Yeshiva Measles Outbreak: Not Immunized Against Consequences

Apr 10, 2019 by

Public schools should advance by example the principles of universal equality and tolerance. To the extent that a  group’s deeply-held tradition or practice does not hurt others and can be reasonably accommodated, there should be no restrictions on it.s free exercise. But the government should not be in the business of enforcing religious doctrine.

The epidemic of measles, which has been spurred by unvaccinated children in Yeshivas, needs to be contained by force of law, now matter whose sensibilities are offended. 

In the interest of clearing up misunderstanding, it must be emphasized that there is absolutely nothing  in the Jewish religion, including orthodox observance, that precludes vaccinations.  Indeed Jews like Jonas Salk ( developer of the anti-polio vaccine who later in his life worked on a vaccine against AIDS), have been at the forefront of medical research, especially antibiotics, surgery and vaccines.  The stubborn and ignorant parents who put their own kids at risk,and potentially that of the wider community, are not engaging in religious expression.

They are not representatives of any sect.

They are a lunatic fringe whose anti-vaccination position is just a reflection of the fact that in this area, they are superstitious to the point of being meschugge.

The City was wise to forbid attendance of non-vaccinated students at the yeshivas. News reports do not suggest that these schools themselves are culpable of organizing a mass vaccination opt-out , but it obviously is no coincidence that they are clustered there. Defiant schools should be shut down. This should be done without further delay or regard for the flak that will result. This is not about public relations and community outreach. It is about what could be simple prevention of permanent brain damage to afflicted children.

The obstinate parents are acting not out of any spiritual commitment but rather out of unfounded fear.  If they lack the rationality to conquer it themselves, the secular authorities have a duty to bypass that fear and aggressively impose a scientific resolution.

Ron Isaac

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