OUTRAGEOUS: NY State Forces Shulamith School for Girls To Accept Un-Vaxxed Kids


So here’s a story that is the opposite of what many of those blaming the orthodox would expect. The Bnot Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst has banned unvaccinated kids from both its classrooms and its extracurricular activities. But the state is not taking this lying down.

New York State Education Commissioner, Mary-Ellen Elia, overturned the school’s policy back in January, and ruled that the unvaxxed girls could, in fact, attend classes. Last month, the Education Commissioner ruled that the two young ladies in question can also attend extra-curricular activities as well. This in the middle of a national measles epidemic.

This is the second time this year that the Education Commissioner has encroached upon the rights of religious schools – the first time had to do with the state mandating that religious private schools teach exact curriculums during certain times.

The Bnot Shulamith School is now suing New York State and requesting that a federal judge overturn the Education Commissioner’s orders. In the filing, the school described the Education Commissioner’s orders as “illegal, void, and unenforceable,” and stated that the Commissioner was violating the school’s First Amendment rights. The lawsuit was filed by Philip Kalban, the school’s lawyer.

Numerous religious leaders have issued halachic rulings that there is, in fact, a religious Jewish obligation to vaccinate. Recently, these rulings were printed in a booklet by Dr. Rich Roberts.

Thus far, a federal judge has granted a temporary ruling allowing the school to ban the children.

Commissioner Elia, had previously served for ten years in the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida as the superintendent. She was reportedly fired by the local school board after a number of situations developed wherein the school board no longer had faith in her abilities to lead. Originally from New York state, she accepted the position back here as the Education Commissioner.

In the meantime, the national measles epidemic has almost reached the 1000 mark.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Mary Elia should and will go down in the history of NYS Govt. as one of the most outspoken anti-semites to occupy a high position in Albany. Her name should be cursed in shuls every Shabbos morning.

  2. Can someone please explain?

    In Williamsburg they’re closing down schools because kids aren’t vaccinated?
    But here they’re forcing a school to take in an unvaccinated child?

    Am I missing something?

  3. One government agency forces schools to accept unvaccinated kids and another closes them down for having unvaccinated kids.

    Cuomo needs a new education commissioner.

  4. What’s not being reported here is the reason the commissioner gave this order: the girls’ parents are claiming a “religious exemption”. They claim their religion forbids vaccination, and the commissioner, incredibly, thinks she can order a religious school to accommodate their religious requirements.

    Now this would be a reasonable order for a public school (in the absence of a local outbreak); but a religious school BY DEFINITION cannot be expected to accommodate the doctrines of OTHER religions!

    Suppose the girls’ parents said their Xian religion required them to wear tzlomim, r”l, and the school should respect their freedom of religion and accommodate it. Would anyone accept such an argument?! Or would anyone require a Catholic school to allow children to wear yarmulkes or bring kosher food from home? In fact most Catholic schools do choose to allow this, but I think everyone would agree that they would be entitled to say no, if this is your religion then this school is not for you.

    I personally know of one case where a frum kid’s parents decided, for various reasons, that the very best education he could get would be at a certain Xian school. The school was willing to make all the accommodations they requested, he could bring his own food, be exempt from religious instruction and Shabbos activities, except for one thing: chapel attendance was compulsory, and they would not allow him not to attend. If you won’t go to chapel, you have no place at this school. So of course the parents gave up on the idea of sending him there. I suppose this commissioner would have ordered the school to take him!

  5. Guys, pls do some research. Unvaccinated kids do not spread the measles if they don’t have any symptoms. However, recently vaccinated kids do. Any kid who got a live vaccine (including mmr) up to 30 days ago can shed the disease and is a danger to be near sick ppl.

  6. I feel bad for all those Satmar kids from Williamsburg were getting kicked out of Shulamith.

    Oh you mean that there are anti vaxxers that are not Chassidic? I thought it was only those uneducated cave dwellers!! Who would’ve known!?!

  7. In Williamsburg they’re closing down schools because kids aren’t vaccinated?
    But here they’re forcing a school to take in an unvaccinated child?

