Despite Measles Warnings, Anti-Vaccine Rally Draws Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

A “vaccine symposium” in Rockland County was denounced by health authorities and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who said the speakers were spreading dangerous propaganda.

Comments: 229

  1. In "Rats, Lice and History" it was shown that disease was as significant a factor in conquering nations as military warfare. Could anti vaccination misinformation be a form of biological warfare? Hostile agents may be using the internet to spread doubt about vaccinations in order to reintroduce diseases that were virtually eradicated into a immune-weakened society.

  2. @Dr. OutreAmour It's more likely the Russians just want to spread fear and mistrust of US and State Government entities. The ultimate goal is dissolution of the Federal government.

  3. @Dr. OutreAmour Oh, absolutely. Hostile agents are everywhere! I see them skulking in corners as I walk down the street, them in their black clothes and felt hats. Hostile agents. Terrifying, aren't they?

  4. @Dr. OutreAmour They're doing it to themselves.

  5. While the direction of history leads us towards globalism and the idea that we're all connected and dependent on one another to thrive and live a meaningful life, there is an opposing trend toward tribalism. Tribalism is an expression of our growing inability to comprehend and trust information which may represent the proprietary interests of corporations, political leaders, and others who seeminly or in practice would use their power to satisfy a self-serving agenda. Fear, not knowledge, is the breeding ground of tribalism. Fear is available today in abundant supply, and it undermines the strength of our institutions. We must restore trust in government, something that Russia and Republicanism have long sought to attack.

  6. What is it that leads people to believe one narrative, and dismiss another as a conspiracy theory? I recall a conversation where an acquaintance and I discussed vaccines, both of us poking fun at anti-vaxxers. The next moment, we were in a heated argument whether cellphone radiation caused cancer. To me, the science and simple statistics simply did not support those claims. To her, this was an obvious cover-up where the big money had clearly manipulated the science. That conversation did not end on a pleasant note.

  7. @Jake It's all ego. Inability to analyze opinions while realizing that you are imperfect. People protect their ego while hurting themselves all of the time. Look at the way people bend over backwards to defend 45-- I have seen people personally affected by his specific policies and they optimistically indicate that the suffering is short term and he has a big plan and this is just the painful part before all of the winning happens.

  8. Why is it legal to forgo vaccines? Either we make it required by law to have vaccines or there will always be groups of various types that resist vaccines. There would be people who favor all kinds of things if we did not have certain laws.

  9. @Gerold Ashburry well, there must always be some wiggle room for a few exemptions. I am disabled, have been from birth. It wasn’t anything that prevented me from getting vaccinated, thank goodness, but I have known many people who have had problems receiving them due to auto-immune problems from other disabilities. This is one of the main arguments FOR vaccines. These people and the elderly who may have lost some of their immunity over time. Or for those with cancer with lowered immunity. But as long as the group gets it, you are right. I would not be against your suggestion. But a medical, true medical and not philosophical, exemption is required in some cases, I believe.

  10. Isn't there a simpler solution? Why not either charge higher insurance premiums to those families who refuse immunizations or exclude from coverage any cost of treating illnesses caused by immunization-preventable diseases contracted as a result of failure to get immunized? Why should we be forced to pay for the costs of treating immunization-preventable diseases in those who are irrational and refuse to be socially responsible?

  11. @CL The problem with a solution like this is it's not just about penalizing them, but protecting society as a whole. That includes not only things like medical costs, but also ensuring that everyone who can be vaccinated is vaccinated. There are some who legitimately cannot receive it and they shouldn't be further endangered.

  12. @CA Much like in other areas of life, there can be medical exemptions in this plan. All it takes is a doc signing off with one of the excused medical conditions.

  13. @CL No. What? So let the kids die? Not the kid’s fault their parents are being mislead and are incurious.

  14. Andrew Wakefield was found to have egregious conflicts of interest that prompted his views and his research methods has been proven to be faulty and his so-called findings thoroughly erroneous. His severe ethical shortcomings caused him to be struck from the British medical registry. The fact that this group chose to showcase him in their meeting tells you all you need to know about their motives and intentions.

  15. It's important to note here that "religion" is at the core of this debacle. Because this group is a religious group, religion is being selected as being the subject of public ire. My 50+ year observation of the "religious" has brought me to the conclusion that people who are "devout" believers [such as some of these Jewish groups and Christian evangelicals] are in general intellectually and scientifically challenged. And that occurs because religion generally encourages anti-intellectualism and a lack of scientific literacy. Who needs science to provide answers to anything when their god is omniscient and omnipotent? All they have to do is read and listen to religious doctrine and dogma. Like or not, these groups represent a public threat. But how can one reign in a public threat when the constitution guarantees protection for their beliefs? There comes a time as circumstances change and knowledge accumulates that historical documents REQUIRE revision. And if anything in the Constitution needs review, the 1st Amendment is certainly one. People can certainly believe what they want, but public safety should take precedence over personal beliefs. Especially beliefs that are rooted in mythology and not scientifically demonstrable. Those beliefs should take a subordinate stance to public safety and what is scientifically knowable.

  16. @Wes County and City officials can, and in my opinion should, place the entire community in quarantine. It's been done in the past for polio and tuberculosis, why not for several weeks for measles?

  17. @Wes Was your use of the word "reign" a slip of the tongue?

  18. @Wes If your takeway is that 'religion is the problem', you've got a problem. Most of the Orthodox, including myself, my family, and our community, are fully immunized. Jewish religious law is clear: you should vaccinate. The problem here is that these people have no understanding of science or critical thinking skills.

  19. Teach a man to believe in supernatural beings and you can make him believe in anything under the sun. The conversation stops there because science will never win when religions are in the fray.

  20. @Rod Zimmerman A majority of Americans believe in God, most get vaccinated.

  21. Always great to get healthcare advice from religious leaders!

  22. @Eric especially from religious leaders who don't believe in evolution.

  23. Why aren't the promoters of these conspiracy theories, held accountable for the damages they've caused? Someone is profiteering off of this, otherwise why would they do it? Liability for one's actions is something that seems to be passé in 21st Century America.

  24. @kladinvt First it's called Freedom of Speech. And who are the "damaged"? Mostly members of their own community. I have no problem with a civil law suit, for example, by the parents of a child stricken by measles who comes from outside their community, and suffers actual harm (not simply getting sick from measles) The only profit here is control or power. (I will ignore the profits of Big Pharma for selling the vaccine, because that is a different argument altogether)

  25. @LesISmore They are not only harming members of their own community. My daughter lives is an adjacent neighborhood in Brooklyn. (She is Jewish, but not Hasidic, if that matters). She was recently contacted by public health department to make sure she has been vaccinated since she was exposed to the measles at the doctor's office last week. When she was an infant, she had severe health problems that left her immune system compromised. If she were still in that health status, she would be in real danger right now.

  26. Let us have no more of this tedious point-by-point refutation. It reinforces, through repetition, the very lies it seeks to knock down. "If they went to all that trouble," says the troll, "that proves I'm on to something." A paradox? You bet. But that's how the internet works. Case in point: Trump, Donald J.

  27. So now it's a conspiracy by the government because of Central Americans in the U.S.? Another tool for Trump to increase the drumbeats against anyone with darker skin. Anything to rev up the baseless anti-semitic accusations. As a Jew, I am appalled.

  28. The blind leading the blind. Religion apparently *is* the opiate of the masses (in this case).

  29. Hundreds of unvaccinated people together in a room during a measles epidemic. What could possibly go wrong?

  30. "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose."

  31. The paranoids have met their enemy and it is them.

  32. Have we not learned anything from our own history? As a Jew, I find it beyond appalling that false propaganda is irresponsibly disseminated by people who were, and still are, victims of ultimately deadly falsehoods themselves.

  33. This is what happens when an insular community in which people have very little in the way of general education and know almost nothing about science yet believe that the outside world is deceitful and corrupting while they and themselves answer to a higher moral authority and therefore know better are exposed to lies and fraudulent claims. The fact that their leaders are tacitly supportive of these false claims will come back to bite them as the virus spreads as well as the attachment to outside unscrupulous authorities.

