Monday, April 01, 2019

The (Pre) Easter Post!

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation in Jerusalem . While they were there, the wife passed away. The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her buried here in the Holy Land for $150 or we can have her shipped back home for $5000.

The husband thought about it and told the undertaker he would have her shipped back home. The undertaker asked him, "why would you spend $5000 to have her shipped home when you could have a beautiful burial here, and it would only cost $150???"

The husband replied, "Long ago, a man died here, was buried here, and three days later, rose from the dead.

 I just can’t take that chance!"

It's Those Self-Hating Jews Again at The New York Times...What Can They Possibly Know Without Torah?

An Outbreak Spreads Fear: Of Measles, of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, of Anti-Semitism


A measles outbreak in a New York suburb has sickened scores of people and stoked long-smoldering tensions between the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and the secular world at large.

In Rockland County, children under 18 who have not been vaccinated against measles are barred from public places

In Rockland County, children under 18 who have not been vaccinated against measles are barred from public places

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — Erica Wingate was working at a clothing store in town this week when a male customer, with the black hat and sidelocks typically worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews, started coughing. 

Another shopper standing next to him suddenly dropped the item she had been holding and clutched her child. “She was buying something, and she just threw it down,” Ms. Wingate recalled. “She said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go! Jews don’t have shots!’”

A measles outbreak in this suburban New York county has sickened scores of people and alarmed public health experts who fear it may be a harbinger of the growing influence of the anti-vaccine movement. But it has also intensified long-smoldering tensions between the rapidly expanding and insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and secular society. 

The authorities here in Rockland County have traced the spread of measles to ultra-Orthodox families whose children have not been vaccinated.

And so some residents say they now wipe public bus seats and cross the street when they see ultra-Orthodox Jews. Hasidic leaders said they feared not only a rise in anti-Semitism but an invasion of their cloistered community by the authorities under the guise of public health.

On Tuesday, county officials took the extraordinary step of announcing a state of emergency, barring unvaccinated children under 18 from public places, including restaurants, shopping centers, houses of worship and schools. 

“They did it to themselves,” Ms. Wingate said, referring to the Hasidic people who have refused to vaccinate. “But I feel terrible for everyone.”

The emergency order has emerged as a flash point in a continuing clash in Rockland County, a collection of five towns just northwest of New York City with a combined population of more than 300,000 people. 

About 31 percent of the population is Jewish, according to the state, and includes one of the largest concentrations of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the country. The surge in the ultra-Orthodox population has been driven in part by Hasidic families from Queens and Brooklyn, where there has also been an outbreak.

Some suburbanites are concerned about the changes to their neighborhoods caused by new enclaves of high density developments intended to accommodate the often large size of Hasidic families. In some places, the influx has upended the housing market, causing some non-Orthodox buyers to seek homes elsewhere. Parents have also clashed over whether the Orthodox community has exerted disproportionate influence on public schools and siphoned funding to its yeshivas

But while those tensions were once buffered by yeshiva walls and eruvim, the symbolic perimeters around Hasidic enclaves, the outbreak of measles, which is highly contagious, cannot be kept to such boundaries. 

“I think that for the most part people have been just annoyed — in certain parts of the county you can’t buy a house or can’t sell your house,” said Jessica Finnegan, 32, who was pushing her eight-month-old son, Kieran, in his stroller through a Target store in Spring Valley. The store had been previously identified by officials as one place where people may have been exposed to measles. The outbreak of the disease began in October.

Erica Wingate, right, said she felt “terrible for everyone” involved in the measles outbreak in Rockland County
She had Kieran immunized six months earlier than the recommended age, because of the outbreak, she said. “But now they are affecting us, which I think could get nasty.”

Still, Ms. Finnegan said she feared the emergency measure would spur a backlash against her Orthodox friends and neighbors. “I think this could really start something,” she said. “What if someone decided to take this into their own hands?”

Ever since the public health declaration, Aron B. Wieder, a legislator in Rockland County and a prominent member of the Hasidic community, has fielded nonstop phone calls from fellow Hasidim fearful of being vilified, he said. 

“The conception that is out there is completely distorted, and that is, that the Orthodox community for the most part don’t vaccinate their children, and that is not true,” Mr. Wieder added. “The county executive had a moral obligation to point these things out.”

An unfounded fear of vaccines has spread around the world in recent years, with childhood vaccination rates reportedly declining in several countries as a result. Nothing in the belief system of Orthodox Jews makes them any more likely to oppose vaccines, and several Orthodox rabbinical organizations have called on parents to vaccinate their children. But Hasidic Jews are prey to the same misinformation that has affected others, and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis have come out against vaccines.  This is the same genius who tells sexual abuse victims to go to their rabbis for discussions...maybe tosfos says somewhere that it's not really abuse!

“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.”


(Anyone ask R' Shmuel Kaminetzky of the Philadelphia Yeshiva, if he has one kid in their school that has not been vaccinated?)

Mr. Wieder, who said he first learned about the order in news reports, felt that the exclusion of the Hasidim from the decision-making process was emblematic of the divisions in the county and would only sow more mistrust. “When you have people who are true haters,” he said, “they will take advantage of this type of situation and it just pours fuel on the fire.”