    Not to justify anything but the decision in Williamsburg was made on the city level. Cedarhurst, where this school is located, is not in NYC and the decision was made on the state level

  8. Faigy from Brooklyn, vaccine shedding is a myth. But even if it were somehow possible that some small amount of the virus in the vaccine could spread, the vaccine contains only very weakened viruses that cannot cause full-blown infection.

    Think about it, if the weakened virus does not cause the disease in the person who gets the shot, why would it be strong enough to spread to then someone else and make them fully sick?

    Did you ever hear of a person coming down with measles after getting the MMR shot? No. So it is even LESS likely that he can pass it to someone else and they would get the full-blown disease. It’s simple logic.

  9. Guys, pls do some research. Unvaccinated kids do not spread the measles if they don’t have any symptoms. However, recently vaccinated kids do. Any kid who got a live vaccine (including mmr) up to 30 days ago can shed the disease and is a danger to be near sick ppl.

    Neither of these claims is true.

  10. mom12, 100% incorrect. Ask yourself, how many people do you know who got the MMR and then got sick with full-blown measles, mumps, or rubella? None. It is even less likely that they were able to infect someone else. The virus in the vaccine is weakened and cannot do harm except in someone with a compromised immune system. This is not just hard science, it is also common sense.

  11. I don’t see any problem with this at all. If you believe in vaccinations and you give them to your kids, then you should have nothing to fear – your kids ought not get sick. If you are anti vaccine and your kids get sick, so what? As far as you’re concerned they got sick, they get over it and that’s that. So what’s all the fuss about?

  12. Faigy from Brooklyn wrote:

    “Unvaccinated kids do not spread the measles if they don’t have any symptoms. However, recently vaccinated kids do.”

    Actually the opposite is true. People who have been infected can spread the disease for a day or two before they have symptoms, and the disease is the most contagious disease known to humankind. Recently vaccinated kids can’t spread the disease at all unless they were already infected at the time they were vaccinated.

    This is the kind of dangerous information that kills Jews.

  13. “They claim their religion forbids vaccination, and the commissioner, incredibly, thinks she can order a religious school to accommodate their religious requirements. ”

    Also scary is that supposedly religious people would make such a demand! These anti-vax parents are not orthodox Jews!!!

  14. “there are anti vaxxers that are not Chassidic?”

    Israel is plagued with anti-vaxxers in every segment of the Jewish community. I visited some friends in Katzrin a few months ago. The place is crawling with anti-vaxxers — in far greater fractions than in the Chasidic neighborhoods in the NY area. And other than a few Lubavichers, there are no charedi Jews at all in Katzrin — the community is entirely a mix of dati and chiloni.

    My friends had a five month old. They can’t take him to others’ homes and have to carefully control who enters their home because he is too young to be vaccinated.

  15. Measles after MMR Vaccination
    Within 14 days after MMR-vaccination, a child can present with symptoms very similar to a wildtype measles virus infection. The low incidence of wildtype measles infection strongly suggests that these symptoms will likely be a reaction to vaccination

  16. Charliehall I didn’t know rav pam zatzal would give smicha to a non Orthodox Jew as I Know someone personally who is anti vax and has smicha from him

  17. CH: thanks for chiming in. I believe Midwesterner’s point was that many are pointing fingers at “clueless Chasidim” for spreading the measles by their ignorant decision not to vaccinate, when in reality they are not dependent on religious belief or lack of education for their anti-vaxx stance.

    Now can you please explain to everyone here how the 95% vaccination rate to obtain herd immunity works, and how a tight knit community with large families and a great percentage of children in their total population can have the disease spread with a great vaccination rate.

    And maybe if you have the info you can clue us in as to how many adults have become infected with the measles, because they keep on repeating that most are unvaccinated kids, without giving specifics about the other side of the coin.

  18. Unvaccinated people are no threat to vaccinated ones – so what’s everyone up in arms about. If you are vaccinated and you want to vaccinate your kids you have nothing to fear. If you are an antivaxxer and you or your kids get sick, well, it’s what you wanted so what’s the problem?

  19. They are a real threat to anyone with a compromised autoimmune system, vaccinated or not. There are so many members of our society who unfortunately are undergoing treatments for all kinds of diseases and others who have undergone transplants and such. They are at risk. Can these who chose not to vaccinate guarantee that none of those in these categories will be affected?