  34. If Madoff, Weinstein, Weiner, Spitzer, Moonves etc. weren't enough, now we have influential elements in the Hasidic community in their incomprehensible blindness joining the above in doing their best to inspire further anti-semitism already on the rise in the US and around the world. If this measles outbreak continues to increase and the anti vaccine Jewish population continues on its social and medical suicide mission, just one death could unleash a backlash that will set back the battle against anti-semitism for decades.

  35. Zealots, no matter their stripe, are always a problem.

  36. All New Yorkers, including children in Hasidic yeshivas, must be required to received the secular education required by the NYS Education Law. With an understanding of history and biology, more people in the ultra-Orthodox community will understand the value of immunizations. With education, they can also better recognize the "fake news" that is being spread by the anti-vaxxers and their religious supporters. The fake news about vaccinations is being used for the political purpose of increasing the power of the Hasidic Bloc's leadership. The fake news calls governmental officials anti-Semitic for taking the side of public health. Urging the Hasidic community to unite against the evils of the outside world, and all that is foreign to it, is a very anti-democratic and anti-American stance.

  37. Posting the photograph of the women in the audience is unfortunate. Why did you not use photographs of the men who organized, supported and spoke at this event.

  38. @mutabilis they are on the other side of the curtain

  39. @marty People on the podium not women and men in the audience.

  40. @mutabilis The reporter is a woman. She was not allowed to mingle with or even be in the presence of ultra-Orthodox men.

  41. Behold the faces of ignorance. Time to educate!!!! If that is not possible, time to incentivize, lest that fail coerce by restriction. Just like with do with cigarettes. If you don't want to vaccinate you will not be allowed in public areas where transmission is probable, schools, hospitals, etc. The same thing should apply to adults too particularly in colleges, all colleges should require Meningitis vaccinations for example, they should also probably require vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis too.

  42. Rabbi Handler does his people no good by lying to them. Claiming his people are victimized in this way is victimizing the children of his community and the equally-innocent children of others.

  43. How does a religion have a basis for not vaccinating when it morally and ethically affects the most sick and vulnerable who are not medically able to be vaccinated.

  44. @Linda It's definitely not a Jewish religious tenant to not vaccinate. It is just an ignorance-based fear tenant. These people are embarrassing other members of the Jewish community (myself included).

  45. @HRD "Tenet," not "tenant."

  46. What better way is there for an identified/identifiable minority to get itself attacked/ostracized/quarantined than by threatening the health and lives of the majority's children? If this minority feels persecuted, they will say "See, see, we are being persecuted". Cognitive dissonance does not allow their view to see themselves as part of a larger culture. The religious exemption must be removed. In past times, spreaders of disease were quarantined. This is what they expect. How do we not give them what they expect? A conundrum. By the way, I'm Jewish.

  47. @Howard The Amish have some nutty practices, too, but those don't define Christianity generally. I hope the culture has become sophisticated enough to be able to tease apart different strands of a larger tradition.

  48. @Howard. I think this is true, and that a lot of people, Christians too, want to play the role of the persecuted. Maybe because if you play the role of the persecuted you are not responsible for the ills of society at large - you are immune, so to speak, and don't have to shoulder any blame nor any responsibility. Of course some people really are and have been persecuted, but the desire to stretch that role as far and thin as possible is very strong in American society.

  49. The. Don’t send your kids to public schools or parks or public spaces. If you are entitled to your beliefs, the rest of rational society is entitled to health and lack of illness.

  50. Shows what hysteria is all about. These people just have no foundation for their fears. As far as I am concerned they need to be isolated from the rest of us until the Measles season (if there is one) passes so they do not negatively affect all their neighbors. If they want their children to risk at the worst brain damage they can speak, but they do not speak for the majority and they still owe us an obligation -- that is to keep from infecting our children...

  51. As a physician and a Jew I am deeply saddened by the mishegos of the ultra-orthodox community in Monsey. Where are the respected other rebbes speaking out against this craziness? This is the only way it will end.

  52. A tactic of the far right, that of spreading false information, is now being used by a group frequently the target of far right false information, the Jews. Not from the Torah, but always good advice: "As you sow, so shall you reap". In the vernacular, "What goes around, comes around."

  53. It would appear that Hasidim while actively putting their own community at risk are quick to see any interference as outrageous prejudice. At the same time they are quick to blame new South American immigrants as bringing in diseases that they maintain are far worse. Massive hypocrisy linked with massive ignorance rarely moves the world forward.

  54. @Tony Francis You assume that want to move the world "forward". To them, there is no "forward". There is only preservation and struggle versus the outsider who wishes to distance them from their God. "Progress" and "Forwardness" are not values they share. They believe that all such things are Satan's or Iblis' or whoever's work and cannot be trusted. They learn that Satan is sneaky and shrewd and will come to you in many forms, and tempt you in many ways. Also, Satan will occasionally appear outright and boldly declare their intent to do unwilling things to you or your community of fellow Chosen Ones. It's all very confusing because sometimes the sources are trusted governmental officials who you helped get into office that your leaders said would protect you. Such groups as these are extremely good at counter-parsing words that are said to them, and will use your rhetoric against you typically better than you use it. They know this, because Satan is first a trickster, and you must learn to trick him better. His first attacks are always with words, and words don't actually hurt you if you know how to defend yourself. So, rhetorical debate is a hallmark of such people. And for the ones who are not good at it in the group, their instincts are honed by knowing this is true, and by the simple fact that people who don't look like you are not to be trusted a priori. This is a very hard nut to crack, and it won't begin to crack until children die.

  55. It's a matter of preventing the spread of a serious disease. They can feel free to die for their beliefs; I would rather not die for their beliefs.

  56. Sure hope nobody there had the measles.

  57. @William Mansfield I bet the majority of them actually had been vaccinated.

  58. Hundreds of unvaccinated people together in a room during a measles epidemic. What could possibly go wrong?

  59. @Evan worse, the adults are probably all vaccinated. They choose not to protect their children while they, most likely, have immunity.

  60. Who is paying the fees and travel expenses for these "experts"? Follow the money. I hope the NY State AG's office is on the case.

  61. Just another example of how religion taints logical thinking.

  62. Andrew Wakefield rears his ugly head again! The man who fabricated data and launched the anti-vaccine idiocy is at it again. He should be locked up or quarantined, without access to any person or media outlet. He is no less a danger than a measles infected carrier among the unvaccinated. In fact, he is more dangerous.

  63. Refusing to have one's children immunized is child abuse.

  64. As a grandparent of a beautiful four month-old baby girl who lives in Rockland County, and is too young to be vaccinated, I find this report to be infuriating. I believe that people should have religious freedom, but not at the expense of others. My granddaughter's parents have been careful to avoid Target, Costco and the Palisades Mall, which is an unfortunate infringement on their rights. Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinates should be held accountable. This story reminds me of articles about polio outbreaks that occurred in Pakistan and northern Nigeria a few years in areas controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. It is interesting that religious fundamentalists of all stripes are quick to discard the rights of others.

  65. @Steve Anderson I am in agreement with you, 100% "It is interesting that religious fundamentalists of all stripes are quick to discard the rights of others." They think they know better, or maybe that God whispers in their ear. That is why the Founding Fathers wisely added the First Amendment to the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ... People should not try to convert their religious beliefs into legislation that would affect all of us. That is unconstitutional. But unfortunately, there is no law against stupidity, and no law that prevents people from individual acting on that stupidity. There are, and should be, laws that prevent (or place limitations on) acts that threaten the community.

  66. @Steve Anderson When you are "chosen" all the others in the world are not human. They are animals to be controlled or ignored, used or attacked. They do not accept the concept of laws. They need to be quarantined. It's certainly coming, and not soon enough.

  67. Before vaccinations were available I was subjected - at five years of age- to the measles, German measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox. As a result of the measles I have suffered a life long hearing loss. I have had to wear hearing aids all my life. This is only one side effect of this disease. Why aren't the educated doctors in Monsey emphasizing the debilitating side effects and eliminating the victimization of their innocent children?

