential Exposure In 3 Counties

    An outbreak in Ocean County that started in late October and stretched to mid-January sickened 33 people. Health department officials have not indicated a connection between the two outbreaks. More than 12,400 doses of vaccine were distributed in response to the October outbreak.

    Read more: 33 Measles Cases As Ocean County Outbreak Spikes
    Anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed to measles:

    • Congregation Bais Tefilla, 33 East 8th St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 9, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
      • March 10, 11, 13, 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Beth Medrash Govoha, Bais Yitzchok Hall, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 10, 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
      • March 13 from 12:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Beth Medrash Govoha, Yoshon Hall, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 10, 11 from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
      • March 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
    • Beth Hamedrash Zichron Binyomin, 701 Princeton Ave, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 9 from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
      • March 10, 11 from 9:30 p.m. to midnight each night
      • March 13 from 10:45 p.m. to 1:15 a.m.
    • Lake Terrace Hall, 1690 Oak St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 11 from 10 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.
    • Kol Shimshon, 323 Squankum Rd, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 12 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
      • March 12 from 9 p.m. to 11:15 p.m.
    • Bais Medrash Tiferes Pinchos, East 5th St and Negba St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal B
      • March 14 from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
    • Tottini Kidswear, 204 Clifton Ave, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 10 from 12 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
    • Clover, 115 Clifton Ave, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Kidichic, 251 2nd St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
      • March 10 from 1:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Monmouth Medical Center, Emergency Department, 300 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740
      • March 13 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.
    The department is working in collaboration with local health officials to identify and notify people who might have been exposed during the time the individuals were infectious. Anyone who visited any of the locations above during specified dates and times should contact a health provider immediately to discuss potential exposure and risk of developing the illness.

    If you have been exposed, you are at risk if you have not been vaccinated or have not had measles. Individuals potentially exposed, if infected, could develop symptoms as late as April 21.

    Anyone who suspects an exposure is urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.