WATCH THIS: Williamsburg Anti-Vaxxer Mothers Give Media Shocking Interview

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As YWN reported earlier Tuesday, health officials ordered nearly everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles or face $1000 fines, reviving a public-health strategy that experts say hasn’t been used in the U.S. in recent memory.

“This is an unusual action,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged, “and it’s because of the sheer extent of the crisis.”

The nation’s biggest city is in the midst of its biggest measles outbreak since 1991, with 285 cases diagnosed since last fall — compared to two in all of 2017, officials said. They blamed the spike partly on anti-vaccine campaigns spreading misinformation that immunizations are dangerous.

News of the order got a mixed reaction among Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg. Some residents — even those who support vaccination — said they felt uncomfortable about the city pushing inoculations on people who don’t want them.

Others remain convinced, against expert assurances, that vaccines are unsafe.

“It’s true that a lot of people have measles, and measles are not a very good thing, said resident Aron Braver, but he thinks the vaccine is “also not a very good thing.”

“And it’s everybody’s option to do what he wants. What he decides,” Braver added.

Following the press conference by Mayor DeBlasio, some local anti-vaxxer Hasidic mothers gave an interview to the media. You can see the news reports in the extended article:

WOMAN: “Our religion talks alot about taking care of our bodies and medical procedures, and as far and I – spoke to my – spiritual guide, he told me, and this is something that I looked into our books and our written works, and I’ve seen that medical things are very very important as a healing tool, but as a prevention, if my child is perfectly healthy and I want to prevent something, like chicken pox, so if they force me to inject something into my child’s body as a preventative measure, that is completely ridiculous and unethical”.

PIX 11 REPORTER: “Do you think your children can die from measles?”

WOMAN: “My child HAD measles!”

ANOTHER WOMAN: “I feel that this is my religious belief, and I’m not gonna tamper with that, I’m a religious woman. So this is my religious belief, and it comes along with whatever it comes along, and we deal with whatever comes along, and I think I chose the better part of it…. and my children HAVE MEASLES FOR LIFE.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union also questioned the city’s move.

Executive director Donna Lieberman called it “an extreme measure” that “raises civil liberties concerns about forced medical treatment.”

De Blasio, a Democrat, said officials were confident the order would withstand legal scrutiny.

[ANOTHER GENIUS: Watch This Williamsburg Anti-Vaxxer “Community Activist” Give Media Interview]

Rockland County, north of the city, has already faced legal action over its efforts to contain measles: an emergency order that would ban children from public places unless they’ve been immunized. A court halted it last week, but County Executive Ed Day said Tuesday he planned to appeal.

“If this is not an emergency, what is?” asked Day, a Republican. His county, which has sizeable Orthodox Jewish communities with close ties to Brooklyn, has logged 168 measles cases since last fall.

He said Rockland officials are crafting a new order designed to isolate people exposed to measles.

New York City’s order applies to unvaccinated people who live, work or go to school in four ZIP codes, with some exceptions, such as for children under 6 months old.

Officials said they would help people arrange to get shots but were prepared to fine them as much as $1,000 if they refused.

The measure comes a day after the city ordered Orthodox Jewish schools and day care programs in Williamsburg to exclude unvaccinated students from classes during the outbreak or risk being closed down.

The city believes an estimated 1,800 children in the neighborhood hadn’t been immunized as of December.

At Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov Pupa school, Rabbi David Oberlander said administrators took pains to make sure children with measles — some 20 cases in recent months — weren’t in class.

“We try to control our school, and we really strive to comply 100% with the Department of Health,” he said. “But we don’t control the parents, and we don’t intend to control the parents.”

U.S. cities have fined residents before for not being vaccinated, but “not in our modern history,” said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown Law professor focused on public health law.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld such an order in a 1905 case involving smallpox vaccinations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But over time, school-vaccination requirements — which the high court upheld in 1922 — became the centerpiece of public health officials’ strategies to fight measles, mumps and other communicable diseases.