  68. @Suzanne The doctors in Rockland County and Monsey are emphasizing the importance and safety of vaccines. This is a vocal fringe group that brought in outside people to speak. I, my children and my grandchildren are all vaccinated. I live in Monsey and I am an Orthodox Jew, All my friends children are vaccinated.

  69. This is another example of bearing the consequences of others beliefs. Our choices in life are often dictated by the morals and religious beliefs that we do not necessarily share. I am a firm believer of getting vaccinated, not only for myself, but To protect my loved ones and the general public. Possibly exposing others to disease based on religious beliefs is selfish.

  70. Dear New York, You’re endangering the rest of the country. Please catch up with the rest of us, science-wise. Signed, your fellow US Citizens

  71. @Scientist Dear San Diego, you realize it's happening in California too, right? See: Los Angeles

  72. @Scientist look at the problems in the schools in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Nevada City, Arcadia and Sausalito last year where they found nearly 30% of all the kindergarteners had some sort of “medical exemptions” from vaccinations. You tell me, do you really believe that one third of all the kids there have physical problems preventing them from immunization? This is an entitlement thing in these parents eyes, no matter whose you view it from and it is not limited by coast or border.

  73. Ignorance is bliss. Another bunch of fake news being peddled about vaccinations. Measles is no joke and a serious disease. When will the idiocy stop?

  74. @Chris Its a viral infection not a disease.

  75. @free Is that serious? If so, you're wrong. Measles is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus.

  76. Viral infections that cause illness are, by definition, diseases. Measles ain’t some benign little critter that crawls in yer ear and teaches you Sanskrit, you know.

  77. Yet another depressing example of willful ignorance based on religious beliefs. Will no one rid us of of these turbulent priests? (and rabbis).

  78. @JWT NOT 'based on religious beliefs'. Halacha requires one to protect one's own and the community's health. This is about willful ignorance, not religion.

  79. @Comp Good point. Thank you for that. But please note that the religious requirements of Halacha were not high on the list of the hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews who attended the anti-vaccine rally in Monsey, putting their children and those of others at risk. Surely, for them, this is about religion.

  80. Once again, ignorance rules. Do we need another Denis Diderot to begin a new Enlightenment in this country?

  81. Andrew Wakefield is no longer a doctor. His British medical license to practice medicine was revoked.

  82. To quote your article "An ultra-Orthodox rabbi falsely described the measles outbreak among Jews as part of an elaborate plan concocted by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York to deflect attention from “more serious” diseases brought by Central American migrants." I guess racism know no religious boundaries. Help settle this through incentives. Israel and America should deny anyone a passport who cannot provide proof of vaccination.

  83. This is a volatile and precarious situation as it involves resistance from a severely insular group of othodox women whose insularity is a feeding ground for conspiracy theories and religious propaganda. These women are restricted and oppressed by ideology that separates the genders. There exists in those communities a "ritual scrupulousness" and a belief that men and women should be separated. There is a park in Kiryas Joel in N Y in which the boys and girls are separated. A man's role is to study the Torah, and time with women distracts him from that. They even ride separate buses. Zumbah was declared to be at odds with the Torah for the women in an all womens' class with a female instructor. This is like trying to talk sense into someone who just stepped out of a spaceship from another planet. Rationality will not supercede centuries old religious dogma and tradition. The full force of the law must be used to insure vaccination. The orthodox community is entitled to its archaic beliefs and values but that freedom does not include the right to endanger anyone else's children.

  84. @Patricia Caiozzo I don't believe these ultra-orthodox beliefs are centuries old (which implies more than one century). These are sects which grew out of the orthodox (which IS centuries old), some of which I don't believe pre-date the twentieth century. They are not to be confused with traditional orthodox Judaism.

  85. This is the issue with free speech no matter what. The rabbi should be charged with spreading misinformation and misleading his listeners. But then, so do so many news outlets, almost all religions and our current resident of the White House. Blind belief is ugly and detrimental to all of us.

  86. The Jews and others spreading these dangerous views threaten the health of all in the community. They appear intent on confirming the worst suspicions that some already have of Jews. Thankfully, there are decent, sensible Jewish leaders speaking out against the threats posed by some of their zealous flock deluded by charlatans. Religious freedom, like other freedoms, ends where it actually harms or threatens to harm others without their consent. We know vaccination protects everyone. We know that refusing to vaccinate makes your children a direct threat to others, and justifies reasonable steps to protect yourself, including excluding the unvaccinated from public spaces. We are also free to poison our bodies with alcohol if we so wish, but as soon as we get behind the wheel of a car in that drugged state, the state should act to protect those threatened, which is why it is right to ban drink driving, even if the drinkers' religious ideology commands them to drink.

  87. Frankly, it is purely criminal to allow religion to overshadow science. It's basically a tussle between myth and fact.

  88. Unfortunately, people of religious and ideological persuasions of all stripes place their faith in non-science based beliefs and magical thinking which support their own prejudices.Group think engendered by dogmatism, ethnic identification and perceived (and exaggerated) threats from other groups— the government, the medical profession,cultural enemies—lead the faithful to believe conspiracies directed at their group. Not surprisingly, there are many “experts” and leaders willing to flog these notions for their own gain. One has only to look at the political divide throughout the world to put this crazy thinking in perspective. Scientologists, reliogious fanatic, neo-nazis, right to life radicals, racists, practitioners of honor killiing—the list is inexhaustible—are all of the same cloth. Perhaps we are entering the New Dark Ages in which concepts of the Enlightenment such as fact based reasoning are doomed.

  89. The ultra-orthodox tend to behave as cults. Although they have different groups (Lubavitch, Satmar, and others), when the rabbi that they follow says that they should do X or refrain from doing Y, they invariably follow orders. They tend to vote strongly Republican. They are the Jewish version of Evangelicals.

  90. @Joe From Boston So they are helping to spread a preventable disease AND voting to limit access to health care. Lovely.

  91. @Joe From Boston If you read the article, you know that their leaders are telling them that Jewish law requires them to vaccinate their children. They are not listening to their leaders. This is one time when it would be better if they did, in fact, act like "cults" and follow the direction of their rebbe. Instead they are choosing to listen to disreputable fringe elements like Andrew Wakefield, Larry Palevsky, Greg Mitchell, and one out-there crazy rabbi.

  92. This is an excellent refutation of anti-Semites' claim that Jews are somehow "different." Just like Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and others, this demonstrates that Jews have their share of the gullible, the scared, the hustlers, those seeking simple answers to complexity, and those seeking demagogic saviors. It seems to be a fact of human nature that logic and evidence do not carry much weight with the many people that do not want to think for themselves, whatever their religion or lack thereof. Most of us aspire for a better world, but to create such, it is counter-productive to confuse the way people are with the way we may wish they were.

  93. As a family physician, I find this is appalling. The fundamental tenant of medicine is "do no harm." This is harmful. Dr. Lawrence Palevsky should have his medical license revoked.

  94. @M Forgive me, but it is a cardinal "tenet," a fundamental belief, not a "tenant" who might reside in an apartment.

  95. @lhc Ha! Thank you for the correction. :)

  96. Ah, yes, the joys of communicable diseases....When I contracted chickenpox, my brother caught it and developed encephalitis. He was so sick, he had to stay home from school for a year. Our father was extremely ill, too. Measles, chickenpox, scarlet fever, whooping cough etc. are no joke. They're not just some childhood right-of-passage; they're potentially deadly. And highly contagious.

  97. Yeah but the anti-vaxxers never suffered from these diseases that they would willingly inflict on their own children and others. They were vaccinated

  98. @Oriole-- not to forget Strep pneumo and H flu- both of which cause devastating meningitis. In my days of residency, before vaccines for these bacteria- we did spinal taps on many, many children to ensure that we didn't miss meningitis. These ignorant people also need to know mumps will make their boys sterile, and rubella will cause serious birth defects if mother is infected during pregnancy. Too much emphasis on measles.