  20. Why do I need to explain? My problem is not with Chasidim!! My problem is with the world that is blaming it on the chasidim!!!!!

  21. Interesting how the YWN presented the education commissioner getting involved in our Religious beliefs for a second time this year, in that POV. Because I was thinking something else entirely.
    Recently there has been another headline saying; “
    “States Seek To Cut Off Religious Exemptions For Vaccination” (May 7, 2019)
    And there has been no protest, no atzeres tefillos, and no petitions. Instead it was met with glee and contempt by the vast majority of religious Jews. In fact, there have been many frum Jews who petitioned the government to pass such a law.
    What message are we sending to ourselves, and to the government?!?
    Sometimes we claim yes religious freedom, yet other times we say to stop the religious freedom.
    There probably are some (reform, non-frum) Jews who are ecstatic with the education bills (the ones who lobbied for it in the first place). And they claim that religion does NOT necessitate so much time for Jewish learning….
    What is stopping the government from banning something else next? Our petitions? We just asked them to stop religious exemptions.

  22. Gold, the NIH does not publish a case about a single patient unless it is an extremely unusual case. Every medication, including Tylenol, could have negative side effects (read the warning labels). You have to weight the benefits versus the risks. Is it worth taking the MMR shot and having a 1 in a million chance of getting one of these diseases, or NOT get the vaccine, get sick with measles, mumps, or rubella, and end up dead, brain damaged, or unable to have children?

  23. Gold: Yes, Vaccinated individuals CAN get measlelike symptoms shortly after being vaccinated, but there is nothing in the CDC report you cite, nor in any other research study, ANY indication that these individuals, who received an attenuated form of the virus, could possibly affect others.
    The science on this is complex, but readily available on the internet and has been broadly studied.

  24. So basically the anti-vaxers are willing to risk death, brain damage, and sterility in their child (inability to have children) all because, they believe there is a slightly increased risk of autism? Even if there were somehow a slightly increased risk, is a dead or sterile child really better? Let these diseases make a real comeback and that’s what you’re choosing.

  25. It’s amazing to me that an issue so heated and debated around the country has been portrayed as as one-side-only issue by our Jewish news outlets. Numerous articles and comments have pointed fingers at those delaying or refusing vaccinations.
    Thanks to publishers like the Ami, Mishpacha, and even yeshiva world, SINAS CHINAM is growing by leaps and bounds.
    Instead of people understanding one another, the Ami, Mishpacha and The like are creating a wave of hate between klal yisroel, between families and between couples. Instead of fostering understanding of this issue, allowing both sides to understand each other by allowing expression of both sides of the debate, the Ami, Mishpacha and company have become the conduit for broken relationships, broken couples, estranged siblings and worse.
    Those who have reason to refuse or delay vaccines will not be swayed by the comments and articles that you post; so obviously devoid of science or basic understanding of biology. Those standing firm have legitimate reason for what they are doing; if theyd only be allowed to express it through an article, there may be space for a bit of understanding and so much sinah could be avoided.

    YES, provaxxers will continue to vaccinate while vaccine skeptics will continue to delay or deny; but at least we can have shalom in our machane and hope that we’d have a sliver of a chance at a unified nation.
    While most of the pro vaxx comments are on an elementary level of scientific knowledge, most do nothing more than point fingers, use dead arguments and blame or shame. It is a most boring task to read through these comments being posted.

    Sadly, gone are the days when shalom was considered important or even a central component of the Jewish nation.
    Gone are the days when klal yisroel stood together to fight the world outside that has always been waiting and ready to destroy us.
    We are now destroying ourselves from within.
    We can’t place blame on anyone else.
    We need to take responsibility for the pain and hurt; allowing Jew to mock Jew; brother to disinvite brother and shul members to shame those who have reason to distrust the vaccine schedule.

    YWN, do your due diligence! Stop pitting one Jew against another.
    YWN, you can still be the one to post an article helping Jews see BOTH sides of this argument, increasing understanding of the other side and decreasing the hate, the pain and the shame.
    YWN can still be the one to bring shalom between klal yisroel, a nation struggling under the burden of so many issues.