Overall vaccination rates remain high, but the percentage of kids under 2 who haven’t gotten their shots is growing, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC attributes the trend partly to lack of health insurance.

But some experts also point to an “anti-vax” viewpoint that has gained some traction in recent years, helped by social media.

“I think it’s a sign of the impact of vaccine denialism, where we’re now in a place where cities feel like they need to up the ante” with vaccination orders, says Scott Burris, a public health law professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

In Brooklyn and Rockland County, anti-vaccination advocates have been circulating a 40-page booklet around Orthodox Jewish enclaves. It lays out numerous anti-vaccine arguments that have been debunked by scientific studies, such as a claim that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk of autism.

“There is a very strong anti-vaccination propaganda movement in these communities, and they’re very effective,” said Blima Marcus, a nurse practitioner who lives in Brooklyn. She and fellow volunteers from the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association have been holding workshops to reassure mothers that the vaccine is safe and effective.

A query was sent to two email addresses listed as contacts in the booklet.

Spread through coughs and sneezes, measles is highly contagious and can cause serious health problems, including pneumonia and brain swelling that can lead to seizures, deafness or intellectual disability. Deaths are rare in the U.S., but measles killed 110,000 people globally in 2017.

The CDC recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine. It says the vaccine is 97% effective.

The National Institutes of Health says reports of serious reactions to vaccines are rare: about one in every 100,000 vaccinations.

(AP / YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




55 COMMENTS

  1. These women give a lot of ammunition to those people who say that frum schools need to have better education for their students
    These women are uneducated and unable to express themselves.

  2. Welcome to the world of “psychland”!!
    Just curious if she spoke to her “spiritual leader” about giving an interview on television?

  3. Just when you thought you had heard the most stupid comments possible, these two rocket scientists come along and attribute their nareshkeit to their “spiritual guide” Iaka rebbe??) Have these women ever taken a course in biology or do they just repeat the stuff they have heard from others with no understanding of what a vaccine is and how if functions?

  4. Am I the only one scared of what these people are doing?
    Massacres and persecution of Jews spread through Europe during the Black Death in the 1300’s.
    This isn’t the first time in history the Jews are accused of poisoning the wells and spreading disease.
    This is the first time there’s actually, terrifyingly, some truth to the accusation.
    All of our Rabbanim need to vocally publicize what the majority of religious Jews already know – that vaccinating our children is a religious as well as a societal obligation.

  5. What idiots!!!!! Which Rebbe or Rav has come out against the measles vaccine?? When did this become a religious issue?

    And then we question the anger against our community for helping to spread this highly contagious disease.

    They are fueling the outrage and feeding the anti-semitism directed against us.

    What fools! I suspect that they will be getting it over their heads for their public comments.

  6. These women are hypocrites. They say it’s against their religious beliefs to havfe preventive vaccines but allow their pictures on public media!

  7. I wonder if the people who started this narishkeit and support the websites, etc. are anti-Semites who are looking to give frum Jews a bad reputation. It is certainly having that effect. The anti-vax ideology isn’t Jewish – it comes into our communities from outside, and is really an especially vicious form of assimilation. Has anyone tracked down these ideas to their source? If the stuff is online, someone had to put it there – someone who is not our friend.

  8. This small group of vocal anti-vaxxers do not represent the Orthodox Jewish community or its religion. According to the leading Halachic decisors, including the Edah Hacharedis, vaccines are required and no religious exemption is applicable (by the way, although a women’s headgear does not indicate her religious status, the Edah Hacharedis women do not wear wigs either).

    It is incumbent on the community leaders to circulate a proclamation and kol koreh from the leading rabbis stating that vaccines are required al pi halacha.

    Interesting that these group of women – who can’t formulate a coherent sentence – are now poskim, medical experts and legal scholars.

  9. What’s shocking to me the childish reporting from YWN and the comments on the website. Big deal she was scrambling to find the right words, so what? I bet if I stop any of you in the st to explain me the reason you are going with Tzitus you’ll have a hard time….