  99. @Oriole "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-- to paraphrase George Santayana. Doesn't this speak to the heart of a lot of our problems today? If a person doesn't have a personal history or a belief in written knowledge, they operate from ignorance and fear.

  100. If they can ensure that those who did not get vaccines will stay in isolation, it is fine. But people interact each other. Is it a little selfish?

  101. Discouraging. There really is little hope for humanity.

  102. Shouldn't the NY medical licensing board investigate Dr. Palevsky? If we are to "first, do no harm" then it seems that contributing to a budding health crisis by spreading misleading or false information might be something worth examining.

  103. It is amazing that so much misinformation is pedaled so successfully in this era of instant knowledge. Maybe there ought to be consequences for spreading "false" information regarding health - just like shouting "fire" (where there is none) in a crowded theater is unlawful. Why not bill these un-vaccinated people (or their parents) for all community expenses and bills from the measles epidemic? The ultra-Orthodox community has a right to shun vaccines - but they cannot be the spreaders of a deadly but easily avoidable communicable disease. A big bill may help them think straight. And yes, they cannot sneeze in public if they are un-vaccinated and are potential carriers of highly communicable diseases. "Lock" them up for public safety until the epidemic is over - quarantining is a very successful strategy to contain disease spread when there is no vaccine - ebola comes to mind.

  104. Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Whatever your religious beliefs or preferences, if you endanger my child and the safety of society, the needs of the many outweigh your concerns. Vaccinations should be the law.

  105. @Brian Will I hear what you say (and applaud a Star Trek reference) but I disagree that it should be the law. Government interference with personal autonomy should end at the very least outside a person's body, and a parent should be able to decide what is best for her child. If unvaccinated children are banned from public school or elsewhere, so be it, but if legally mandate vaccinations, where are we willing to draw that line?

  106. @Brian Will Do you think that vaccines should be the law for adults too? Many adults are no longer immune to the "vaccine-preventable" diseases.

  107. @Meg. The trouble is, a disease carried by an unvaccinated person can invade the body of another person—someone who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or a baby who is too young to vaccinate. Why should the anti-vaxxer be permitted to jeopardize someone else’s health? We have no trouble prohibiting people from driving drunk.

  108. One would think there would at least be influential leaders in the ultra-orthodox communities who could foresee the effect this is going to have on their own people--it's turning them into pariahs.

  109. As a longtime health writer and editor and a Modern Orthodox Jew I am appalled at the continued spread of misinformation and misrepresentation by this publication—which was once considered “the newspaper of record”—of Ultra-Orthodox Jews as anti-vaccinators. Instead of calling out Rabbi Handler for what he is—a conspiracy theorist—he is presented as representative of the anti-vaccine movement among Orthodox Jews which even this article fails to prove. I grew up in Boro Park and still have family there, in Lakewood and Monsey, most of whom are “Ultra-Orthodox.” I have yet to meet ONE person who hasn’t vaccinated their child(ren), including those who are parents of a child with autism. In fact, the anti-vaccination people I’ve met over the years have tended to be educated secular Jews and non-Jews. The only explanation I can come up with for the unfortunate rapid spread of measles within the communities you mention is the close-knit nature of those communities. Whether it’s a ship, a 20th century tenement, the projects or insular communities it’s well known that contagious diseases of all kinds are more likely to spread in those environments. Have Jews been targeted to receive false vaccines? I doubt it. Has the greater NY area had a problem with false or tainted vaccines in the past where suppliers have tried to cut costs by developing vaccines and other drugs outside of the US, absolutely. Perhaps your reporting should focus on the companies behind these vaccines.

  110. @Rachel Name one company whose vaccines have been found to be false or tainted. These people are being urged to forego all vaccines regardless of provenance.

  111. @Rachel I would suggest that your response to this is overly defensive. The article does mention orthodox rabbis who support vaccination. But it describes a real event led by some very dangerous spreaders of misinformation. You, on the other hand, attack the paper for simply reporting these facts, and then go on to say we should all focus on other unsubstantiated claims - a focus which you must know will only increase this baseless paranoia. Every religious community has the obligation to police dangerous behaviour in it's midst. We Jews are not an exception to this.

  112. @Rachel This article does not characterize all Orthodox Jews as anti-vaxxers, and instead gives a ballpark figure for attendance at what it explicitly states is one symposium organized by one Monsey-based group; Rabbi Handler's comments, then, can't be taken as representative of an entire movement. I get it! I was also raised Orthodox Jewish and it feels uncomfortable to read such mishigas and blatant racism ("diseases brought by Central American migrants") being spewed by someone who is in a position of Jewish leadership, but this article clearly counters much of what was said at the symposium ("In fact, none of this is true.") Lastly, the vaccination status within your close circle is anecdotal information and is not a holistic, macro-level assessment of vaccination among the entire community. The "unfortunate rapid spread" you mention is not a mystery: non-vaccination by some puts everyone at risk, particularly the unvaccinated!

  113. As an American Jew, I am ultra-embarrassed by this display.

  114. @MatthewSchenker me too. As if we don't have enough to be worried about. It's a shanda, as my mother would say.

  115. A tragedy for society when and respected religious authority tells lies and fabricates falsehoods which will enable disease to spread to innocent people, including children.

  116. @Interested Um, isn't telling lies and falsehoods a religious leader's raison d'être?

  117. How sad that so many seem unable to discern deceit from truth. Feel especially bad for the children.

  118. Maybe in NY the anti-vaccine movement is mostly a particular religion, but not here. People who buy organic because they don't trust the government to protect the food supply, tend to likewise not trust the government to protect them from poisons from any other source either. It's a coherent position. They don't trust authority and it includes some members of all religions, including atheists and all ethnic groups. In my view, putting excessive pressure on these people to vaccinate reinforces their anti-government views and strengthens the movement.

  119. @roseberry wrote: In my view, putting excessive pressure on these people to vaccinate reinforces their anti-government views and strengthens the movement. Here's a thought... how about we let them reap the consequences of their insistence then.... when they get sick from a disease that can be vaccinated against.. how about we deny them access to medical treatment? You know.. make them walk their talk.

  120. @roseberry California’s law passed a few years ago that requires children to have up-to-date vaccinations before they enter public or private school or daycare has markedly increased vaccination rates in many California schools. There are no exemptions for personal beliefs. Only medical exemptions signed by a doctor are allowed. Our biggest problem now is a few crooked doctors who are signing fraudulent medical exemptions—for a fee, of course.

  121. @roseberry so it isn’t science that would convince them but a lack of trust. That doesn’t sound like a “coherent” position. You did articulate it well which makes it coherent but I would call it more paranoid. With an position like that, no amount of even polite conversing could speak to a mind like that. For instance, if I were to ask, what would it take for you to see this differently or what evidence would it take to alter your opinion? You could not answer. Your mind is made up and not by any scientific or empirical evidence but simply because you do not trust the government. I hope your stubbornness protects your children and that your dislike of rules in society works. But if you feel that strongly about trusting those in power, why deal with them at all?

  122. I see many people in these comments blame religion, but this claim is incomplete and therefore misleading. The cause--and prolongation--of this measles outbreak is ideological, and more specifically, a result of ideological fanaticism, which requires a degree of anti-intellectualism. If one accepts a claim simply because it supports his/her worldview. Thomas Jefferson put it best: "Fx reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god, because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear [...]. You must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject any thing because any other person, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision."

  123. I recently read a good article on "Flat Earthers." The author stated that the overwhelming majority of those are self-described Christians. Aside from that, virtually everything that author described in that group appears to be duplicated in these Ultra-Orthodox antivaxers. Thankfully, the vast majority of devout Christians do not believe the earth is flat and the round earth is a fraud perpetrated upon them, nor do the large majority of devout Jews believe that vaccines are plot against them. That said, while religion itself is probably not the problem, the transition into extreme practice and the need for group approval in any isolated "cult" may well be a contributing factor.

