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Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association Statement On Vaccination

The following statement was given to YWN by frum female physicians called JOWMA, Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association:

We, physicians of the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association (JOWMA), condemn the anti-vaccination movement recognized in some members of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities across the United States and Israel. JOWMA is an association composed of Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish female physicians.

We have gathered together to firmly state that non-vaccination, altered vaccination schedules, anti-vaccination and delayed vaccination all pose significant threats and endanger the lives of infants, children and adults. There are no individuals who are safe from the medical risks posed by measles.

Unfortunately, false information regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccinations has been widespread throughout the public and some members of religious Jewish communities. Fear has been instilled via pamphlets, lectures, and hotlines comprised of false medical information that directly contradicts established scientific research and evidence based medicine. Dangerous websites touting erroneous vaccine information have been propagating, some of which require payments for products, memberships or consultations.

A well known tenet of Judaism is ‘VeNishmartem Me’od LeNafshoseichem,’ (Devarim 4:15) translated to English to mean: “carefully guard your health.” As physicians and Orthodox Jews, we affirm:

  1. Non-vaccination is antithetical to the core beliefs of Orthodox Judaism.
  2. There are no religious exemptions from vaccination within Orthodox Judaism.

Concerned individuals with questions should reach out to their pediatrician or primary care physician. A physician is an individual with a medical degree including MD, DO, or MBBS. It is dangerous to seek medical advice from untrained professionals or laypersons. JOWMA is committed to educating the public regarding the truth about vaccinations. We implore the community to vaccinate all eligible individuals as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccination guidelines, on schedule.

    • Shari Hirsch, MD
    • Miriam Lieberman, MD
    • Sherrie Neustein (Orzel), MD, FAAP
    • And the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association board of directors:
    • Eliana Fine (Feld), MD candidate
    • Miriam A. Knoll, MD, DABR
    • Bat-Sheva Maslow, MD, FACOG, MSCTR
    • Mira Hellmann-Ostrov, MD, FACOG
    • Sherrie Neustein (Orzel), MD, FAAP
    • Chana Weinstock Neuberger, MD

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

14 Responses

  1. “Non-vaccination is antithetical to the core beliefs of Orthodox Judaism.
    There are no religious exemptions from vaccination within Orthodox Judaism.”

    Did this organization / association discuss this with HaRav HaGaon Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky before posting? Did YWN do the same?

    As I understand it, he does not fully agree with what is stated above, and if so, saying “it is antithetical to the core beliefs. . .” is probably not an accurate statement.

  2. “A physician is an individual with a medical degree including MD…” And a Rabbi is a MAN with SMICHA who is qualified to paskin Halacha. “Unishmartem” refers to vaccines to about the same degree as Tikun olam refers to eliminating plastic straws. “Non-vaccination is antithetical to the core beliefs of Orthodox Judaism”. Medical dogma – the closest religion to Orthodox Judaism. Seriously. Can someone reign these ideologues in?

  3. UJM: Who gave you the chutzpah to question the knowledge and wisdom of these public health experts who are simply acknowledging what virtually all our gadolim have held . If you cannot bear to hear a woman speak to these common sense issues, than find some cave in Lakewood or Monsey to hang out to assure your mind will not be poisoned by their commentary.

  4. ujm.

    They are medical proffesionals and rightfully stating that there is no such thing as a religious exemption regarding vaccines when it comes to Judaism.

    They have the right to make whatever statements they see fit to make, unlike those quacks that have no real medical training and understanding that are spreading false facts to scare people.

  5. Ah yes, another group of women on pharmas payroll, without showing an ounce of documentation that vaccines are actually tested to be safe. Pretty sure they are violating halacha by blatently lying to earn a few bucks.

    Shame on them

  6. Shauli – “HaRav HaGaon Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky” might very well indeed disagree with every word of their statement. But there is absolutely no reason for them to have discussed anything with him. Only his Talmidim Muvhakhim should be listening to his Psakim in this matter. Everyone else should be following the overwhelming majority of Rabbonim whi disagree with him and agree 100% with the statement made by the doctors. That is an unarguable tenet of the Torah – that we follow the majority in Psak Halalcha.

    I could argue further, that in matters of Pekuach Nefesh we would even consider a minority opinion. Whereas you are going against both of these principles, and following an opinion that is both a minority AND causing at least a Sofuk Pekuach Nefesh.

    These Halachic arguments are not my own, but have been publicly stated by many gedolim including Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, and many many others.

    Since these Rabbonim have also stated that we should listen to the advice of the majority opinion of Doctors as well, that gives these doctors the right to publicize their opinion, and even to put it in the context of Halacha LeMaaseh.

  7. These are medical professionals who should not be paskening Halacha. Full stop. So unless you believe a female MD is qualified to paskin, then lay off ujm and take up the discussion with your lor.

  8. To all of you who imply that these physicians don’t know what they’re talking about,

    Please stay out of my neighborhood, which fortunately for you, isn’t in Brooklyn. Stay away from my family. Don’t fly to Israel. Just stay home and pretend that you’re right. Because you’re not.

  9. yitzyk: I don’t see any reason why any Yid shouldn’t follow HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Kaminetzky shlit”a unless their own personal Rebbe Muvhak, if he has one, says otherwise.

  10. chaimwax,

    It speaks volumes when you state that these doctors on being compensated by ‘pharmas payroll’.

    Which makes one wonder, on whose payroll are you?

    There has been more than sufficient research and evidence on this topic if you prefer to stick your head in the ground and say otherwise, that’s your business, but don’t expect the rest of us to follow suit.

    You can check out the YWN Coffee room site with the lengthy back and forth regarding vaccines, despite all the anti-vaxxer attempts, they were exposed and shown to be simple frauds.

  11. yitzyk – If we are vaccinating our children – which by the way I did beginning with my oldest almost 40 through my youngest who is almost 20 – because that is the opinion of many (perhaps the majority of) poskim, then the above letter is not needed. If we are vaccinating our children because the doctors said to, then why not follow the opinion of Rav Shmuel?

    In precisely which scenario are we to follow our leaders even when they say right is left and left is right?

  12. May I humbly suggest? There is a picture book called Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor, which is an accessible story for kids that explains the mitzvah of shmor et nafshecha and how vaccines work. If this is something you will find useful, you can reserve it at your local library. ( and it’s on amazon, too.)

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