    She’s speaking the truth and facts. Hers kids ahd measles and it’s all fine! They are immune for life! True herd immunity! While all with vaccines can still carry it with or without boosters. Get over it.

  10. The New York Civil Liberties Union also questioned the city’s move. While at it, utilize “pork barrel” to question the city’s move to legalize same gender marriage. Will any of these Satmar women in this article, stoop so low to compare themselves to Civil Liberties Union on this front?

  11. When you hear someone talk, and it’s obvious that their vocabulary consists of merely several hundred words, it’s really difficult to respect their opinion. It really does seem these people lack any basic knowledge of just about everything under the sun.

    This isn’t הדרה של תורה!

  12. There is good and corruption in medicine. Vaccines have a science and work, but i havent seen ingredients on it, and it may have neurotoxins in it. People have gotten hurt by them, as well as helped. This is not the fault of Jewish and non Jewish individuals deciding not to vaccinate. It’s the fault of corruption in medicine, pharmaceuticals, lobbyists, and the AMA. If they would make them clean, people wouldn’t hesitate to vaccinate! The truth is being twisted and it’s not fair…..plus alternative medicine has aggressive tools to fight measles, such as ozone, ultra violet blood irritation, and others, so if medicine wasn’t corrupted the outbreak wouldn’t be so bad….but these tools aren’t drugs! The issue is NOT regarding free choice not to vaccinate…the issue is corruption in the system…if they want to fix the vaccine issue, they need to look at themselves, the greed, and structure of medicine.

  13. Let us announce clearly that 99 percent of us vacancy and denounce these arrogant veibilach. This is real narcsssism there is something they get from being unique and diff. Please put up a go fund me page to cover some ads saying yodenu lo shofchu

  14. Actually, these ladies nailed it! It’s all about YOUR freedom.
    de Blasio is just another crazy “ultra liberal democrat” aka communist.
    He wants to have total control over YOU – Yes all off YOU reading this!!!
    Just keep on giving into this, and next thing you know is going to be “human congestion tax” on Williamsburg, Boropark and Flatbush, since there are too many kids in these area codes. How about $10000 per every extra child, over the allowed limit of three…

  15. Big disgrace to all Jewish people – they should be ashamed of themselves – and they have no clue what they are even talking about as they dont read newspapers, watch TV – or even had a proper education!!!

  16. What I find most INEXCUSABLE about this is the absolute recklessness and lack of sensitivity to how the frum community will be perceived by the world (though I don’t suppose that’s anything that residents of Williamsburg concerned themselves with in the past). If for some reason you believe in this, I can understand people convincing themselves that they have the right to make choices they feel are in their family’s best interest ( however misguided they may be) and it’s nobody’s business to tell them otherwise. But to go in front of the gentile media and try to explain why your position is correct and is religion-based to boot, is an unforgivable disservice to our community. There are many halachos and minhagim that EVERYBODY agrees with, not just a small minority, such as metzitza b’peh, taharas hamishpacha, yichud etc. that unless there is a crisis and need ( and that’s only if they are trained, educated and polished!!!) would be a mistake for us to try to explain to the masses because even if we know them to be correct, they could never understand us and instead of “ convincing them “ and “ getting them on our side “, we would be ridiculed and derided as Neanderthals. So even if someone thinks they are right, to have zero self awareness and not realize how the media will portray us and in what light we will be cast, is an UNFORGIVABLE chillul hashem! Not to mention that the viewers think these are representatives of our community as a whole. Shame on these women!!!