  124. My uncle and multiple family friends who are paralyzed for life from polio would have been happy to speak at this conference.

  125. @CEI and what about those who were paralyzed by the polio vaccine? Not so simple.

  126. @EG The polio vaccine is effective.

  127. @EG Why don't you name three people paralyzed by the vaccine? We'll wait.

  128. Mandatory force vaccination is a slippery slope people. Theres strong misinformation on both sides here. Bad science - on both sides. Money hungry industries. First let me state this- before any labeling occurs: I am vaccinated and so is my child. But that was MY choice! Once the govt gets to decides what we MUST inject into our bodies- the real life handmaids tale may be upon us. This issue is not so different from roe vs. wade. My body- my choice! However with this current debate - There is NO simple answer. It’s Not a black and white issue. Vaccine save lives- yes. But vaccines are also a highly profitable industry, much like big pharma. Make no mistake. It’s not ALL for the common good. Some of it yes. But there is a money hungry devil lurking behind these life savings shots. Make vaccinations a non profit industry and let’s see how that goes.

  129. @Lolly Bad science on both sides? Really - sounds very familiar doesn't it. No Lolly you have that one wrong.

  130. @Lolly No, this is nothing like Roe v. Wade. In that case, the decision doesn't affect anyone but the woman getting the abortion. In this case, ignoring the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and beneficial in preventing the spread of diseases affects not only the unvaccinated person but the community of which they are a part. When vaccination rates fall, we get outbreaks like we are seeing in New York. Vaccination should be mandatory, period.

  131. @Lolly I had a liver transplant when I was 18 years old due to a genetic disease. To keep my liver from being rejected, I take medications that suppress my immune system, leaving me more vulnerable to infections, viruses, bacteria, etc. Due to the medication that keeps me alive, I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. My immune system took another hit. I did not have a choice to have the transplant or cancer but I am especially vulnerable to measles. Do you meant to tell me my life is less important than someone's choice to whether or not contract a highly contagious disease?

  132. Public opinion is manipulated. This was proven beyond doubt in the last election. And in a free country - there is little one can do to prevent such propaganda from spreading. Speech is free. Everyone is expected to have her brain fully engaged. If I was seeking to cripple this nation I would: - Continue to drive the population to ever less capable leaders for election. - Encourage the strengthening doubt against all scientific progress. - Encourage a rejection of progress in healthcare, and eliminate health care for vast swaths of the population. - Decrease opportunity for the youth to gain education in technology and reduce job opportunities in the areas where advancement will aid in strengthening the country. - Eliminate the notion that aiming for long-term progress outweighs short-term gratification. If you were playing the long game, you'd do this to a country to destabilize it. We may be the last generation to realize what's happening to us.

  133. @Iceowl, in other words, support the Republican party.

  134. I think people should have the freedom to make their decision about vaccination, but if their child is not vaccinated, he or she should not attend public school or participate in public events. We all need to think broadly of our communities and work for the health and safety of everyone.

  135. @Ann Carman It's not a personal choice because of the impact of herd immunity and other factors. Our society is quite comfortable telling people not to drink and drive because of the potential impact on other people. This is not different.

  136. @Ann Carman I would also like to add that these folks need to stop saying what's the harm in measles. Because there is harm. Not everyone has a breezy time with a little discomfort. Reactions can be deadly. If anti-vaxxers want respect for their choices, then the rest of us would like to have our concerns taken seriously.

  137. @Ann Carman That's not good enough. They go food shopping, to the doctor's and many other places where the virus can be spread. Either total isolation or vaccinate. I'm tired of someone's religious beliefs putting others at risk.

  138. Fundamentalist religious communities in the US appear to promote con men, grifters, grievance peddlers and fear mongers into positions of leadership. I don't know if this is unique to the US, but I am certain that this group in particular would benefit from a Rabbi that was not ignorant, arrogant and comfortable spreading mistruths.

  139. If ANY large group or community of consistent mind/culture decided against vaccinating their children, they could become the locus/focus of a disease outbreak. No one is "targeting" the Hasidic or "ultra-Orthodox" Jewish community, though it is clearly their own collective attitudes and behaviors--threatening the health and welfare of the greater society--which have brought them into the spotlight. If they don't believe in vaccinations and disease prevention, they should refuse air travel, antibiotics, cellphones, cars, and refrigeration, all based solidly on the same principles that underlie Western science and immunology.

  140. @Addison Steele According to other news reporting, the measles virus is targeting the ultra-orthodox community, not because they're the only ones to not vaccinate, but because their members keep bringing it back from Israel, where it is common. It's also spreading to other pockets of the unvaccinated. Given such a simple fix, this is madness.

  141. @Addison Steele While it is true that the Orthodox Jewish community has been more strongly affected by the measles out brake, they are also the most visibly different group. However, most mind boggling to me is given this community's insular nature does anyone really believe that a confrontational approach will do anything but drive them further into the anti-vaccine movement. As someone with many orthodox friends and family , I know that the community is not as narrow minded and stupid as recent coverage has suggested. real change can only be brought about with honey not vinegar.

  142. @Dan, while I agree with the sentiment of your comment, it’s important to be careful with your terminology. The vast majority of Hasidic people do indeed vaccinate. This is a fringe movement, albeit a dangerous one, and it’s important not to create stereotypes, especially when it’s inaccurate.

  143. I am saddened but, even more sadly, not surprised by the degree to which many commenters equate these small groups of Orthodox Jews with the Orthodox Jewish community in general and, even, Jews in general. Should all Fundamentalist Muslims, let alone Muslims in general, be equated with those who murdered thousands on 9/11? Should all Christian clerics, let alone all Christians, be equated with their pedophile clerics and the hierarchy that covers for them? Unfortunately, much like the anti-vaxxers, many commenters are not big on logic, evidence, and consistency, especially when such conflicts with their already established beliefs.

  144. @Steve Fankuchen I am Jewish. I feel entitled to call these people out. If I don't, who will?

  145. @Stacy Herlihy Stacy, by all means, call out the "bad guys." In fact I have done just that commenting in regards to previous measles articles. However, that was not the point of my comment but, rather, to focus on the "bad guys" and ask that people skip the facile stereotyping.

  146. @Steve Fankuchen this story was about a specific event. But, hey, I believe we are all pretty much aware of headliners like Bill Maher, Robert Kennedy Jr. and other idiots who are definitely not Jewish but are still lending their names to this type of insanity. I never heard anyone equate this with 9/11 but you and if this is a shaming device or an attempt to divert it won’t work. However you do bring up a point. Because these unvaccinated are as bad as bombers in a crowd. We have had a whole ship that had to be quarantined, how many, 300? And schools that had to be shut down...airports, not 9/11 per se but very debilitating. I am not blaming Jews. I am not blaming Christians. I am blaming ZEALOTS. The I am never wrong as you will plainly see while you listen until I talk enough for you to believe me people.

  147. This is a one big grift designed to pay out a group of consultants/lobbyists at the expense of a community they duped. The question I have is whether Rabbi Handler is in on the scam or if he legitimately believes in debunked, false claims about vaccinations.

  148. Good grief. For some reason I though Jewish community leaders were earnest and thoughtful people. Now I hear that some are just as wretched as some of their counterparts in other faiths. Live and learn.

  149. Thanks, religion. Oh, but I'm the big mean-y for pointing out how worthless religion is. Meanwhile these folks spread disease and misinformation. What's with the makeshift wall to separate the women from the men? I just read on NPR they even have a string of fishing line around Manhattan so they can violate their own made-up rules on Saturdays. Costs them around $150k/year to string a piece of fishing line around New York City. But I'm the bad guy for pointing out how ridiculous it all is.

  150. @OnABicycleBuiltForTwo Why do you care whether the Jews in Manhattan have an eruv, or how much it costs? Is it hurting you? Maybe you missed it, but 'religion' isn't the issue here: conspiracy theories and rotten propaganda are. Which is not unique to the Orthodox Jewish community.

  151. @OnABicycleBuiltForTwo No reason to ridicule beliefs that are sacred to others. Inexcusable, in fact, and I am sad that your comments weren't moderated. The "string" as you dismissively described the Eruv is important to all Orthodox Jews and is not relevant to your point, as it were. Neither is the way they choose to separate themselves in public gathetings. Additionally, the vast majority (but, sadly, not enough) of Ultra-Orthodox Jews do vaccinate. It's not a religion thing. But thanks for your civility.

  152. You haven't provided a compelling reason to respect their so-called "sacred" beliefs. The freedom to exercise religion does not preclude them from my critique of their ridiculous, dangerous ways. The freedom of religion they have, I also have, and I claim that my ridicule is absolutely necessary to appease my god.

  153. Pikuach nefesh, Hebrew for "saving a life", describes the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious consideration. For any Jew, no matter how devout, to reject proven science that "saves lives" is not an act of faith, it is unjustified closed-minded hypocrisy that violates Jewish law. We see similar behavior in Christian Evangelists who back the amoral liar Donald Trump simply because he claims he is opposed to abortion. Distortion of the true foundations of religious belief that costs lives is unacceptable by any human standard.

  154. There is something missing from the story. There is no indication in the article that the author tried to ask the members of the audience why they came. Did Ms. de Frietas-Tamura have a preconceived notion that every one there was an anti-vaxxer and therefore did not deem it worthwhile to survey the crowd. That reporters believe that Haredi world is monolithic prevents them from getting at the truth.

  155. I attended the symposium, and as would be expected, this article is a slanted representation of the overall message of the evening. Rabbi Handler's message of persecution did not "set the tone"--what set the tone was Dr. Palevsky's message "Why is it that important questions can't be asked, such as--"If measles is such a contagious disease, why is is primarily affecting Orthodox Jews?" It's in fact a very good question, as we Orthodox Jews shop in the same malls and supermarkets as the rest of America. The "bad lot" idea was simply one of several theories he proposed. It's also very interesting that the reporter omitted the key speaker of the evening, Del Bigtree. Del gave an incredible presentation. Some highlights: Vaccines have been tested for 4-42 days, instead of the several years that other drugs on the market have been tested for. There are no controlled trials using inert placebos for vaccines. He showed a clip from an ACIP meeting where a vaccine is unanimously approved despite a stated lack of evidence for its safety when administered in conjunction with other vaccines. (It was rather horrifying.) This article is unfortunately just another attack at the "insular" ultra-Orthodox community and the "irrational, ignorant, and fearful" community of antivaxxers. I am ultra-Orthodox and a professor of mathematics. I am educated and informed, not ignorant and afraid.

  156. @Hannah The question, "If measles is such a contagious disease, why is is primarily affecting Orthodox Jews?" has an obvious answer. Measles affects those who fail to vaccinate. Orthodox Jews represent a significant percentage of those who don't vaccinate, so they are significantly impacted by measles. The problem is not ignorance, but paranoia, the Internet, and herd mentality. One person reads something on the Internet, and passes it on rather than carefully evaluating the source. Soon those in that person's echo chamber all come to accept a false narrative.

  157. @HannahIt Measles affects you because you are not vaccinated. Is that clear?

  158. @Hannah I have an answer for why it is Orthodox Jews shop in the same malls and supermarkets as the rest of America and yet it seems like only the Orthodox are getting measles. IT'S BECAUSE YOU AREN'T VACCINATED!! If Orthodox Jews were vaccinated at the same rates as the rest of America where wouldn't be an outbreak in your community.

  159. We spend billions on health care and we think the more we spend the better our system is. The fact of the matter is that 90% of our improvement in life expectancy is attributable to 2 simple cheap things, public health measure such as sewers and clean water and vaccines. Of the other 10 percent, antibiotics take the lions share, of the remaining, its mostly improved cardiovascular care mostly, the introduction of statins and control of hypertension. The overwhelming majority of the billions we spend have had little to no effect on making humanity live longer and stronger.

  160. The old punchline, "I may be paranoid but I am not crazy" may apply here. The conspiracies fed to these folk are based upon paranoia, but the vaccine makers do have many questions to answer; specifically about the safety and efficacy of their product.

  161. Even though we technically have more information available to us than ever before, our species seems to be getting dumber every year. Biological facts do not change based on religious beliefs.

  162. Just as a loan Muslim Terrorist cant and does not represent the entire Muslim nation, so doesn't some several 100 Loan Anti-Vaccinationers represent the entire Orthodox Jewish community. As a Ultra Orthodox Jew, and a father of 4, i can tell that those people are not even a percent of the community, and 99+ percent do vaccinate, and yes, our Schools and Rabbis do demand it strongly.

  163. @Yoel thank you for this comment Yoel.

  164. @Yoel No True Scotsman Fallacy.

  165. @W Yoel didn't say that an Orthodox Jew who refuses to vaccinate is not an Orthodox Jew. He said that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews vaccinate. So the only fallacy here is your comment.

  166. “We Hasidim have been chosen as the target,” said the rabbi, Hillel Handler. “The campaign against us has been successful.” A pediatrician questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus. To me thse quotes from the article says everything about the ant-vaxxers and their audience that embraces them. How could the rabbi & pediatrician possibly know this? The answer to anyone that pauses to think about it is that of course it is preposterous that they could have any information supporting these claims. It speaks volumes that they find hundreds of people to lap this stuff up.

  167. Reading this article I just find myself uncontrollably shaking my head. The combination of xenophobia and scientific ignorance highlighted in this article is dismal. What I find the most troubling above all is this “conspiracy culture”. This manner of reasoning has infected our country like a parasite. Antivaxers are just one manifestation of this phenomenon , think climate change and electoral politics.

  168. @T Thoreau- It’s worse than that. Deep down, most anti-vaxxers understand perfectly well that what they’re doing is at least doubtful if not wrong. But, by refusing to admit it they paint themselves into a corner, why many insist they’re right and everybody else is wrong — or stupid, confused, uninformed, misled. They’re like marks swindled by a shady used car salesman who insist that they got a good deal although their car won’t start. And they get angry should anyone around them have the gall, the temerity and tactlessness to point out what’s patently obvious. Egotism drives their responses. To acknowledge doubt opens the door to the unacceptable possibility that they might be mistaken, something they aren’t willing to do. So, they dig in, attend public meetings not to be informed but just to hear what they believe, simply to have their faith reaffirmed. You see the same inflexibility in militant MAGA Trumpists, also in militant anti-abortion right-to-lifers. They’re beyond reach. They hide behind a delusion of moral superiority borne of absolute certainty; subservience to faith that, at a minimum, is profoundly selfish. Narrow-minded pride cripples them. So blinkered, they stubbornly insist that up is down, red is black, this while regurgitating a litany of fake news, parroting the half-baked opinions or total falsehoods of other fanatics, joining what used to be called, rather cynically, the “Amen corner”.

  169. @Steve Singer Completely agree.

  170. Their concerns about being targeted are not without historical precedent... how about letting Jewish communities help oversee the vaccine production or produce their own. Develop “kosher” vaccines. It would go a long way towards easing people’s fears.

  171. @Me rabbis have approved the vaccines.

  172. @Me If they are putting others in danger? They need to be targeted.

  173. What is the end goal in stirring up anti-vaccination fervor? What is the purpose of holding these rallies/presentations? Is it to keep people from trusting any authority other than their own? I trust that there are intelligent members of the community who will spot a false idol when they see one in these presenters, especially Andrew Wakefield who's primary concern seems to be his own "good" name.

  174. You have freedom to do what you like, but your freedom ends where someone else's nose begins. Don't vaccinate, but please don't step outside your homes and don't become a public menace. Think, for example, about spreading Ebola. While measles is not a death sentence, the principle applies.

  175. @Irene If it's not a death sentence, then why? Why don't we apply your rule to anyone suffering from the flu? After all, people actually die of the flu, unlike measles in the U.S.