  17. Is wearing a parachute before jumping out of a plane a preventive measure? I’m perfectly fine without a parachute, although it’s likely that i won’t survive the fall.. But hey, at least i didn’t have to take any preventive measures…

    These antivaxxers bother me… Why don’t they think before throwing the “it’s a religious belief” thing around

  18. Let this people move to amish town according to torah you not allowed to hearth others and not even your own children so spread to anyone 1 off this machlus that what your dou, y when you in situation that life is in danger like hearth attack, or struck, etc. Than you leav to doctors and not for vaccines you r bunch of leidig giers

  19. Just for the record. I did some research on the authors of these anti-vax books.

    Not one of them has an education in a related field. Most of them make a living selling these books.

    So who should we believe? Those who spent years studying the subject or those who make a living by writing books based on anecdotes?

  20. Oy! Such a chillul Hashem mamish! They need to stop pretending they know anything about medicine and biology! They are putting kids and people at risk and in danger!

  21. These women were featured on one of the leading stories on Tuesday’s network news broadcasts. Are people completely out of their minds? Did no one ever view those horrid propaganda films made by the Nazis about the filthy, disease-ridden Jews as justification for segregating them into “Jewish sectors” of the city (Warsaw, for example). I’m not saying that this is happening cv”s, or that it will happen. But, le’ma’an Hashem, why are we providing ammunition to potential enemies? It would seem prudent for all the rabbonim in NY to involve themselves in this, and publicize the requirement to get vaccinated ASAP.

  22. I know one of these women. She is very nice and friendly but really very simple and there is no way she can possibly understand anything that has been written either for or against vaccinations unless the sentences are a maximum of 10 words with no word longer than five letters. “Go Pupa go – the answer is a resounding NO. Her Rebbe is a big kanoi when it comes to women doing anything so untniusdik in public.

  23. This is getting worse by the minute! First of all , we need real numbers ! There have been hundreds of cases in Williamsburg this winter with measles not just 200! You’re forgetting the anti- vaxers as ignorant as they are don’t go running to tell the drs. that their kids have the measles, therefore hundreds more should be counted! We only know about the reported cases , that probably got complicated …. hospitalization or pneumonia and the like ! Measles parties????? Hashem yerachim!!! Please wake up these narrow minded selfish people to the truth!!

  24. her child had measles for life and she is right, it actually does present many health benefits such as cleansing the blood etc. but what about all the unfortunate lesser children who cannot fight this due to physical weakness or terminal illnesses. Do your ‘Spiritual Books’ talk nothing about the fact that one should not stand on the blood of his friend. while these woman may sound educated to a certain extent, they have annihilated all others in attempt to shield themselves. And in my spiritual books it is called selfishness!
    I do believe however that not every vaccine needs to be given to every child I.E. some diseases are more common within other communities, but with such an outbreak -Desperate times call for desperate measures. We are not asking u to save YOUR child but the children of lesser fortune than yours. Please, protect them- they have no way lf protecting themselves.

  25. I’d like to see what these boneheads and their “spiritual guide” say once the NY Governor declares a state of emergency and Williamsburg is quarantined with mandatory screening checkpoints to get in or out. Fools like this speak so arrogantly, but don’t understand Torah or science. What a sad shame.

  26. This is shocking!!! You can give medical reasons or explain your own shitah why you don’t want to vaccinate your children, but to put the whole klall Yisroel in your picture???? to make this a religious issue? who gave them the right???
    You may have your own opinion but please please don’t mix us in. don’t support the antisemitic people with stuff against us.

  27. As american_yerushalmi says and I have said in other posts where are our leaders. Our community is burning and they are all working on the Siyum Hashas!!! No joke this is what they are doing right now.

    Agudah, Hello is anyone home? All I am asking is to put in an advisory that you should vaccinate and there is no halacha reasons not to. The same way that the Rabbonim suggest to get married at 21. I am not asking for a Kol Koreh or that someone should be forced to do it, as I do not believe Rabbonim should force someone to do something. Just a public advisory. What can’t they do this????????????????

  28. 1818: You’re a fool. If only you were half as articulate as these women. They’ve expressed themselves very well.

    Now they happen to be very wrong on the science and medicine. Vaccinating is safe and healthy. Not vaccinating is stupid.