  176. @Hannah People DO die from measles. Many do not. Apparently you are fine with letting everyone else play Russian roulette with the risk of death, just so you can smugly claim that you know more than actual scientists. Yes, some people die from reaction to vaccines. Some people die from reactions to aspirin too, but you don't see campaigns against aspirin. Some people die in car crashes, but no campaigns to outlaw autos. Your argument is faulty, just like the anti-vaccination hoax.

  177. @Hannah Let's make one thing clear, measles IS a killer. And short of killing, it causes meningitis that results in death, brain damage, mental retardation and/or deafness. It causes pneumonia that results in death or chronic long-term lung disease is highly contagious. Newborns and infants are protected somewhat by maternal antibodies, but they are still at risk of contracting measles. Polio causes paralysis. And if the polio affects your breathing muscles, then death will follow. If polio affects your leg muscles, you will be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Polio still exists in the world. Get educated before you opine.

  178. Wait a minute , did I not see the same report from Pakistan and you are stating these people from USA state of NewYork.? What is the common thread here ? why is it is USA for all places!

  179. Unfortunately, it is mostly the unvaccinated children of anti-vaccine parents who will suffer. Some will die. And it may only be these deaths that change their patents’ and their immediate communities’ minds. In the meantime, no person old enough to be vaccinated should be allowed in schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, government buildings, public swimming pools, or public transit. Private companies should be allowed to bar unvaccinated employees or their unvaccinated children from their premises. In short, we must make the choice of anti-vaccine adults an impediment to their families’ participation in public life. This is the only way to protect ourselves, particularly our infants under the safe age for vaccination, from this public health nemesis.

  180. @voltairesmistress Bravo! Great response.

  181. Your ignorant rant is shocking. 2.6 million people died of measles in 1980. In 1990, 545,000 people died of measles. In 2014, 73,000 people died of measles. Between 2017 & 2019, the death rate increased due to ignorant, paranoid people like you refusing to vaccinate. Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

  182. @Hannah Nearly 90,000 people died of measles in 2016 per the WHO (most <5), but then again, using evidence from expert institutions likely falls on deaf ears with conspiracy-minded folks like yourself. So, I propose you come with me to sub-Saharan Africa and see the toll firsthand! I’m already imagining the fantastic book and TV deals you could land - the previous anti-vaxxer who came around and saw the light, and wants to share her story!

  183. The people in authority who encourage anti-vaxx falsehoods are getting something very important out of this for themselves: fame and power. When Scientologists and discredited physicians join religious leaders you can bet there is something fishy going on. The few orthodox rabbis who are involved in this travesty are instilling real fear in their followers when they claim that government authorities are victimizing Jews. As a result, The New York Times would do well to regularly report on measles outbreaks in other parts of the country, like Washington state, Texas, and Illinois, just to name a few. Anti-vaxxers are everywhere and not limited to insular ultra-Orthodox communities. No matter their religious or political beliefs anti-vaxx parents put other children at risk.

  184. Funny, how the people who attended the anti-vaccination gathering were extra-careful to make sure that women and men in the audience were separated but are extremely careless when it comes to keeping those who refuse to be vaccinated from those who are not.

  185. Funny, how the people who attended the anti-vaccination gathering were extra-careful to make sure that women and men in the audience were separated but are extremely careless when it comes to keeping those who do not vaccinate separated from those who do.

  186. I cannot imagine the outcry if this were another minority community - say Iranian, Korean, Jain, or even Muslim. This is a secular nation; ANYTHING that can impact others health, safety/security/ comfort [noise, pollution, etc], not just sensibilities or sensitivities should be required. I wonder what the rules are in France, and how this would be dealt with - after all they have banned hijabs in public.

  187. "Speakers were introduced and applauded as if they were celebrities. " empty pots will boil with more vigor than full ones but nothing to taste

  188. What always amazes me about these anti-vaccination folks is that most likely, THEY WERE VACCINATED as children. They are still alive it seems, and benefitted from vaccination. Yet they deny vaccination to their own children. What an amazing disconnect.

  189. I worked as a physician for thirteen years serving the various Hasidic communities residing in Williamsburg Brooklyn. I found them not mostly insular but intelligent and friendly. I initiated a strategy to get my patients to walk much more since they are sedentary and suffer from a rich diet. I learned much from this encounter and some patients benefited tremendously. I developed an ecosystem based tool to measure walking. It is now ready for prime time. It could very easily be integrated into the NYC urban environment, public transport and get millions to walk more. It would take little more than an enhanced Metrocard to make it happen. Synergy is certainly possible when one makes the effort to work with any isolated group and treats them with respect. In brief, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish population like many other populations would benefit from broader engagement with the most creative and progressive forces in our community public health and health care systems. This will take work, commitment, creativity, and patience and genuine outreach and respect and not just marketing. Who will make the first move? It can be done. Bohdan A Oryshkevich, MD, MPH

  190. Ever wonder why health care costs so much in this country?

  191. @Bohdan A Oryshkevich, MD, MPH In brief, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish population like many other populations would benefit from broader engagement with the most creative and progressive forces in our community public health and health care systems. That's great but these people do not want to be part of the broader community.

  192. @Bohdan A Oryshkevich, MD, MPH As I recall, your name was mentioned in previous articles.

  193. Anyone supporting untested vaccination schedule is doing nothing more than supporting a biological experiment on our children. These combination of vaccinations have NEVER been tested for safety. NEVER. This is actually against the Nuremberg Code if anybody cares to look back at history. I am disgusted that people are forcing vaccinations onto an unsuspecting population and ultimately playing a game of Russian Roulette. Big Pharma has been found to be criminal in their behavior around opioids and this is no different. It's all about the money and give it enough time and we will see the same massive class action lawsuits like we are for the opioid-pushing industry that is colluding with American doctors today. For those who want to see these vaccination pushed onto every child, may I recommend that you go first? Test it out for yourself and get back to the rest of us and tell us how it went.

  194. @reinette these vaccinations have been in use for decades, around the world. Hardly “untested”.

  195. @reinette I strongly object to your equating the opioid crisis with the misunderstanding of vaccines and how they work. I am a nurse and have seen first hand the devastation caused by lack of vaccine access. I traveled to Namibia in southern Africa and observed women who had walked miles with their children just to get a place in line at a vaccine clinic. These women love their children, and they know exactly what happens when these children don't get vaccinated. The problem with people in developed countries is they have never seen an epidemic first hand....due to the SUCCESS OF VACCINES!! I find Big Pharma ethically problematic in many ways, but not because of vaccines. And, yes, I have received all of these vaccines, including a recent precautionary MMR update, and I am perfectly healthy, as are all the health care providers with whom I work. We truly care about the health of our fellow human beings, which is why we advocate that you learn the real truth, and not some hoax made up by discredited researchers and faux racist appeals.

  196. @reinette Bg pharma doesn’t make money off vaccines; ....against the Nuremburg Code? A bit much, don’t you think? Certainly Tuskegee (look it up if you have to); Colluding with American doctors? I work in healthcare - I never see pharma reps coming around pushing vaccines (again, bc they don’t make money off them) - antibiotics, yes, or anticiagulants (by the way, do you take antibiotics? Maybe you shouldn’t and get back to us); Go first? I did, thanks to my parents, and all is well!

  197. I work with an anti-vaxxer, a lawyer. He admits he himself was vaccinated. My only response is I am just glad he never had children.

  198. We consume billions and billions of antigens per day...through our gut, through our lungs and through our skin. Billions and billions. A vaccine against any one disease contains ONE antigen. One. The paranoia and illogic amongst anti-vaxxers is unbelievable. In many countries, not vaccinating your kids makes you ineligible to receive public benefits.

  199. Yet another example of the harmful effects of religion and basing one's actions on unevidenced beliefs rather than established facts. In a few hundred years science has manifestly improved the lives of humans and yet millennia of religion have achieved nothing whatsoever in that regard.

  200. People who encourage "anti-vaxx falsehoods" do not get fame and power, they get ridicule, are called quacks, and have their credibility called into question. Let's at least give them one thing--some admiration for following their principles despite the fact that they have so much to lose.