    But as far as expressing their opinion, they did so very articulately.

    And as far as their dumb opinion about vaccinating, many very wealthy West Coast communities share their anti–yosef opinion.

  29. This questionable legal policy will give way to the nonsense, ineffective, and scam flu vaccine they force down our throats yearly. 17% effective, and they still say get it anyway. why? The slippery slope does not end when you don’t define “emergency” etc. Then what, are we going to spread a rule for Hep C vaccines like RI colleges? Because we all get tattoos and share needles!
    Or, will we use the logic that they were saying during the Ebola outbreak a few years ago. Women (goy) were calling into radio shows saying they were more concerned with their 5 year olds getting AIDS than Ebola.(speaking of uneducated sounding) So what’s next, HPV and other STD vax’s for the Orthodox community too?
    NYC must be legally challenged.

  30. Ignoramus. Uneducated and uninformed. I’am totally stunned.
    Pure Chillul Hashem. You have know idea the damage you have done!
    Go cook a meal for your husband, and keep your mouths shut.

  31. I do agree with the comments that it was a big error on these women’s part to ever speak in public in front of television cameras or to any media outlet.

    1) due to a gross lack of tznius for women to be in public/media and

    2) because their opinion is so wrong. Even if their opinion wasn’t wrong (as they’ll claim), it certainly is controversial, disputed, a difficult claim to explain and certainly not agreed on by most people or most Chasidim/Chareidim. So for *anyone* (man OR woman) in the frum community who isn’t a leader who knows how to talk to the media and does so with Daas Torah and intelligence, to advance such claims in public or in the media on such an issue is foolish.

  32. I live in Williamsburg,
    And my spoke to the same reporters, and told them that she gave the vaccine shots as required.
    And there were many more, I wonder why that wasn’t posted here..

  33. Any child who has already had the measles/chicken pox disease is already immune to it and does not need to receive a vaccine to give him immunity! He is already immune by virtue of having had the disease and he is no longer contageous. He cannot give the disease to anyone else at this point, and is he is not a threat to anyone!

  34. Measles are an epidemic.
    Everyone should be aware.
    There are different opinions we see.
    Zero tolerance for those without the vaccine.
    Or face the consequences.
    Right or wrong, there are diferent views.
    All should respect one another.

  35. I think this measles thing is blown out of proportion. I vaccinate my kids and I believe everyone should as well. However, I’ve seen unvaccinated families get the measles and it simply goes away just like a cold. The reasoning that people can die of measles is starting to annoy me as people can die or develop severe medical issues from simple colds H”y as well.

    I had a doctor push me to take a flu vaccine and I resisted. Are we supposed to vaccinate ourselves against every possible disease? It’s getting out of hand. And yes, I did get the flu which turned into pneumonia and I still have no regrets for not taking the flu shot as I believe as overcoming illness causes the body to become stronger. Too much antibiotics are causing people to become resisted to it, too many shots will cause issues down the road.

    So while I am pro shots in general but I am VERY MUCH AGAINST the government forcing people to vaccinate their kids. This is getting out of hand. There could be more and more shots foisted upon people without the option to refuse and I absolutely do not agree with this.

    I also have an issue with people saying “I’m religious and therefore I don’t vaccinate my kids…” This is a lie. This has nothing with being a religious Jew, this is about personal ideology regarding medical beliefs and the government trampling on these beliefs. Don’t lie and paint Yiddishkeit with your ideology.

  36. For once I agree with Joseph.

    I suspect that many anti-vaxxers are mystically inclined. Interestingly, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, may his merit protect us, spoke out in favor of vaccines (at around the year 1800 CE):

    “Every parent should have his children vaccinated within the first three months of life. Failure to do so is tantamount to murder. Even if they live far from the city and have to travel during the great winter cold, they should have the child vaccinated before three months” (Avaneha Barzel p.31 #34).

    Otherwise, Rebbe Nachman was very skeptical of doctors and warned people to keep away from them (see Sichos Haran). But because there was evidence vaccination saved lives, he said it was required.