  201. @Hannah Spreading preventable diseases is not a principle. It is our kids who have so much to lose because of them.

  202. I am reminded of leper colonies. Anti-vaxer colonies might be appropriate to protect those who by no fault of their own are medically contraindicated from vaccination.

  203. Would it be possible to stop unvaccinated Americans from traveling to countries such as Israel, Ukraine, or the Philippines that have large measles outbreaks, or to quarantine them when they return?

  204. I'm Jewish and being an antivaxxer is not part of Judaism. One of the most important parts of Judaism is that you must do everything you can to protect your body and stay healthy and to do the same for your children. Literally hundreds of Rabbis have stated this. Back when the polio vaccine came to market they said that since it has been proven effective and safe it's wrong to not get the vaccine out of fear of an incredibly unlikely adverse reaction. In fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who is considered one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century (he was Hasidic, coincidentally, just like the antivaxxers in this article who using their Hasidic identity to not vaccinate) encouraged all Jewish people to vaccinate themselves and their children.

  205. @Hannah Two questions: 1. Do you send your kids to school with other kids? 2. Are you or your husband doctors? If not, I am just gobsmacked at the thought that there are people who have no medical training who would withhold vaccines from their kids, rejecting all medical and scientific data. Meanwhile, you probably bring your car to a mechanic for maintenance, but won't give your kids the equivalent care of following a doctor's advice.

  206. @Hannah If you really believe any of that you have not made an informed decision at all. Vaccines are heavily tested. They are safe and save lives. Just because you had a baby does not make you an expert on public health. You are entitled to make reasonable decisions about your kids. You are not entitled to make decisions that spread disease to others.

  207. @Hannah Please cite the research backing up the "evidence of injected aluminum" and "lack of adequate testing." you say, "Parents know their children best.." - no argument there, but do you understand infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology, and immunology best, too?

  208. No matter that their motives are deeply religious, the anti-vaccination movement among ultra-Orthodox Jews threatens to renew otherwise latent anti-Semitism, on the one hand, or to generate new strains of this virulent social disease, on the other hand. American Judaism is a complex amalgamation of very different forms of faith and worship, but the anti-Semitism which might be sparked by neo-Medieval views about science and medicine may ignominiously brand many if not all forms of Judaism. Therefore, we may be witnessing a self-inflicted wound that could set back the integration of Jews into mainstream American society that had developed over the past half century, or more. As am American Jew I’m worried about this potential branding and its consequences; as an American citizen, and a social scientist, I worry about the health crisis we are facing due to the anti-vaccination movement. In "Prophets of Deceit," a landmark 1949 study of hate-mongering agitators, Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Gutterman showed how easy it is to blame Jews as "the Enemy." This was obvious to anyone with eyes to see, right after the Holocaust, but what about now, seventy years after this study was published? It might be wise for news commentators to read "Prophets of Deceit" again today.

  209. It's nice to see the Hasidim and the Scientologists working together. To help bring down modern society. And thinking.

  210. and to think that these people control the school board of Rockland County, even though not a single one of them sends a child to public school, just so they can cannibalize the budget and redirect the funds to the private yeshivas they populate

  211. @Joe is that true?

  212. As a quasi-ethnic group with other genetic/health issues, this compounds the risks.

  213. I think that this article indicates a profound lack of education in the Orthodox Jewish community. Also in all the "fundamentalist" communities that refuse to learn or acknowledge the scientific proof of the safety of vaccines. The people at these gatherings are sadly buying into stupidity over the health and welfare of their children and other people they come in contact with. It's time to eliminate any religious examptions regarding vaccinations.

  214. @Joy It's not just the Orthodox Jewish or even conservative religions in general that are the problem. Anti-vax attitudes are themselves a plague that doesn't seem to discriminate much on religion or politics.

  215. When naturai science clashes with a supernatural faith in protecting humans from an infectious disease threat the natural must win. How long would white Americans tolerate this in black or brown Christian Americans?

  216. why are we even having this conversation.. measles is an old issue.... till now ... vaccinate an dmove on .. other issues we need to deal with ...

  217. There is no rational or scientific argument that will convince people who are against vaccinations to change their minds. There is also no religion on the planet that teaches that it is acceptable to put yourself or your community at risk of infectious diseases. Nevertheless, here we are. Yes, it is a serious public health threat, but no one will be able to force people to vaccinate. We can only leave it alone, keep spreading the truth that vaccines are safe and hope that more people will see the truth. I grew up in a time when there were no vaccines against measles, chickenpox, mumps or, indeed, against polio. We all got the measles. We lived in fear of polio and everyone knew someone that was affected by the disease. When a vaccine became available we took it. No question. Now we have a sense of security due to the success of vaccines. Yet, this is a false sense because these diseases are still in the world and with lower levels of vaccinations they can easily return.

  218. @John Kendall Exactly, the success of the vaccines against these childhood diseases, has caused complacency. Everyone who lived when you expected to get measles, chickenpox and mumps. Some of use got mumps on one side and then the other. It was (redacted gerund) horrible. Most of us pulled through with unnoticeable long term effects.

  219. I applaud the efforts of officials who are trying to eliminate almost all exemptions from vaccination. Measles and other "childhood" diseases are not like a bad cold; they are serious threats to health and even survival, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Vaccines are safe and proven effective and universal vaccination is the best way to keep diseases at bay. The conquests of smallpox and polio by vaccine show us what can be accomplished.

  220. Not vaccinating is a potential threat to the larger society. Here in CA - we have a similar problem with unvaccinated children attending public school. Measles and Mumps cases are now be reported. The option for communities is to follow their beliefs and the ramifications for these beliefs. If there is this much distrust then don't do it. But public services like schools should have the right to decide not to support this decision.

  221. This is yet another example of the dangerous trend of interpreting religious freedom as giving people a pass on obeying the law. It is time to start treating religion as what it is -- a set of personally held moral beliefs, no more important than anyone else's non-religious based moral beliefs. Vaccination is a matter of public health and, potentially, the failure to vaccinate could be viewed as child endangerment. At a minimum public schools should be allowed to require vaccination except in the case of medical exemptions. No more religious or personal belief opt-outs. This would help get our herd immunity back on track, and if the conspiracy theorist anti-vaxxers want to create their own petri-dish schools, let them do so.

  222. Those who were not vaccinated, contracted measles, and died will be overlooked in retrospect. Those who survive will cite themselves as proof that the vaccine is unnecessary and say so in paid talks to large audiences.

  223. It strikes me as odd to hear the pro-vaccination crowd so often voice their surprise at the other side when it rejects science over proven facts. Then they, i.e., the science people, rest comfortably as they return to their own equally scientifically disproven religious beliefs. All religion rests upon belief. Therein lies a problem. Not all beliefs are created equal. Some we believe out of habit. Most are simply unproven beliefs. It is way beyond time to question all of them.

  224. @seamus I think you need to learn the difference between “faith” and “belief”.

  225. @seamus What a bizarre statement. Not sure what you're even trying to say.

  226. A failure of the education system. People's level of understanding of their own biology prevents them from rationally evaluating the evidence. Funny how these same people will accept all the other medical care, which is based on exactly the same scientific methods and level of evidence. Funny how they feel they have the "right' to put other people (their children) at risk for their ill informed beliefs.

  227. I have been watching this silliness unfold for a good long time. As far as I can tell, its an attempt to apply a constitutional amendment to mass paranoia. In terms of cult groups, like the ultra orthodoxy, this looks like a much slower version of poison kool-aid. That being said, these groups are very tightly tied to the services offered to them from the State and the Federal government. Medicaid , medicare, welfare etc infinitum. If cloistered cult groups want to flout the basic tenets of public health, then fine, let them. As far as I am concerned they are a lesser threat because of the extreme cloistered nature of their sect. However, I also feel that , if they are so committed to separating themselves from the general wisdom sponsored by the governmental system they live under, then they should be required to fill out a waiver that removes any rights they have going forward for applying for or receiving either medicare, medicaid or welfare . This seems only fair.