  37. i personally believe in immunizing children as protection for themselves as well as those that are around them – i understand the “religious” part of us says u’shmartem al nafshotaychem” so this is where i dont understand the “not immunizing theory” – if you weigh the odds of saving lives this is a far better ratio then having every one come down with the disease in an eoidemic proportiion – how many today are not immunizing against polio in the “frum communities? there may always be a chance of doubt, but it has never been actually proven! as for our “mayor” – i dont understand how serving these people who dont immunize a hefty fine of $1000 will change the fact – wuill this money be applied towards treatment of those that areaffected with the disease – OR ANOTHER WAY FOR THE CITY TO MAKE MONEY ON OUR ACCOUNT??????? doesnt make sense1111

  38. Yytz- I hear u…but don’t babies get the antibodies from breastmilk, anyway, until food is introduced?
    And the blood brain barrier isn’t fully formed till long passed 3 months, which allow toxins to enter the brain.
    I personally got vaccinated, but I don’t believe they r all necessary, some are. It could be a while back during rabbi nachmans time they were cleaner and only the ones necessary. Now, they keep adding and adding. We all had chicken pox and lived, and in fact the immunity is probably stronger as a result. That being said other diseases r not the same, some r very risky.
    I think people want to think in black and white. All or nothing. They all need to be weighed.

  39. Rav Eliyashev z”l was asked whether to vaccinate and he said that everyone is obligated to vaccinate. He said that even though there is a minor chance of problems it is dosh bey rabim and everyone is obligated for the sake of their own health and the safety of the community

  40. The measles vaccine in the US is bundled today as MMR. So parents can’t pick and choose which is important among those. Or stagger the shots so the baby’s immune system doesn’t have to contend with so much at once. Perhaps our system isn’t perfect, as individuals lose their right to choose (at least to a degree) what they feel is best for their child.

    I strongly disagree however with those refusing to vaccinate ASAP despite the current epidemic.

  41. I did hear that MMR can also b given seperately.
    Reb Eliyashiv can very well be right. I don’t understand generally why informed consent goes out the window when it comes to vaccines. Rabanim need the questions to presented fully. Regardless, tzadik gozer vhakdosh baruchu mekayeim..so getting an answer from a tzadik may provide the protection.

  42. Mammele, I agree, when there is a current epidemic the risk for the disease is waaaay higher, and may outweigh the risks, especially for those not at obvious risk for a negative reaction….but people should still have choices, and educate themselves.its a lot easier to think in black and white but it’s not always black and white.

  43. “Im Hashem lo yishmar ir, shav shakad shomer”
    Take the vaccines, believe in Hashem…. It is NOT the vaccines that provide safety it is merely the hishtadlus, and remember that each person must do a different amount of hishtadlus……
    Is a lady who is a teacher and her husband in kollel considered foolish? Some believe so, others believe it is perfectly ok.
    Some insist on high profile jobs-doctors, lawyers….
    It depends what you believe in and were your level of emunah/hishtadlus is.
    So now all of you- stop badmouthing people, and start davening to Hashem to continue protecting us.
    And as far as the ghettos and anti-semitism….We are in galus for sinas chinam….So in order to stop the attacks and to bring an end to galus, we should work on stopping the hatred toward our fellow brethren…..

  44. You reap what you sew. You kept secular thinking and education out. You allow disease in.
    These “child bearers” (I hate to think “mothers” would revel in discussing their children getting sick unnecessarily) are listening to rebbeim quote from medieval texts about diseases that were wiped out even in the Third World thanks to HaShem and modern medicine.
    They brag about allowing their children to suffer? They want their kids to get sick and fight off measles and chicken pox?
    What kind of horrible mothers do you have?
    No wonder there are so many problems in Williamsburg. I can only imagine that if mothers (who are the most caring people in the world, usually) feel this way, the husbands are either too afraid to speak up for their children or even worse.